Amy's Reviews > The Last Queen

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
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May 19, 09

bookshelves: read-in-2008, historical-fiction, read-in-2009
Read in April, 2009

Juana of Castile's life began amidst war, in between Spain's battle with the Moors, and her beginning would prove to be just as stormy as the rest of her life.

Born to the incomparable Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Juana is the third child and second daughter. She is raised on the battlefield with arrows flying overhead and witnesses the fall of Granada in her youth.

When the matter of marriage to Philip of Hapsburg is raised, Juana is not happy at all to have to leave Spain and her family. However, being a good little Princess and understanding how important this is to the country she so loves, she acquiesces herself to the match. Bringing her new husband Philip to the true religion, Catholicism, is her ultimate goal.
With the death of her brother, Juan, the heir to the crown and her sister and nephew, Juana is now next in line. A fact that pleases Philip and his rat of an advisor, Besancon, to no end. The tenderness and love Juana and Philip found at the start of their marriage turns sour as the scheming for the throne begins in earnest and poor Juana is caught in the middle of another war - this time between her parents and her husband. Philip scheming for a way to be named heir and her parents adamantly refusing it. Years of this craziness rage on...power struggle after power struggle, drama after drama. Nothing is what it seems and the duplicity is rampant. (Sounds like a lot of Courts we've read of huh!)

Think all this sounds great? I haven't even covered the craziest part....her 46 year imprisonment by not only one but three family members - her husband, her father and her son! And we should also touch on the supposed insanity of Juana, after all she was known as "Mad Juana". C.W. handled this perfectly I felt. To me it's the same old male attitude that still exists today - if a woman stands up for herself, she's labeled a "bitch". A bunch of men who didn't want to be ruled by a another woman decides to just call her crazy and try to lock her up. The reader sees it for what it is - complete fabrication. Yeah, she was emotional, but goodness after you read what she went through who can blame her?! Not I, said Amy!

The Last Queen is the perfect historical fiction novel and I highly recommend it to amateurs and veterans alike. I actually think this would be a GREAT book for someone starting out in historical fiction. Juana is a remarkable woman, fearless and strong and I think it takes a likewise remarkable person to write her story - so thank you C.W., how you write women so well I'll never know, but please don't stop!!
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Reading Progress

04/24/2009 page 77
20.92%
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Marie I am reading this now and LOVING IT
Makes me want to read more about her which is always a good sign.


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I am dying to read more about her mother too!


Marie Have you read Plaidy's Isabella and Ferdinand Trilogy? (Which begins with Castile for Isabella)
That was ALL about Isabella. (Or Isabel as Gortner puts it.)


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I haven't yet...I'm still collecting her books and I've yet to get my hands on them! I think I'm going to order the UK ones when I get my bonus at work!!!!


Marie I had to scour around for them, but I got them through Abebooks or Alibris


message 6: by MAP (new)

MAP Ooh, I've always wanted to read some fiction about Juana la loca.


message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy MAP - then this is the book for you! I can't say enough about it and I've already read it twice!


Andrea If I had to go through the things that Juana of Castile went through, I probably would have gone crazy myself. Her life of abuse was not easy to read because it angered me. I can't imagine how she could have taken this abuse all her life. Unfortunately, there was not much she could do about it and I felt her desperation.


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