About the Book: Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne, has been for centuries an enigmatic figure shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time? In his stunning new novel, C. W. Gortner challenges the myths about Queen Juana, unraveling the mystery surrounding her to reveal a brave, determined woman we can only now begin to fully understand.

The third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, Juana is born amid her parents’ ruthless struggle to unify their kingdom, bearing witness to the fall of Granada and Columbus’s discoveries. At the age of sixteen, she is sent to wed Philip, the archduke of Flanders, as part of her parents’ strategy to strengthen Spain, just as her youngest sister, Catherine of Aragon, is sent to England to become the first wife of Henry VIII.

Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her handsome young husband, the sole heir to the Habsburg Empire. At first she is content with her children and her life in Flanders. But when tragedy strikes and she inherits 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, her intelligence and pride used as weapons against her, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it could cost her everything.

My Review: Until I read The Other Boleyn Girl earlier this year, the subject of the queens and kings of long ago was not very interesting to me. In fact, I probably never would have picked to read a book like this. But when this book came on offer for virtual tour, I jumped at the chance having so greatly enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl.

I am so glad I did, because I absolutely loved this book. This has been an extraordinarily busy week for me, and I just did not want to put this book down. I brought it everywhere with me, hoping to sneak in a page here and there.

I knew nothing about this legendary queen, but what a fascinating history! Gortner portrays Juana’s stubborness, her strength and self-doubt, her courage, and love of country so deeply that you feel you are right there with her. I felt so much of what she felt as she faced a life I can’t even imagine. From the various manipulations of her birth family to her husband, whether or not she was at all insane, I think she was mostly a smart woman with incredible courage and force of will.

Gortner spent six years researching this book and it shows. The details are present without being overwhelming and the characters are sharply drawn and feel so authentic. The plot moves at a perfect pace…trust me when you start this book you won’t want to put it down. Highly Recommended.

This post was written byAmy and is filed under Blog Tours, Historical Fiction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

14 Responses to “Review: The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner”

  1. Cheryl Malandrinos Says:

    I hope I get a chance to read this one soon. It sounds wonderful!


  2. Darlene Says:

    I really want to read this one. It’s been on my radar for a bit now. I love historical fiction and one being set in Spain is something different.

  3. Ruth Says:

    I want to read this one as well. I’m really enjoying all the great new historical fiction that’s come out recently.

  4. Word Lily Says:

    Yep, this sounds like a good one!

  5. tanabata Says:

    This does sound really good. I hope I get a chance to read it before too long.

  6. Jena Says:

    LOL–I can’t believe you actually finished a book during BBAW; I feel like such a slacker! Another book you *might* be interested in: After reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I was so interested in this behind-the-scenes, between-the-covers look at royalty that I about jumped for joy when I found out that my friend was reading a book called Sex with Kings. Now, it’s a scholarly monograph, so it can get pretty dry, and it’s certainly not organized in any manner I would have recommended, but it was interesting reading about kings’ mistresses through the last 500 years or so. If you’re interested, you might have to have someone you know has access to a university library get their hands on it for you; I had to do an interlibrary loan because only a few schools in Ohio had it at the time.

  7. mari Says:

    Sounds good. Another book to add to my to-read list. 🙂

  8. C.W. Gortner Says:

    Thank you to Friendly Book Nook for this lovely review. I’m delighted by reader enthusiasm for THE LAST QUEEN! I’ll be stopping by to answer any questions or comments you might have.
    Fond regards, C.W. Gortner

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