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The Last Queen

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A vivid historical romp to rival Philippa Gregory.

About the Author

C.W. Gortner is half-Spanish by birth and his formative years were spent in southern Spain, where his lifelong fascination with history began. After years of working as a fashion marketer and editor, C.W. returned to college to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing. He lives in Northern California with his partner of thirteen years and their Welsh Pembroke Corgi, and welcomes visitors at: www.cwgortner.com


Verdict: Well researched, passionately written, and thoroughly enjoyable, this historical novel adds to the popular genre of royal fiction. Recommended for all popular fiction collections. Background: As a young girl growing up in Spain, Juana of Castile was never expected to become queen. The daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand (and sister of Catherine of Aragon), she was married in a strategic alliance to the Hapsburg prince, Philip, Archduke of Flanders. Young and passionate, they had a happy marriage filled with love, children, and a vibrant court. But when Juana's family died out, she was left as the last living heir to the Spanish throne. Her husband, greedy for power, began a wicked struggle with Juana for the throne. As their marriage deteriorated, so allegedly did Juana's grip on reality. For centuries she has been called "Juana la Loca" (Juana the Mad), but Gortner (The Secret Lion) gives us a fresh take on an old story. His interpretation of events suggests that Juana was perfectly sane but the victim of an abusive marriage and an ambitious husband who would stop at nothing to rule Spain.--Anna Nelson, Naples Regional Lib., FL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told.' -- Publishers Weekly 20080425

The 1492 conquest of Granada makes for high adventure and royal intrigue in this second sparkling historical from Gortner (The Secret Lion). Spanish Princess Juana, 13, watches as her parents, King Fernando and Queen Isabel, unite Spain, vanquish Moors and marry their children off to foreign kingdoms for favorable alliances: Princess Catalina becomes first wife to Henry VIII; Princess Juana, who narrates, is shipped off to marry Philip of Flanders, heir to the Hapsburg Empire. Although Juana balks at leaving Spain for the north and a husband she has never met, their instant chemistry soon turns to love. Years and children later, Juana unexpectedly becomes next in line to the Spanish crown and must carefully navigate every step of the journey from Flanders to Spain, fearful of alienating husband or parents or both. Emotional and political tensions soar as Juana's loyalties are tested to their limits. Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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