Patty's Reviews > Reign of Madness

Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen
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's review
Aug 09, 2011

really liked it
Read in August, 2011

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 Austria to marry the Duke of Burgundy, known as Philippe the Handsome. He does seem to care for her as much as he can care for anyone other than himself but he is a vain, power hungry man. When Juana, through the tragic deaths of her brother, sister and mother ends up becoming Queen of Spain he in cahoots with her father has her locked up for close to 50 years. The men in her life, the men who were supposed to love her and support her stole her power and created the myth that she was crazy.

Ms. Cullen creates a fictional reason why Juana allowed this to occur since no one knows the true reason. The book fascinated me. I was drawn in from the beginning and I fell in love with this poor young woman. I feel so very sorry for what she had to endure and for what history has done to her.

The beginning of the book details Juana's life as a child in her parent's court. She meets Christopher Columbus and becomes infatuated with his son Diego. She is eventually told of her marriage to the Duke of Burgundy and embarks on her way to meet and marry him but is shocked at the ways of his court and people. She finds a way to adapt so as to keep him happy since a man at that time owned his wife and could do anything to and with her. There is much foreshadowing early in the tale.

Ms. Cullen's writing style is easy to read and draws you in to the era. History is finite so it is a good author that can breathe such life into old myths and create a reason to reconsider what has come through time.
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