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Comment: Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date of Publication: 2011
Binding: hard cover
Edition: First American
Condition: Very Good -/Very Good -
Description: 0-345-51604-6 (2011), 454pp, illus., slight rubbing to cover, slight edgewear to dj, contents clean.
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SISTER QUEENS: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile Hardcover – 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First American edition (2011)
  • ASIN: 0345532317
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

A very interesting and well written book that I enjoyed very much and would recommend.
Menarue
This is an excellent and well written biography of Ferdinand and Isabella's two daughters, Katherine and Juana.
LMS
Katherine is center-stage in "Sister Queens" and this is much more Katherine's book than it is Juana's.
P. B. Sharp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really didn't know much about Katherine, Henry VIII's first wife and this book showed me a totally different side of her than what I've been led to believe. Katherine was definitely a "First Wife" ... that terminology used in today's modern times, "First Wife, shoved aside to make room for the Trophy Wife." This book delves deeper into the lives and times of Katherine and her sister, Juana, more so than any other historical fiction novel would have you believe. And this book is NOT fiction, but rather a thoughtful and insightful treaty of the comparisons of the two sisters, both queens in their own rights, and their lives.

I could not put this book down. It is well-written, drawn out and definitely not boring. This is why I adore history, especially women's history.

What strikes me is here are two sisters, both of them raised under Isabella's rule and reign, and their mother, Isabella, is a mighty queen used to ruling and conquering lands. Both of the sisters are raised to be royals in every inch of the word, not only in material goods, but also in education and more. And yet, their lives are different as can be. It is very interesting to read this and compare the two. Yes, the book focuses more on Katherine since her life is more documented than Juana's life is, but there are similarities and differences between the two sisters.

I also like how Ms. Fox writes about Henry, who historians have written so much about, sometimes fawning over how the delighful young man could end up so cruel, and yet Ms. Fox writes of an incident where Henry killed off two men (both noblemen) when he first took over the throne after his father's death.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To the world, the daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were blessed in every respect. Both princesses were destined to be queens: Katherine, to be Queen of England (married first to the Tudor prince, Arthur, and then to Henry VIII), and Juana, to be, first, Archduchess of Burgundy and Flanders, and then Queen of Castile and Aragon in her own right. Fortune, however, was unkind to Katherine, whom Henry divorced, and even unkinder to Juana, against whom both father and husband conspired to prevent her from coming into her rightful inheritance. As a result, History has left their reputations sullied in the minds of posterity, Katherine, being remembered as a scorned and bitter woman, and Juana, as being demented.

In a narrative that is as readable as it is compelling, Julia Fox investigates the politics that shaped the unhappy lives of these sister-queens, both of whom were sacrificed on the altar of marriage in the name of political ambition and expediency. A thorough bibliography demonstrates the extent of the historian's research, and although I am not convinced by the editors' use of 'stealth footnotes'--numberless conglomerations at the end of the book which make it difficult for a scholar who is doing research on the topic, I must say that I found "Sister Queens" to be one of the best examples of (and arguments for) the genre of 'popular' history. Not only is "Sister Queens" likely to whet one's interest, but also, more importantly, Ms Fox's account of their lives is likely to inspire one to find out more about the subject.

A thoroughly fascinating read!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on December 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Catherine is well covered in Tudor literature. There is even fiction devoted to her plight (most recently in the The Constant Princess by Gregory). Juana, Queen of Castile, is usually referenced as a mother or grandmother, rarely as a Queen, and always as "mad". I chose this book from the Vine program to learn more about Juana, particularly why she met the fate she did. I was pleasantly surprised to learn a lot more about Catherine that was new to me.

Most of the text is devoted to Catherine; hers is the better documented life. The background on the negotiations for Catherine's second marriage is covered with more dimension and sensitivity than I've seen elsewhere. You see how her father, Ferdinand, all but abandons her in England and how she learns from this experience.

Other writers emphasize the gallant and thoughtful young Henry, Fox notes the execution of two of his father's ministers and his later beheading of the Duke of Somerset. She also reminds the reader that Henry's philandering life began well before his courtship of Anne Boleyn in 1526. Elizabeth Blount bore him a son in 1519.

This is the most I've read of Queen Juana and how easily she was pushed aside by her father and son. It seems that she is her own worst enemy. Her first bad decision was to return to her husband in Burgundy in early 1504. If she had stayed in Spain as her mother requested, she could have learned to govern, made contacts and been visible to her subjects. Following this up with unqueenly behavior such as hunger strikes, refusal to speak/pray, and an assault on her husband's mistress made her an easy mark. She misread her imprisonment and seems almost resigned to her fate.

I think Fox's opinion that she did this for her son to rule is not correct.
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