The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
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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.
What I thought
The Last Queen is a historical fiction novel based on the life of Juana of Castile. Juana was the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain. In this book Juana’s story beings when she is 13 years old during the fall of Granada. At 16 Juana was married off to Philip of the Habsburg empire. What seemed to begin as a fairy tale marriage turned very tragic as tragedy struck Juana’s family and Philip became more power hungry. With each tragedy, Juana moved higher in the line of succession for both Castile and Aragon.
As Philip saw what he thought was his chance to rule the Spanish empire he began declaring Juana as insane and began locking her up to keep others from seeing her. Philip believed that this would then leave the Spanish throne to him as her husband. Due to this ploy, Juana ends up spending more than 40 years in imprisonment. First by her husband, then her father and lastly her son. No matter what happened Juana never abdicated her throne.
In my personal opinion, Juana could have ruled her kingdom if she would have been allowed to. Yes, she suffered from depression but once you look at how many people she lost, then to be locked up by those that once cared for her just to take her power. I think given the chance and not being locked up she would have ruled as well as her mother had. But then again this is only my opinion.
C.W. Gortner did a wonderful job telling Juana’s story. He kept to as many facts as he could find and for that, I truly appreciate this story. I see myself picking up another of his books in the future.
My Rating: /5