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Reign of Madness

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3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  548 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
From the author of The Creation of Eve comes a tale of love and madness, royal intrigue and marital betrayal, set during the Golden Age of Spain. Juana of Castile, third child of the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Fernando, grows up with no hope of inheriting her parents' crowns, but as a princess knows her duty: to further her family's ambitions through marriage. Yet stories ...more
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Putnam Adult
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(showing 1-30)
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Orsolya
I’m a huge “fan” (if you will) and supporter of Juana the Mad. Bluntly, I don’t think she was crazy and many of her actions were a result of being driven to a point of anxiety and misunderstanding. To me, she was a strong, captivating female. My interest in her caused me to anxiously await the release of “Reign of Madness”.

After reading only a few pages, I knew that I wasn’t going to be as satisfied as I initially perceived. Reign of Madness instantly throws you into a VERY fictional world. Alt
...more
Amy
Aug 27, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok
About 60 pages into it, I looked at my stack of to-read books, and stopped. It was reading like a YA romance, with a teenage heroine having

--issues with her parents (news flash: when your mother is the Queen of Spain, she's going to be a little controlling, and I doubt that Queen Isabel gave feminist speeches to her daughters, such as analogizing women to horses with "And so it continues forth, a noble, strong creature, kicked and spurred into docility by the little man upon it. . . .");
--a crus
...more
Cayleigh
Jan 21, 2012 Cayleigh rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
I don't recall ever reading any books set in the spanish court so I checked Reign of Madness out of the library with relish. I quickly read through most of the book, but at about 3/4th of the way in I suddenly lost almost all interest in it. I did go ahead and finish it up, and in doing so pinpointed why this happened. Juana of Castile is a mousey character. She has events happen to her, but doesn’t do anything to really try to prevent the situations she finds herself in, I had thought that some ...more
Angelc
May 27, 2011 Angelc rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-own-read
This book chronicled a period in history and people that I previously knew very little about. I enjoyed the fascinating history lesson very much. In fact, the author's multi page author's note with detailed historical facts was one of my favorite parts of the book! The author writes history in such a way that it becomes very exciting, fast-paced, and relevant to today. I found myself searching for more information online, so I know I was hooked on this story.

However, the book was difficult for m
...more
Kara
Aug 15, 2011 Kara rated it it was ok

Thoroughly depressing.

Cullen tries to for Juana of Aragon what Greggory did for Mary Boleyn, but Juana's life is so full of suckitude (that is so a word!), that the book left me mopy and disturbed.

Its well researched, I'll give it that, but it came off a little clinical - all the facts were there, the people, the events, etc, but it was missing some vital spark to make it all come alive. Cullen covers a lot of ground, which doesn't leave the reader much time to care for any of the characters -
...more
Jemille Williams
Jul 13, 2011 Jemille Williams rated it it was amazing
Being a princess was no fairy story! This tale is more tangled than Rapunzel’s!

Reign of Madness is an account that begins as a sunny romance and ends in gothic noir.
Juana of Castile was a bartered bride, following in her sister Catherine of Aragon’s doomed footsteps, bargained off as a political pawn to Habsburg Philippe the Handsome, Archduke of Flanders.

A flowering branch of one of the mightiest family trees in history, she was the daughter of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella. Her brother-in-la
...more
Kim
Jan 04, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval-fiction
Myth and legend are often very different from the truth. Set against the background of late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, Ms. Cullen weaves a remarkable tale about a famous young woman from a very famous royal family. Daughter of the Catholic Kings and sister to the famed Catherine of Aragon, the woman known from defaming stories as "Juana la Loca", Reign of Madness paints a very different story of this woman who was every bit as remarkable as her family members.

(view spoiler)
...more
Patty
Aug 09, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it
I did not know much about Juana of Castile before reading this book but I now know that I want to know more.This tale of yet another young woman in history sold to a man she did not know for political reasons is unbelievably sad. While a work of fiction the story is based on what fact has come down through history.


Juana was the third daughter of the very famous Ferdinand and Isabella. She was not expected to ever ascend to the throne of "the Spains" but as a royal daughter she was sent to Austri
...more
Lyssa
Oct 21, 2011 Lyssa rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
**Copy received thru First Reads Giveaway**

Took me a while to get into this book as it read like a YA book to me all the way through. Juana starts off as a teenager and even though she has six children and 10 or so years pass, she's still acting like a teenager. Everything she does is reactive - I dislike passive 'heroines' like this. Granted, for the time period described, female passivity was the norm, but you can't advertise this book as a great love story or a drama because there's neither.
...more
Jules
Oct 15, 2011 Jules rated it really liked it
My full 4 JEWEL review can be found at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

The history of Spain and its royalty was mostly unknown to me until reading this book. I had heard of Isabella and Ferdinand of course, but not many details. While Reign of Madness went a long way to change that, it was also an enjoyable read.

Lynn Cullen has focused on a point in history that is still surrounded by more questions than answers, almost 500 years later. It continues to be a mystery what really happened to Juana dur
...more
Angela
Jan 03, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
It's historical fiction but based on many facts, per Ms. Cullen. Most striking to me is the similarity between those times and current times as far as control of women by some men is concerned.
Lorna
Jan 06, 2013 Lorna rated it it was amazing
Great read just before a trip to Spain!
Allison Garza
Apr 16, 2013 Allison Garza rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book, but sad.
Mary Kundert
Feb 25, 2017 Mary Kundert rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf-2017
I will preface this review by saying that I had never read anything by Lynn Cullen or about Juana of Castile. I picked up this book because I was interested in expanding my horizons on available historical fiction writers.

I would have probably enjoyed this book more when I was in high school. Teenage, historical fiction-loving me would have loved reading this after she had finished binge reading her Jean Plaidy or Philippa Gregory novels. In high school, I loved historical fiction, and back then
...more
Renae
Lynn Cullen’s Reign of Madness offers a window into the life of one of Spain’s most notorious monarchs, Juana “the Mad” of Castile. Third child of the famous Spanish rulers, Fernando and Isabel, Juana married a Habsburg archduke, and upon the deaths of her elder siblings and mother, became the heir to her mother’s kingdoms. However, common consensus was that she was insane, so her husband had her put under house arrest, and after her husband died, Juana was kept imprisoned by her father and late ...more
Caroline
Historical fiction concerning people whose lives are basically giant question marks is... difficult to write. (Maybe that's Borgia fiction ranges from mediocre to nauseatingly bad.) Juana of Castile, otherwise known as Juan la Loca, is one of those question marks. Was she mad? Was it all propaganda spread by her husband and father? And if she wasn't mad, what was she like?

I tend to err on the side of Juana being mentally unstable, but perhaps not nearly as "mad" as Ferdinand and Philip (Philippe
...more
Michelle
Apr 28, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it
Thoughts on.
Not a review. No spoilers.

I gave it 3 stars because 2.5 isn’t an option. As much as I know about Katherine of Aragon, you’d think I knew more than the basics about her parents and siblings, but I don’t. I have been curious about Juana “la loca” since I first learned about her. Outside of trying to read one other histfic book about her (and failing) I haven’t really done much about that curiosity. Similarly I don’t know much about her parents. I’ve always had much distaste over the r
...more
Elis Madison

This novelized history explores the life of Juana of Castile, sometimes called Juana the Mad. Juana was the daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, around the time Columbus returned from his first journey to “the Indies.”

After the deaths of her brother and sister and a couple infants more directly in line for the throne, Juana became her mother’s heir, and was set to be the queen of Spain. The author posits that her madness was an invention of her husband’s, Phillippe “the Handsome.” (Th
...more
Kelly A.
Just for a moment, imagine that you are a queen. The queen of Spain, perhaps. You follow a line of legendary rulers, but that's not what you are remembered for. All you get is "the Mad" attached to the back of your name. You are known for having supposedly gone insane after your husband dies and are locked away in a castle for some fifty years. Not much of a fairy tale, right? This is precisely what happened to Juana of Castile, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella in the late 15th and early 1 ...more
Tonya
Aug 16, 2011 Tonya rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
Juana’s story in Reign of Madness is one of unsure teen growing into an unsure woman who finally, after many years and too late, sees how she has fallen into the hands of a selfish husband and later into a power hungry father.

I enjoyed Juana’s story as it was written by Lynn Cullen; I found it, at times, beautiful. We the reader can see the foreshadowing of Juana’s future as we read along, at times I wanted to take her aside and whisper in her ear that she “really shouldn’t talk about that” or
...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I loved this book. It ranks in the top five historical novels I've read this year. From the first page, I was totally enamored of Juana, our heroine, and sucked in to her world.  I'm sort of mentally flailing my arms in my enthusiasm, so I apologize if this review is less substance and more squee.

Juana's parents are the Isabel and Ferdinand of Columbus/New World fame. A bright child, Juana is married off to a handsome, playful, vivacious Duke whose opulent, decadent world is the opposite of the
...more
Kristen
Jan 10, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it
My review of first appeared in the November 2011 issue of Historical Novels Review:

Veteran author Lynn Cullen, author of The Creation of Eve, chose Juana la Loca, middle child of Spain’s Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon, to bring to life in this tragic cautionary tale. C.W. Gortner also wrote about Juana the Mad in his recent novel, The Last Queen. Interestingly, both Gortner and Cullen, after doing the research, decided that Juana’s diagnosis and 50-year confinement (at the hand
...more
Marilyn
Aug 14, 2011 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical Romance lovers, History buffs, Book Clubs, Everyone
Shelves: first-reads
REIGN OF MADNESS
BY Lynn Cullen

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York
Copyright: Lynn Cullen 2011

How far would you go for your family? Is there any limit? That’s a question to ask while you read this fantastic historical novel. Lynn Cullen paints a realistic picture of her characters and the time period that the novel takes place in. Another good question is how far would you go for power and glory?

This is a novel about Spain during the 1400’s to the 1500’s. It is a story about Queen Isabelle an
...more
Alisha
Feb 29, 2012 Alisha rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book in a goodreads giveaway.

A princess never supposed to be Queen, a Queen denied her right to rule. This is the sad story of Juana, daughter of Queen Isabella, one of the greatest monarchs of all time. While this book was a fictionalized version of true events, the basic story was of course based on facts. I couldn't help but feel that poor Juana probably did actually go mad in reality though, after being abused and neglected for so long. The first part of the book is actually
...more
Suzanne
Jul 29, 2011 Suzanne rated it liked it
During the sixteenth century, Spain and her territories were ruled by Juana of Castile, the daughter of famous monarchs Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Reign of Madness is a work of historical fiction depicting how Juana came to be Queen, how she came to be known as Juana the Mad, and the intrigue and power plays that surrounded her life at Court.

It is particularly satisfying to learn about some facet of history about which I am unaware. I haven’t studied much about Spanish history and when I
...more
Gaby
Sep 11, 2011 Gaby rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the story and knew very little about Spanish history and about Juana the Mad when I began reading Reign of Madness. I think that this lack of background information made it easy for me to dive into the story, to sympathize with Juana and to find myself staunchly on her side.

Juana had never expected to become queen of Spain. She was the daughter of Queen Isabela, one of the most powerful queens in Spanish European history and the mother of Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman E
...more
Patti
Aug 17, 2011 Patti rated it did not like it
.5 stars. This was poorly edited (check the dates in the chapter titles. The years were wrong.) and an overall train wreck. I come looking for a meaningful historical fiction and since there were no new Michelle Moran books, I picked up this out of my interest for Juana la Loca. Instead I got an overly dramatized and contrived peace of crap, something lacking a strong female lead (as the inside flap led me to believe I would find.) We are told that Juana is a character of quiet strength, or at l ...more
Annette
Oct 01, 2015 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The story is told through the eyes of Juana, daughter of Isabel and Ferdinand II of Spain. It is set at the very end of 15th century and beginning of 16th century, during the time of Christopher Columbus’ discoveries. Isabel and Ferdinand are known for ruling Spain equally. Is it so? Young Juana observes that it’s more of her mom’s iron hand ruling the kingdom than his reserved, quiet father. There is something else that she notices about her father, which pains her.

The voice reflects the views
...more
Pam
Sep 05, 2011 Pam rated it it was amazing
In the Reign of Madness, Lynn Cullen explores the life and relationships of Juana la Loca, the "Mad", daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, and sister of Catherine, first wife of Henry VIII of England. Cullen addresses, with understanding, insight and compassion, the true nature of this woman, falsely accused of madness by her contemporaries, including her husband. The detail-filled descriptions of Juana, her husband, Philip, her sister, Catherine, and life in the Spain and Neth ...more
Kristine
Jun 27, 2012 Kristine rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen, a Kindle book supplied by my local, loving Hennepin library system. Two weeks seems to be the ideal amount of time that both I have to devote to a book and that the library gives for me to read it before it's suddenly whisked away.

Already having alot of invested interest in the Spanish monarchy and the Inquisition, I flocked to this book, really looking forward to delving into an era prior to what's covered in another favorite book of mine, Poison by Kathryn Harr
...more
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