Anna Karras's Reviews > The Last Queen

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
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's review
Jun 24, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historicalfiction

With all the hype about the Tudor dynasty these days, more and more stories are coming out of the historical closet to be told. This is a fictionalized account of Juana of Castile, the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand and sister to Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII. Juana was married to Philip, the Archduke of Flanders, and their early life was very happy and passionate. But when the succession of Spanish heirs dies out leaving Juana the heir to the Spanish throne, Philip becomes greedy and hungry for power. Their marriage dissolves into anger and hatred and Juana must do everything she can to outwit her husband from stealing her throne.

Historically, Juana was known as Juana La Loca, or Juana the Mad because she physically attacked her husband's mistress and showed a passionate temper when provoked. But was the nuts, or was she just provoked too much to bear? History didn't always account for stupid, abusive, husbands who would declare their wife insane so he could usurp her throne.

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message 1: by Luthien (new)

Luthien I haven't read this particular book, but I believe that part of Juana's madness consisted in that after her husband's death she refused to bury him, and travelled with his cadaver through Spain. Before that, she was passionately jealous of her husband's mistresses.
Anyway, after Philip died, she was once again betrayed by her Father, in whose best interest was to declare her crazy so he could keep on ruling Castile (Ferdinand was king of Aragon, Juana's mother was the Queen of Castile on her own right -more or less, some may argue that she stole the throne from her niece- and after her death, the throne passed to her issue).

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