What I like about a bit of historical fiction is the thought and the effort that the authors have to go into to re-interpret history. Everything we know about the characters in this novel – led by the fascinating Catherine of Aragon (I do love a bit of Henry VIII intrigue) – is based around documents, folk stories, artwork and other historical sources. What Gregory excels at, is finding or perhaps more accurately, imagining the human face behind these figures.
In this, I believe she is at her best. Finding meaning in a young woman who marries the heir to the throne of England, and then after he dies, marrying his much younger brother, is no mean task. But here, Gregory creates a compelling, proud and still likeable character. Her actions are quite believeable, and this delving into history is as entertaining as it in educational. I learnt a lot and could barely put the book down. Another impressive effort.