Customer Reviews for

Last Queen

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 78 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2009

    THe Last Queen by C.W.Gortner

    I just finished the book, The Last Queen by C.W.Gortner and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I have read a lot of books about the Tudors and the Elizabethan era but I never had much interest in reading anything other than English and Irish history. I read quite a few different reviews on this book since I started blogging and I was excited to read it. I was lucky enough to find the only copy at the bookstore.


    This story takes place in the 1500's in Spain during the rule of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The main character Juana is one of the daughters of the king and queen, sister to Catherine of Aragon. Juana was married off to Phillip of Flanders, heir to the Hapsburg throne, at the age of 13, . She swore that she had no interest in marrying someone she did not know and she did not want to leave her beloved Spain. She did ultimately get married to Phillip and their marriage at first was a very loving marriage and they started a family.




    After there was numerous tragedies in her family, her role changed and she was in line for the throne and found out that people she trusted were working against her for their own purposes. She finds herself as a political prisoner in a power struggle between her husband, father and other monarchs in France, Flanders and England who worked to see that she did not ascend the throne.




    I found Juana to be a very strong woman, forced to obey the men around her and still maintain her dignity as a woman and mother and ultimately as the last Queen with Spanish blood to be on the Spanish throne. I think that C.W. Gortner did a remarkable job of making Juana a very compassionate woman in spite of her "reputation as being crazy".




    I have only before read bits and pieces of Queen Juana as being "mad" and "insane" and it was refreshing to have this regal lady portrayed in a sympathetic light. I really enjoyed this book. Because of liking this novel I intend to read more on Queen Juana. I would highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted August 10, 2009

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    A Gripping Adaptation

    As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was interesting throughout. The characters were complex and well written. I didn't know very much about Juana de Loca prior to this book, except that she went insane. She was truly a strong and compassionate women who endured the abuse of men in her life and found a way to stand up for herself and her children. Great read if you're are interested in historical fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2009

    Gives a great account of the royal courts of Castile and Aragon and their unification.

    C. W. Gortner weaves an intricate story about royal succession and the roles of the infantas' of Spain. The reader can't help but feel for the infantas and the situations that they find themselves in.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    Very good read

    I bought this book on a whim and ended up putting off reading it for a couple of weeks but it was well worth it when I got to it. The main character is a woman often neglected by literature. There's no end to the books out there about Elizabeth the I, but this is a queen of which I'd previously heard very little and led a very different life in a similar time. Her story is somewhat tragic towards the end, but seeing as it's at least loosely based in fact it would be disappointing if it wasn't. Despite her less than happily ever after ending it is a book I would highly recommend, once I started it I had a hard time putting it down and hated the fact that it had to end.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    Historical drama about Juana of Castile

    The Last Queen is an awesome read. I was shocked to see what this poor woman, Juana, daughter of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand, had to endure. I felt terrible when I got to the end but I suppose that's what good writing is all about.

    I don't usually read historical novels but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. The author must have done a tremendous amount of research and it opened up a whole new world for me.
    Lorraine M. Larose

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Why had I not heard of Juana of Castile before?

    Good historical fiction not only entertains readers by transporting them to another time and place, but also informs. Often you can learn more through fiction than you can through dusty tomes written by historians.

    Such is the case in Gortner's brilliant novel The Last Queen. I was ignorant of the lifestory of Juana of Castile until I read this book, and I wonder why her story isn't more popular. It is filled with passion, intrigue and betrayal by those who should have supported and defended her.

    Juana was the daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, who I knew growing up as the patrons of Christopher Columbus. She was the sister of Catherine of Aragon, the queen of England and first wife to King Henry VIII. She was married to Philip, the Archduke of the Hapsburg Empire and mother to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor.

    And because of deaths in her family, she inherited the title of Queen of Castile.

    Her story is well known in Spain and Europe, but is relatively unknown in the United States. Gortner brings to life a woman who history has marginalized as being "mad." This is Juana's side of the story and it leads me to think that the official historical record may have been propaganda covering the truth of "Juana la Loca."

    I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted April 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    THE LAST QUEEN is a terrific biographical fiction novel

    In 1492 with the conquering of Granada, King Fernando and Queen Isabel have united Spain and kicked out the Moors. Their thirteen year old daughter Princess Juana is proud of their achievement. However, to strengthen their control of Spain the royal couple begins to marry their children to other regal offspring to forge alliances via political marriages. Thus Juana's older sister Princess Catalina becomes wife of England's Henry VIII.--------------------

    She waits her turn, but when it comes she is upset and asks her parents to reconsider as she has never met the Hapsburg Empire heir, Philip of Flanders. It does not matter how she feels as she is sent from her homeland. To her shock, Juana and Phillip are attracted to one another from the start and fall in love. Years later with heirs and spares, Juana shockingly becomes heir to the Spanish throne; she must act cautiously in order to avoid upsetting her spouse or her parents while both sides tug on her allegiance; others understanding her situation try to take advantage by manipulating the two sides to gain royal favors at her expense.--------------------

    THE LAST QUEEN is a terrific biographical fiction novel bringing to life the sister-in-law of Henry VIII; via his first wife. Juana is caught in the maelstrom of political intrigue that leaves few survivors; her troubles are compounded by lies and betrayals. C.W. Gortner captures the era in which even a princess cannot avoid swimming in a cesspool filled with woman-eating sharks.------------

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2009

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    Well written

    This book was a well written story about Juanna the Mad, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain. It is fiction based on her real life. Some of the events conflict with other non-fiction details I have read about her, but the author admits that he took some liberties. The only think i didnt like about it was probably what really happened to her in her life. By the end of the book, i wished i hadnt read it. She lived a hard life and it makes me thankful that i live in this day and age and just about everthing that happened to her would not be tolerated or go unpunished now. I wasnt surprised by most of the things that happened, because i have read many books written about royalty back then and alot of the women were treated mostly the same, as possessions to be used to gain wealth and power by men. This book depicted her life a bit harder than what i was used to reading. The book is very good, but I guess I just didnt like how her life ended.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

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    How could she not be mad?

    Really enjoyed this book - it was a fast and interesting read. You cannot help think that this poor woman just had a horrible time of it. Just when you think it cannot get worse, it does. Contrary to what I would have thought, 95% of the time Luana never acted mad in the book, yet if all those things would've happened to me, I would have been crazy! Definately a good read for historical fiction lovers - it is nice to have someone different to read about besides the English Kings and Queens of old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Wonderful!!!

    Being a history lover propelled me to buy this book. I can not tell you how wonderful the book was. I could feel every emotion that Juana went through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2008

    Destiny Halted!

    Juana of Castile, more commonly known as Juana La Loca, fumes in mid-sixteenth century Spain as she is forced into a betrothal with Philip of Hapsburg. How many political ties of nations were both forged and decimated by the ever-changing vicissitudes of power-hungry monarchs throughout Europe. Outrageous and disgusting, Juana imagines, but she must cooperate with her parents' political plans! Imagine Juana's surprise at the consuming attraction she feels toward Philip when she first meets him and he meets her. Their initial meeting is so strong that they consummate their unorthodox marriage immediately and only later suffer the formal rite for the people's joyful celebration. So lost is Juana in this glorious, lustful union that she forgets she has been groomed by her parents, Ferdinand and Isabella, to be the proud Queen of Spain. Little by little, though, we learn that Isabella is the primordial force in ruling Spain and strong, compliant Ferdinand hides an insatiable hunger to rule in his own right. Indeed, Juana's Philip, fatherless from a young age and counseled by a greedy, rapacious cleric, has more in common with Ferdinand than one would ever imagine in the early scenes of this initially romantic story. Juana carries a secret which occasionally lurks in her daily thoughts. Was her grandmother mad or did she become so after Isabella forced her into seclusion with only basic needs and services provided? Is there a family strain of madness or is this just more of the political machinations driving a constantly threatened monarchy? By the time Isabella is dying, Philip has matured into a King who will ride the see-saw of politics into what he perceives to be his best shot at expanding his Hapsburg kingdom and protecting it from attack by more powerful kingdoms. The second half of this riveting story is riddled with suspense as the once intense lovers, Philip and Juana, evolve into bitter enemies through a series of planned but stunning moves. Will Philip forge a new treaty of peace with France, Italy or Spain? Watch how Juana appears to compliantly follow her husband but tenaciously plans and implements her own confrontations and loyalties! Here is where the author truly excels, imagining and presenting a dramatic campaign for power in such a forceful and beguiling manner that the reader is totally unprepared for the conclusion. C. W. Gortner's physical descriptions of Spain, the Hapsburg empire and the other European lands through which Philip and Juana live and travel are beautiful, even gorgeous, like a lush painting come alive that the reader is privileged to enter. The reader also receives a fine sense of the politics and history of the time which immensely adds to the fascinating plot moving forward to a captivating end!! The Last Queen: A Novel is a superb, phenomenal read and should be on the top ten fiction bestsellers across the country! Here's to hoping C. W. Gortner will keep writing such masterful, literary historical fiction!!! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on April 23, 2008

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