Genre: Historical fiction
Source: I made the library get it
In this stunning novel, C. W. Gortner brings to life Juana of Castile, the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, who would become the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne. Along the way, Gortner takes the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England.
Born amid her parents’ ruthless struggle to unify and strengthen their kingdom, Juana, at the age of sixteen, is sent to wed Philip, heir to the Habsburg Empire. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her dashing young husband, and at first she is content with her children and her married life. But when tragedy strikes and she becomes heir to the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a battle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it costs her everything.
It’s hard to grade this one, for my personal enjoyment it gets a lesser grade cos I felt so sad, but as for the writing and story it gets a higher grade. Because it was really good in the end.
Juana la Loca as she is known as did not have an easy life. Married at 16 to a handsome prince she was happy, for a while. But that love turned as he wanted her kingdom. He treated her badly, and declared her insane. Well if my man gave all my things to his whore then I would jump her too. If she was insane is the question, sure they had it in the family, but the way she was treated could only have made it worse. And it is also said at the end that it really showed long after when her last child was taken from her and she was left all alone. So no she did not have a happy life, first screwed over by her husband and then by her father. The book ends with her being locked away. She was a woman ruled by men.
It did make me think a bit, her mother was strong and ruled her kingdom, she went to war and knew her mind. Perhaps poor Juana was not as strong, because I do not think her mother would have tolerated being handled like that.
Still it is a fascinating story, Juana’s life, for a few years, and the quest of who will rule what is Spain. Being heir to kingdoms was certainly not easy. And Gortner writes the story so well, I really feel for Juana, and the things that did happen he explains so well. What she might have thought right then.
Because of this it is a book I recommend, and I do confess that plenty of times while reading I thought to myself how much men suck. Bastards!