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The Last Queen: A Novel Paperback – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“I ached for this intelligent, one-of-a-kind queen. Her struggle and passion kept me up until the early hours of the morning. A page-turner, a nail-biter, an eye-opener: I loved being possessed by The Last Queen!”—Ki Longfellow, author of The Secret Magdalene
“A vibrant tapestry of love and hate . . . brings to life an extraordinary queen at an unforgettable time in history.”—Sandra Worth, author of Lady of the Roses
“An exquisite evocation of a dangerous era and of a forgotten queen.”—Holly Payne, author of The Virgin’s Knot
“Gripping and unforgettable . . . captures Juana of Castile’s electrifying drama.”—Judith Merkle Riley, author of The Water Devil
Top Customer Reviews
The novel opens in 1492 when Juana is 13 years old. Her parents, Ferdinand and Isabella, have just conquered Grananda, ending 300 years of Moorish rule. Juana has never known life apart from the crusades and her parents' all-consuming dedication to uniting Spain and expelling the Moors. Ferdinand and Isabella passed their passion and fierce nationalism on to at least one of their four daughters: from childhood, Juana harbored an intense loyalty to her native land.
In 15th century Europe, royal children were betrothed in marriage not for love, but to facilitate political alliances. Juana was no exception. Her parents arranged a marriage between Juana and Philip the Fair, Hapsburg heir and archduke of Flanders.
Initially resistant to the marriage, Juana eventually fell in love with Philip and resigned herself to life in Flanders, outside her beloved Spain. But everything changed when, through a succession of family deaths, Juana became direct heir to the Spanish throne; she suddenly saw an ambitious, calculating, even cruel side of her dashing husband.
Chaos ensued. The life Juana had built in Flanders crumbled as everyone around her scrambled to exploit any and every possible political advantage. Her husband was influenced by deceitful, unscrupulous advisors.Read more ›
I knew absolutely nothing about Juana of Castile, so I brought no preconceived notions to the novel. I was able to read it without thinking "this is where that will happen," because I simply wasn't aware of the historical background. Juana of Castile had a life full of betrayal (I'm giving nothing away unless you skip reading the jacket blurb). Her story exemplifies the truth that women were nothing more than political pawns, meant for marrying well and breeding sons. Though Juana was daughter to a powerful Queen, even this did not protect her.
Overall, I found the story quite interesting (thus four stars), though the writing often suffered. The book is written from Juana's point of view, but most of it is not written as a woman of any era would speak, in my opinion and, given that I am female, I think I have a basis for expressing that opinion. I made this determination before I knew C.W. Gortner's gender, but as I read, I guessed that a man had written it. The bad guys were telegraphed so far in advance that I would have had to have been blind to miss the foreshadowing. There were a few surprises, but I would have preferred to find things out when Juana did, not see them coming 50 pages ahead of time.
The Last Queen did serve an important purpose, in that I would like to know more about Juana of Castile. It was surprising and intriguing news to me to hear that two films, and several books, had been released regarding her life, and I will be investigating those quite soon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel is a good read, actually, part of it is quite a page turner.
If you enjoy fiction placed in a historial background, you will no doubt enjoy it. Read more
This was an engaging novel revealing the trials which come with rulership and compounded by womanhood. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Veritas
This was my first foray into Spanish history and I enjoyed the book very much. I recommend it to anyone interested in this period.Published 3 months ago by Keely Cofrin
This book does a very good job of offering a detailed version of what could have been. There is much unknown of Juana and the perils of her life but for certain she was a victim... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lynette Dixon
It took a couple of chapters and then I was so into the characters and couldn't wait to read the next chapter. Great reading! I will be reading another book by the this author.Published 4 months ago by Charles Carpenter
The Last Queen was a very interesting book. I did not have very much information on this period of history or anything pertaining to Spanish hierarchy. I enjoyed reading this book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by E. Ervin
Heart Wrenching. Anyone who reads historical fiction knows being a princess just made you a target for abuse. This story is not about happy endings. Read morePublished 6 months ago by clarissa
I was captured by the book and wouldn't stop reading, the history behind the story is fascinatingPublished 6 months ago by LILIANA HOURQUET