Saturday 3 December 2011

Review: The Last Queen - C.W.Gortner

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 400
Published: 2009
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: I made the library get it

In this stunning novel, C. W. Gortner brings to life Juana of Castile, the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, who would become the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne. Along the way, Gortner takes the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England.

Born amid her parents’ ruthless struggle to unify and strengthen their kingdom, Juana, at the age of sixteen, is sent to wed Philip, heir to the Habsburg Empire. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her dashing young husband, and at first she is content with her children and her married life. But when tragedy strikes and she becomes heir to 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, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it costs her everything.

My thoughts;
It's hard to grade this one, for my personal enjoyment it gets a lesser grade cos I felt so sad, but as for the writing and story it gets a higher grade. Because it was really good in the end.

Juana la Loca as she is known as did not have an easy life. Married at 16 to a handsome prince she was happy, for a while. But that love turned as he wanted her kingdom. He treated her badly, and declared her insane. Well if my man gave all my things to his whore then I would jump her too. If she was insane is the question, sure they had it in the family, but the way she was treated could only have made it worse. And it is also said at the end that it really showed long after when her last child was taken from her and she was left all alone. So no she did not have a happy life, first screwed over by her husband and then by her father. The book ends with her being locked away. She was a woman ruled by men.

It did make me think a bit, her mother was strong and ruled her kingdom, she went to war and knew her mind. Perhaps poor Juana was not as strong, because I do not think her mother would have tolerated being handled like that.

Still it is a fascinating story, Juana's life, for a few years, and the quest of who will rule what is Spain. Being heir to kingdoms was certainly not easy. And Gortner writes the story so well, I really feel for Juana, and the things that did happen he explains so well. What she might have thought right then.

Because of this it is a book I recommend, and I do confess that plenty of times while reading I thought to myself how much men suck. Bastards!



My flash, a day late, have mercy M


  1. I've heard such good things about this author's books. Love your conclusion :)

  2. I've actually read this book as well! I agree it was well written but not a happy story. Fascintaing how close the difference between strong women who stand out and those that get labelled as mad. Agree with everythingb you said! :-)

  3. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but I've heard Gortner is one of the best at writing it.

  4. Blodeuedd, the terror of librarians! :)

  5. Mary
    The author is certainly good :) You really should give the books a try

    What a time, poor women, well poor women in any time. But yes strong or mad, it all depended on who said what.

    Then you should try his writing :D

    Hihi, I know ;)

  6. Your conclusion cracked me up! ;)

  7. This does sound like a good, juicy story.
    'Well if my man gave all my things to his whore then I would jump her too'<-lol...wouldnt we all? yes.

  8. That last bit about men being bastards cracked me up.

  9. Oh, decent, ten bastards and twenty somewhere in the middle. I would just like to say it's "Juana la Loca" not "de Loca". Loca means crazy, mad. Living la vida you remember that song from Shrek I?

  10. I haven't had the chance to read this one yet- it is on my shelf - but I have loved the other books by this author. Thanks for the review!

  11. Terror of Librarians, Queen of Hotness, your titles are growing longer and longer, my lady!

  12. I absolutely loved this! Such a sad story but the book was good. I'm looking forward on Gortner's book about Isabella.

  13. Super great book I read the book a few week ago and I love the book , the story is superb......:)

  14. It's so hard to rate a book really well when it breaks your heart, but you reviewed it brilliantly. Great job :)

  15. This does sound like a good book but I'm not up for anything sad right now so I'll probably have to wait a while to read it.

  16. Love the cover, but not sure about reading the book. So sad.

  17. Ana
    Oh evil you noticing things like that ;) And truthfully, I have no idea why I put a de there? Makes no sense, I mixed a bunch of things together. Perhaps I thought about the and then made it different, lol

    Terror of Librarians, I like it mouwhahahahah

  18. CE Hart
    Lol, I am glad ;)

    True that! And cos she did it that ass said she was crazy, well i would have kicked that bitch to kingdom come. Ok, maybe hit her once.

    Hihi, I am glad to hear that. I am getting my groove back

    If you have liked his other books then I am sure you will enjoy this one too, because it is very good.

  19. Elysium
    Oh, I did not know that! I totally want to read that book.

    It sure was good, he is an excellent writer

    Thanks, good to hear :) It was so good, but my heat just ached for her, and the aftertext killed me.


    That's life :/

  20. Some stories are wonderful, even though they are sadder than heck. This sounds like a pretty good read. Great review!

  21. Sounds like a sad story to me since she was treated so badly. I don't see myself reading this one for that reason as I would get angry and frusterated when reading it.

  22. Carole
    Sadder then hell indeed, but good still :) Poor woman, I am glad he just mentioned one thing in the aftertext cos that was even sadder

    I didn't get angry, mostly sad, maybe because I knew I could do nothing

  23. Carrie
    It did get sad in the end :(

  24. Bastards! LOL I need to read it just because you said that. :D Seriously, I so need to put this one my wishlist now!

  25. Well crap I was getting pissed off at those bastard men just reading your review! This would have been a wall banger for me! This is why I stick to romance I'm always guaranteed a happy ending! :)

  26. Gah! That is a really horrible way to be treated. Bad enough to be treated terribly by your hubs, but by your father, too. I would have gone insane. :(

  27. Melissa
    Lol, I am glad the word bastard made you want to read this book ;) Because it is good, and yes filled with bastards

    They were, arghhhh *hitting dead guys* So very bad.
    Yes that is sure why romance is good, a nice HEA and not a depressing end to a life.

    And so she did, poor thing. So sad, poor Juana

  28. This is the one of Gortner's books that I haven't read yet but I want to! I read a book on Juana earlier this year although the name of it escapes me right now. Anyhow I find her life interesting so I'm looking forward to this one.

  29. It sounds interesting but sad and I'm not in the mood for sad right now. Great review.

  30. Darlene
    I did see a book about Juana around this year, and I do remember you reading the one I am thinking about so I think I know

    I know the feeling

  31. This was a favourite read of mine last year, brilliantly written story, but poor Juana was treated so badly by many of the men in her life :(

  32. Teddy
    That poor poor woman *sighs* I sure had a urge to kick a man after reading this book

  33. I really did like this book. It is so well-written and, I think, as true to history as it can get. Yeah, it's sad, but that doesn't make it a lesser book.

    The Musings of ALMYBNENR

  34. Alm
    It sure does not make it a lesser book, so good, even the sad parts



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