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The Last Queen

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The Last Queen Cover

ISBN13: 9780345501844
ISBN10: 0345501845
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her countrys 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 Columbuss 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.

With brilliant, lyrical prose, novelist and historian C. W. Gortner conjures Juana through her own words, taking the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England. The Last Queen brings to life all the grandeur and drama of an incomparable era, and the singular humanity of this courageous, passionate princess whose fight to claim her birthright captivated the world.

Synopsis:

One of history's most enigmatic women tells the haunting, passionate story of her tumultuous life. Juana of Castile is just thirteen when she witnesses the fall of Moorish Granada and uniting of the fractured kingdoms of Spain under her warrior parents, Isabel and Fernando. Intelligent and beautiful, proud of her heritage, Juana rebels against her fate when she is chosen as a bride for the Hapsburg heir - until she arrives in Flanders and comes face-to-face with the prince known as Philip the Fair, a man who will bring her the greatest of passions, and the darkest despair. One by one, tragedy decimates Juana's family in Spain. Suddenly, she finds herself heiress to Castile - a realm on the verge of chaos, prey to avaracious nobles and scheming lords bent on thwarting her rule. Juana vows to win her throne, until the betrayal of those she loves plunges her into a ruthless battle of wills - a struggle of corruption, perfidy, and heart-shattering deceit that could cost her the crown, her freedom, and her very life. From the somber majesty of Renaissance Spain to the glittering courts of Flanders, France and Tudor England, Juana of Castile reveals her life and secrets in this captivating historical novel of romance, grandeur, power and treachery by the acclaimed author of The Secret Lion. An exquisite evocation of a dangerous era, and of a forgotten queen. - Holly Payne, author of THE VIRGIN'S KNOT

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About the Author

C. W. Gortner, half-Spanish by birth, holds an M.F.A. in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California and has taught university courses on women of power in the Renaissance. He was raised in Málaga, Spain, and now lives in California.

www.cwgortner.com

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Jena, August 1, 2008 (view all comments by Jena)
Imaginative and well spun. You'll dream you're part of Juana la Loca's world; I'm fascinated by this person I never realized even existed. Gortner is right up there with Phillipa Gregory, and I hope he experiences similar success; I look forward to reading his next work of historical fiction.
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queenmirella, July 31, 2008 (view all comments by queenmirella)
In 15th century Spain, Juana 1 of Castile is born the second daughter of Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon whose marriage united the two kingdoms, but it was her mother who possessed the most power and greatest influence.
Beneath the intensity of her politically shrewd mother, the serious, introverted Juana grew into adolescence, well educated in Latin and music. At the age of 16, her parents betrothed her Juan to Philip of Flanders, the heir of Emperor Maximilian I. With a magnificent entourage in tow, Juana crossed the vast waters to Flanders, arriving sick and in a weakened state.

At first sight of her betrothed, Juana is bewitched by his handsomeness and succumbs to his attentive charms. Philip is also intrigued with his new wife. Soon, however, intertwined with the birth of their children, Philip’s infidelity tarnishes their marriage. His strong political ambitions clash powerfully with those of her parents and Spain. All her attempts to influence Philip otherwise are thwarted by Philip’s power-hungry advisors.

Juana is caught between the dreadful clashes of her mother and husband. Matters deteriorate when Philip enters into an alliance with France, historical enemies of Spain. Philip grows progressively more menacing towards Juana and her parents in his quest to rule Spain. His terrible conspiracies result in continual betrayals as Juana struggles to maintain a stance amidst a world of powerful, ruthless men. When a series of deaths strikes the royal heirs of Spain, Juana is forced to become queen with Philip as her royal consort. Before long, she is betrayed on all sides by callous, authoritative men, and Juana finds herself imprisoned for madness.

Christopher Gortner spins a grand tale of opulence and deception, privilege and destruction, madness and fragile love. His riveting prose grabs the reader’s emotions from the very start and twists and wrenches them until the very poignant ending. Inspired by his love for his Spanish heritage, Christopher Gortner paints a vivid picture of life in 15th century Europe. He writes in an evocative prose, rich in quality and simplicity.

Books like this happen rarely. The author is a skilful writer who artfully relays a rich story peppered with unpredictable twists and turns that keeps the reader enthralled upon every word to the very end.
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Tracee Gleichner, July 29, 2008 (view all comments by Tracee Gleichner)
Book Synopsis:

Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne, has been for centuries and enigmatic figure shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the berefet 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.

I admit it. I am a history snob. I don’t know what it is, but ever since I was young I found history boring and it was always my worst subject in school. But, I have been fortunate to have seen the error of my ways, and this book is a prime example.

To be totally honest, I have never heard of Juana of Castile. This book has truly compelled me to learn more. After being part of an arranged marriage, Juana is unsure what is to become of her life. Her mother, Isabel, Queen of Castile, and Father, Fernando, King of Aragon, have worked hard to make their two countries unite and will do anything to ensure that their people are safe. They have arranged the marriage as a way of securing power and freedom for their people.

Even though Juana is less than thrilled about marrying a complete stranger, she has the same tenacity that is characteristic of her mother and agrees for the good of the country. She is pleasantly surprised when she finally meets her husband, Philip, the Archduke of Flanders. Their marriage is riddled with love and passion that most newlyweds wish for and things seem to be going exceptionally well. Until Juana catches him in bed with another woman while pregnant with her first child. Philip is flabbergasted and apologizes profusely, but this is just the start of a life of betrayal that is to be Juana’s curse.

Growing up, I think a lot of little girls (mine included) dream of being a princess. When you read a book like this, you realize that being royalty is not so much of a blessing as a burden. Everything you do is scrutinized and you are expected to act and carry yourself in a certain way. But we see, time and time again, that Juana was courageous and wouldn’t change her beliefs for anyone. Even after tragedy strikes, Juana is prepared to take her rightful place as Queen, even if it means fighting those she is closest too. In the end it just wasn’t enough. In a shocking turn of events she ends up a prisoner and is never allowed to fulfill her rightful place as Queen.

Many historians have speculated that Juana was schizophrenic and that is what led to the imprisonment that she endures for most of her life. Mr. Gortner does and excellent job of portraying a vibrant woman whose sanity was stretched to its limits by the betrayal and cruelty that would likely break any “sane” person. I applaud his efforts to show us the other side of Juana la Loca and show that maybe she wasn’t insane after all, but simply a victim of circumstances.

About the author:

C.W. GORTNER’s fascination with history, in particular the Renaissance, is a lifetime pursuit. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California and has taught university seminars on the 16th century. In addition, he travels extensively to research his books. He has experienced life in a medieval Spanish castle and danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall; dug through library archives all over Europe; and tried to see and touch—or, at least, gaze at through impenetrable museum glass—as many artifacts of the era as he can find.



He has served on the board of the Women’s National Book Association/SF Chapter, an organization that promotes literacy, and he’s a regular contributor to the Historical Novels Review and Solander, publications of the Historical Novel Society. He is also a passionate advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.



Raised in Málaga, Spain, C.W. Gortner is half-Spanish by birth and fully bilingual. He currently lives in Northern California.

For more information, please visit www.cwgortner.com


A special thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for hosting this awesome book!

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345501844
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Gortner, C W
Author:
Gortner, C. W.
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Romance - Historical
Subject:
Queens
Subject:
Kings and rulers
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Spain Kings and rulers.
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080729
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
MAP
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.32x6.34x1.24 in. 1.34 lbs.

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The Last Queen Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345501844 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , One of history's most enigmatic women tells the haunting, passionate story of her tumultuous life. Juana of Castile is just thirteen when she witnesses the fall of Moorish Granada and uniting of the fractured kingdoms of Spain under her warrior parents, Isabel and Fernando. Intelligent and beautiful, proud of her heritage, Juana rebels against her fate when she is chosen as a bride for the Hapsburg heir - until she arrives in Flanders and comes face-to-face with the prince known as Philip the Fair, a man who will bring her the greatest of passions, and the darkest despair. One by one, tragedy decimates Juana's family in Spain. Suddenly, she finds herself heiress to Castile - a realm on the verge of chaos, prey to avaracious nobles and scheming lords bent on thwarting her rule. Juana vows to win her throne, until the betrayal of those she loves plunges her into a ruthless battle of wills - a struggle of corruption, perfidy, and heart-shattering deceit that could cost her the crown, her freedom, and her very life. From the somber majesty of Renaissance Spain to the glittering courts of Flanders, France and Tudor England, Juana of Castile reveals her life and secrets in this captivating historical novel of romance, grandeur, power and treachery by the acclaimed author of The Secret Lion. An exquisite evocation of a dangerous era, and of a forgotten queen. - Holly Payne, author of THE VIRGIN'S KNOT
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