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Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 (The Royal Diaries)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,260 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
While waiting anxiously for others to choose a husband for her, Isabella, the future Queen of Spain, keeps a diary account of her life as a member of the royal family.
Hardcover, 205 pages
Published July 2000 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 2000)
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Cleopatra VII by Kristiana GregoryMarie Antoinette by Kathryn LaskyAnastasia by Carolyn MeyerElizabeth I by Kathryn LaskyEleanor by Kristiana Gregory
The Royal Diaries
6th out of 21 books — 243 voters
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Teen Historical Fiction
53rd out of 989 books — 2,402 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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"To see her speak was divine."- Fernandez de Oviedo

Setting:Spain, 1466-1468

Coverly Love?:Yes! I’ve always loved the beautifully illustrated covers this series has.

Plot:Princess Isabel is a sister caught between two brothers. On the one hand, her older stepbrother Enrique is supreme leader of Castilla and León, and she’s forced to obey his every command. On the other hand, her brother Alfonso has raised rebel forces and claimed himself King of Castilla, effectively driving a wedge throughout t
Megan Marie
Aug 22, 2010 Megan Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carlyn Brody
Aug 14, 2013 Carlyn Brody rated it liked it
Isabel: Jewel of Castilla is a fictional diary of Isabella the first who reigned Castile (now Spain) in the 15th century. The diary is about Isabel as a teenager and the lead up to her wedding. Isabel is the daughter of Juan II of Castilla and Isabel I of Portugal. Her father dies and her mother goes into a deep state of depression. Isabel’s brothers Enrique and Alfonso divide the kingdom, each proclaiming that they are the rightful king. They vie for control over Isabel, as they both want her t ...more
Jinny (Lost-At-Sea Book Reviews)
I was really interested in reading this book because I wanted to read more about royalty from Spain (or, rather, at the time, it was the kingdoms of Leon and Castile, Aragon, and Granada. Maybe some others too, but those are the ones I remember). All I knew about Isabel is that she is particularly famous for helping Christopher Columbus’ plans on traveling to the Americas. This is a middle school book, but perfect for my purpose of wanting an introduction to Isabel. Also, I adore the Royal Diari ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Isabel was one of the few royal women who was actually able to have a partnership and equal ruling power with her husband. She was politically savvy, clever and incredibly brave. This story shows how she had to be intelligent in order to claim her throne at a very young age. This one shows her childhood up to when she married Fernando and how she managed to work with her elder brother Enrique.
Lady Judith
May 12, 2015 Lady Judith rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-have
This is a well written book, but I found it boring.
Carrie Slager
Feb 14, 2014 Carrie Slager rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-borrowed
Queen Isabel of Spain was both a woman to be admired and a woman to be hated. On one hand, she was an incredibly strong female leader for her time who actually chose who she got to marry. On the other hand, she was the very woman that started the horrible, bloody Inquisition that killed thousands of innocents and forced thousands more to flee their homes. Here in Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Carolyn Meyer has attempted to explain both her strong side as well as her ruthless side that came from a c ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Sophia rated it really liked it
I love reading the Royal Diaries! They always manage to get me interested in the time period and people they are about. Well, they've done it again!
Isabel was a fabulous little excerpt from the childhood of one of the most powerful and influential queens of the time. She certainly had a rough life but I admired how she remained spirited and determined yet still humble and submissive at the correct moments. It was a story of faith and power. The characters were well written and portrayed in excit
Sarah Crawford
Feb 03, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This book is about the person better known as Queen Isabella who helped back Christopher Columbus' voyages to the "New World." It mostly deals with her earlier years and the incredible complexity of the political webs that she had to pass through as she was growing up. The terror of the Bubonic Plague is also discussed briefly.

Although a lot of the book is about her daily live, the majority of it is involved in tying that daily life into the political problems, betrayals and dangers that she fa
Aug 04, 2014 Mena rated it liked it
Although a big fan of this series, I never really became interested in this installment until after seeing the made-for-tv adaptation. Surely the tale of the infamous strong-willed mother of Catherine of Aragon must be just as exciting as the real woman?

I was disappointed.

The writing is okay, & it's nice to have a book about Isabel's childhood rather than her adulthood or the same old story about Columbus, but I found our 'heroine' to be dreadfully dull. I understand she (along with most of
Ana Mardoll
Feb 23, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it really liked it
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Isabel, Jewel of Castilla / 0-439-07805-9

A solid addition to the Royal Diary series, Isabel deals with the young adulthood of the queen who would later become the patron of Christopher Columbus. The diary centers around the dilemmas that Isabel faces as she chooses which of her two brothers to support as king, and as she hopes to be married to someone who will not be completely repugnant to her. Isabel is forced to grapple with her conscience as she supports one of her brothers over the other in
Jan 09, 2013 Steph rated it liked it
One of the better ones that I have read. Checked the author, realized it was Carolyn Meyer and agreed with my findings. You may not, but I think she writes engagingly well for the younger audience.

Isabel of Castilla is the sister of two brothers that are both "crowned" King of lands that will become Spain. The diary covers the time from when she moves in with her younger brother to the day she meets her husband, King Ferdinand.

What I liked about the book was how Isabel questioned women ruling. I

Sep 27, 2009 Johnpemberton83 rated it liked it
The book Isabel Jewel of Castilla is about a princess that wants to find true love. Her brother the king wants her to marry this ugly guy that she doesn't want to marry. The kingdom is divided into two. One goes to Isabel's brother and the other kingdom goes to her other brother. In the story, Isabel runs away with one of the kings servants. She then finds out that the ugly guy dies. Her brother then tries to capture her but he fails. In the end she marries a guy named Fernando. She really like ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Kristy rated it liked it
I didn't clue in until nearly 3/4 through that the Isabel "writing" the diary is Isabella of Spain who financed Columbus. I enjoyed the book although it's not a book of action and suspense but just quiet day to day living. But the information was interesting and I thought it was a good read for getting a fictional view on the time period and some of the things that shaped her as a person.
Mar 20, 2015 Caity rated it liked it
This book is a bit confusing at times featuring many characters who loyalties switch between her two brothers. While this did illustrate the turmoil of the time it was also distracting from the rest of the story. It was also interesting to see her attitude toward the conversos throughout the book and how despite having a loyal converso friend who was a faithful Christian, this attitude led to the Spanish Inquisition.
Oct 12, 2014 Samantha rated it liked it
I liked this book a lot. It kept me entertained the entire time. I am trying to decide whether I want to keep it for myself or put it in my classroom. I will have to mull it over a bit. But it was still a good read and reminded me of why I enjoyed these books when I was in Middle School.
Aug 01, 2015 Shirleon rated it really liked it
So far, in my re-reading, this one has been my favorite. I like how Isabel adds her dialogue's into her diary. (And by her I mean the author, since I don't know how accurate this actually is.)

One thing that I did find annoying to see was how strict her priest was at the beginning of her diary to write down all her sins. While this is not a terrible practice, the way that he was coming across was a "fire and brimstone" kind of guy. She ended up changing her writing to be more about her everyday
Aug 13, 2015 Shelli rated it liked it
While this was not my favorite in the Royal Diaries series, my daughter and I still enjoyed learning about a time and place so opposite of our own. Thankfully, events picked up toward the end of the book making for an exciting conclusion.
Jul 29, 2011 Hannah rated it liked it
Shelves: adapted-to-movie
While I do not appreciate the sexual content in this book, I loved how Meyer weaved so much history into these journal entries. The story gives a good look into the daily life of Spanish royalty in the 1400s, including the Catholic religion, food, wares sold at fairs, diseases, and the political spectrum. I appreciated how many of Isabel's writings set the stage for her future role as the sender of Columbus and the starter of the Inquisition. Included in the book are pictures of the historical c ...more
 ~*Marya*~ I'м α Gιrl ιɴ α World ιɴ Wнιcн No Oɴe Elѕe ιѕ Tнrowιɴɢ Awαy мy Pαѕтα*~ Rαιѕe yoυr ɢlαѕѕ, doɴ'т тнrow αwαy yoυr ѕнoт
I would write a longer review if I could venture back into my eight-year-old mind, but since I can't, I'll just say that this was my favorite book through most of third grade and paved the way for later interests. The storyline was not too hard to follow and it had a nice ending, so I liked it then.
Apr 19, 2014 Trejon rated it really liked it
I read the entire Royal Diaries series when I was a kid, and they still hold up as good reads! I liked them even better than the Dear America Series.
Apr 08, 2014 Jenni rated it did not like it
Read in March for March into Reading month.

Completely forgot I read it, which shows how memorable it was. (It wasn't.)
Jul 17, 2014 Ashwise rated it it was amazing
A good historical account, though fictious look at Isabelle.
Mary Bronson
Dec 29, 2013 Mary Bronson rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a pretty good book. I really enjoyed reading it. I think Isabel is such a great character from history. Her story of trying to stay happy and make sure she is the heir to Castila. Also to make sure that she marries the right person. In the end she marries someone she loves and they have children, one of them Catherine becomes Henry VIII's first wife. Also she helps fund Christopher Columbus sail around the world to India.
Dec 02, 2014 Araceli is currently reading it
it is a very interesting book.
Jan 21, 2015 Ellie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This is a good book!
Dec 18, 2015 Martha rated it it was amazing
Great book!
Jun 08, 2015 Tonibelle04 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2013 Rina rated it liked it
Up till the end with the "historical note" it was ok. I loved this book as a child and helped inspire the path i lead today as a historian. but i was sorely disappointed with with discourse on the expulsion of jews and the inquisition. much of the information is based on rumour and legend that developed outside of Spain and remains incorrect at best and at worst gives a terrible reputation to a period in history that while terrible, wasn't as horrendous as is made out.
Mar 02, 2015 Sue rated it it was ok
Shelves: royalty
Only OK. Best part of this book was the back: Endnotes and Epilogue. So, boring.
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Carolyn Meyer is as versatile a writer as you will find. Along with historical fiction and realistic novels for young adults she has written nonfiction for young adults and books for younger readers on topics as diverse as the Amish, the Irish, Japanese, Yup'ik Eskimos, a rock band, rock tumbling, bread baking, and coconuts. And ten of her books have been chosen as Best Books for Young Adults by t ...more
More about Carolyn Meyer...

Other Books in the Series

The Royal Diaries (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (Royal Diaries #1)
  • Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries #2)
  • Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria - France, 1769 (Royal Diaries #4)
  • Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (Royal Diaries #5)
  • Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 (Royal Diaries #6)
  • Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii, 1889 (Royal Diaries #7)
  • Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Red Bird of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531 (Royal Diaries #8)
  • Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829
  • Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, France, 1553
  • Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars, Korea, A.D. 595

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