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The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile
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The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  3,539 ratings  ·  440 reviews
No one believed I was destined for greatness.

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gor
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published 2012)
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Kate Quinn
Spain is difficult for historical fiction readers. Say "Spain" and thoughts trigger of bullfights, bloodshed, torture, and religious fanaticism. Spanish figures in many HF novels are usually saints (heroic, devout Katherine of Aragon), or villains (the evil Armada bearing down on poor beleaguered Elizabeth I). And true, much of Spain's history IS dark, blood-drenched, and overhung by religion. But C.W. Gortner does something remarkable in "The Queen's Vow" - he takes this country and its complic ...more
Where I got the book: ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.

This is a worthy novel by a popular writer, and yet somehow it leaves me flat. I suspect I'm not the right reader for this book; for one thing, I am rather tired of histfic about the crowned heads of Europe, even if--primed by The Tudors and Wolf Hall--I was receptive to learning some more about the mother of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first of many. I'd much rather read about an ordinary guy or gal for a change.

Rio (Lynne)
I've not been looking forward to rating this one. I am a big fan of Gortner. I have pre-ordered his last 3 books and The Last Queen is one of my hands down favorites. The only way I can peg what went wrong with this one, was simply too much detail. Gortner's other books have always moved and been page turners. This one was lacking that. It just felt flat. I felt I could skim 5 pages and didn't miss much. In his other reads we felt for the characters and cheered them on. Even the evil Catherine d ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Kay rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in medieval spain
After my semi rant about there not being enough fiction about Isabella, I was ecstatic when I saw this book.

A story from a notable historical fiction author about a woman and her husband who, in a highly patriarchical age, made Spain from

to -> ?

Yes, please!

As this is my first time reading fiction on Isabella, I have to say I'm impressed at the author's research into the time period. He certainly isn't shy about weaving abundant historical commentary into the narrative, and his treatment o
Another magnificent release by C.W. Gortner! He excels at bringing the indomitable Queen Isabella of Castile to life in this gripping and unputdownable novel! Highly recommended!
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

4.5 out of 5

The Queen's Vow is a great first introduction to a well-known and well-recommended historical fiction author. I've heard and seen C.W. Gortner's name bandied about frequently as one of the best for compelling, researched and still original novels and every claim is only reinforced by my reading experience with this novel about Castile's complicated and dramatic queen. Without condescension or annoying repetition, this mostly-factual stor
There are few who don’t know who Isabella of Castile is (shame on them!). Whether you view her as a warrior Queen or as someone who mistreated Jews; there is undeniably an enigma attached to her person. C.W. Gortner explores this queen in “A Queen’s Vow” following her childhood to her well-documented adult years.

Gortner immediately plunges the reader into intrigue with “The Queen’s Vow” without a “formal” introduction to Isabella (but it works to the novel’s benefit). Gortner’s scenery descripti
Jenny Q
4.5 Stars! I'll tell you right off the bat that I did not know much about Isabella of Castille before reading The Queen's Vow, though she had been a minor character in one or two novels I'd read and had not been portrayed very favorably. I knew she was responsible for religious persecution and the discovery of the New World, and that she's a controversial historical figure who has her share of lovers and haters. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not qualified to judge if this is an accurate por ...more
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I consider myself a historic fiction reader. It is my primary stomping ground and the genre I feel I am most competent reviewing and yet, for some inexplicable reason it took me nine years to pick up and read anything by C.W. Gortner. How did I manage such as oversight you ask? I have not the slightest idea, but I will say, having read both The Queen's Vow and The Tudor Conspiracy within weeks of one another, that Gortner ha
Michelle/ The True Book Addict
I could not put this book down! As he did with Juana of Castile in The Last Queen, Gortner has once again taken a historical queen and made her as interesting and exciting as any modern day heroine. It's interesting to me how little I knew of Isabella of Spain; one who was so instrumental in allowing Columbus to open the way for the future settlement of what would become America. Of course, that is what we were taught when I was in elementary school so many years ago. The implications of what ca ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I think C.W. Gortner is a man, so I was exceptionally surprised and pleased at the woman's POV being done so well. Her insecurities, her love for her husband, her strengths and weaknesses were so real to me. To be honest, I didn't expect to like this queen. She was behind the murder of so many...but the last part of the book, the Inquisition, showed me another side and reason to it all. Same history, different POV.

I preferred the beginning of the book. Young Isabella, her friend, Beatriz, her pa
Teresa Gibson
This book should be subtitled: Isabella Tells You All About Her Reign, because that is what Gortner does--TELLS you what happened. The narrative is full of passive description: we did this, we did that, the reason for this was, the reason for that was... I could skip paragraphs and never really miss anything. The first rule a fiction writer learns is "show, don't tell." When Gortner did show action, as in the early part of the novel dealing with Isabella's brother Alfonso and her half-brother En ...more
Carole Rae
This is the first book I've read by C.W Gortner and the first I've read about Queen Isabella.

I've always been pretty neutral to Queen Isabella and her husband due to the fact that I'm not a huge fan of their daughter Catalina (aka Queen Catherine of England) and how they helped find the Americas. However, my eye was drawn to this at the library in the 'New Book' section and I decided to learn some more of her journey to becoming legend. Now that her tale is done, I am in awe of her. I actually
Liliana Pinto
Tão lindo, tão real...

Eu sei que em muitos livros a vida das rainhas são um pouco fantasiadas para dar mais "animação" a história, mas este livro entrou directamente para os meus favoritos.
A escrita é maravilhosa e viciante. As personagens são fortes e com muita personalidade. Tenho de admitir que em certos momentos eu sofri com elas.

Isabel é uma mulher que sempre quis dar tudo o que tinha pelo seu reino e que foi manipulada por causa da sua ingenuidade. Se ela soubesse as repercussões q
I won this from the Goodreads first reads program! I'm so exited to read it. I have heard good things about CW Gortner books, and have been wanting to read one for awhile! :)

I enjoyed this book, my first venture into 'spanish' historical fiction. I have always been intrigued by Isabella & Ferdinand, so I was thrilled to have won a copy of "Queen's Vow". We start her journey in the book when Isabella is but a mere 3year old child. From the beginning, her existence was precarious and fraught w
I'm debating the three stars for this one and might change it later.

As a purely fun historical fiction romp, "The Queen's Vow" is partially successful. It has some nice little drama going on in the court of Castile, the tumultuous marriage of Fernando and Isabella (which was not nearly dramatic, I suspect, in reality). C.W. Gortner does a good job of layering on that constant worry over an heir, the travails of la Beltraneja and the threat she stood (though he tended towards some awful misogyny
Gina Denny
This was like an origins story. She doesn't become queen until about seventy percent of the way through the novel, and the most interesting and controversial deeds of her lifetime are not documented Instead, we see her as a preteen, mooning over a boy she met for two days. Which, by the way, didn't happen. She didn't meet her husband until their wedding. So the WHOLE THRUST of this novel, the basis of her character, IS FALSE.

I don't think you get to sell it as "historical" when you invent the b
Disclaimer: Every book I have read by C.W. Gortner has been amazing. And yes, I've actually read all of them. Every time I pick up something with Gortner's name on it, I am completely transported to a different time and place with powerful characters and a vivid setting that comes to life. Gortner's work always impresses, so my expectations going into The Queen's Vow were very, very high.

The Queen's Vow follows the rarely-explored life of Isabella of Castile, best known as something a "warrior q
Isabella of Castile was never meant to be queen. Today an image of this formidable Renaissance monarch has survived that is alternately admired for her contributions to art, literature, and education, or castigated for her role in bringing the notorious Inquisition to Spain and the forcible expulsion of those Jewish subjects who refused to renounce their faith and embrace Catholicism. Arguably -- and understandably -- much of the focus of history is on the darker aspects of Isabella's reign, a l ...more
I have been a fan of Gortner’s work since I picked up my first read of his, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He has a talent of taking maligned or misunderstood women and making them approachable characters whom readers can identify with and attempt to understand their choices. His novel of Isabella of Castile is no different. Isabella is remembered by history as the Spanish queen who re-incited the Inquisition, the mother of Catherine of Aragon and Juana la Loca, and the queen who financ ...more
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A copy of The Queen's Vow was provided to me by Random House for review purposes.

C.W. Gortner is well known for his historical fiction novels and I have been interested in reading his works for many years. This being my first one, I was impressed. His detailing of Isabella is almost sedulous with how painstaking it is. While he painted an extremely detailed portrait of Isabella, I'm not positive he painted her as accurately as she is known for being.

Isabella I of Castile w
Gostei muito deste livro, pois ajudou-me a colar pequenas ideias dispersas que eu tinha de Isabel, a Católica, tendo ficado com uma imagem mais clara da monarca mais famosa de Espanha.

Neste livro acompanhamos a vida de Isabel, desde a sua infância na sombra do seu meio-irmão, o rei Henrique IV, até às lutas para conquistar o seu lugar de direito, o casamento “por amor” com Fernando de Aragão, as lutas com Portugal (que queriam aumentar o seu reino, os marotos!) até à conquista dos territórios ár
Isabella of Castile ruled Castile with her husband Ferdinand of Aragon in the mid- to late-15th century. This work of fiction follows her from when she was born until about 1492, when she granted Christopher Columbus some funds to explore and just after the Jews were expelled from Castile if they didn't convert to Catholicism.

I didn't know much about Isabella of Castile, beyond her being Katherine of Aragon's and Juana of Castile's (“Mad Juana”) mother and that she went to battle with her army.
Isabella of Castile is classically remembered as an indomitable queen and a byword for the Spanish Inquisition. Many readers have only a vague sense of her character from reading novels in which she was mentioned by name or played a small role. C. W. Gortner takes this enigma and breathes life into a complex and misunderstood woman, from her early childhood in royal poverty, through her volatile adolescence at her brother’s insidious court, and finally to her trials and triumphs as Queen of Cast ...more
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Overall Review:
The Queen's Vow tells the tale of how one young princess rose above doubt, discouragement and defeat to become one of the greatest queens the world has ever known. Told exclusively from Isabella's point of view, the action rapidly enfolds and never stops in this almost 400-page drama. I couldn't help feeling like I too was in ancient Spain. The story's constant feelings of unrest and upheaval had me holding my breath over Isabella's fate.

Marie, which shows original links that were inserted.

Gortner enjoys writing of female monarchs who may have been vilified or misunderstood, and his newest novel is no different. Queen Isabella is most remembered for her role in the Spanish Inquisition and for funding Cristobal Colon's voyage. Was she a money hungry, blood thirsty monarch, with ethnic cleansing views similar to Hitler? That would be open to interpretation, and Gortner uses his research to try an
I love a good historical fiction, and I especially wanted to branch out from the English monarchs I tend to read about. So when offered the opportunity to read The Queen’s Vow, I jumped. After all, Isabella isn’t English, and she’s the Queen who sent Christopher Columbus on his way across the ocean. Of course, she’s also the Queen who authorized the Spanish Inquisition, so I’m not overly enamored of her…

Isabella is not yet four when her father dies and her half-brother Enrique ascends to the thr
Maria João
Num panorama onde cada vez mais aparecem os chamados livros históricos, que de históricos só têm mesmo o facto de se passarem numa época anterior à segunda grande guerra, é sempre um prazer ler um verdadeiro livro histórico que nos enche as medidas e nos reaviva o gosto por este género literário.
Pessoalmente eu não conhecia nada da história de Espanha, acho que a minha costela lusitana falava mais alto e nunca procurei nada acerca dos nossos vizinhos. Mas isso foi uma grande falha da minha parte
Karin Gastreich
An extraordinary depiction of the life of a formidable queen.

Gortner glosses over some of the more controversial aspects of Isabella's reign, choosing to focus on the bravery with which she defended her claim to the throne, and the determination with which she and her husband Ferdinand united Spain under one crown. While the romantic aspects of Isabella's relationship with Ferdinand are given due attention, this is one of the few historical novels in which the truly exhausting work of a wartime
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Bestselling author C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in Northern California. His books have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at for more information.
More about C.W. Gortner...
The Last Queen The Confessions of Catherine de Medici The Tudor Secret (The Spymaster Chronicles, #1) Mademoiselle Chanel The Tudor Conspiracy (The Spymaster Chronicles, #2)

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“The world is only as small as we see it, my lady. Imagination knows no limits.” 11 likes
“Youth is no protection; in the end, life scars us all.” 3 likes
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