“Disturbing royal secrets and court manipulations wickedly twist this enthralling story, brilliantly told.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
A story about a woman buried in depths of male-dominated history.
Juana of Castile should have been remembered for the trials she went through and the queen she could have become, yet many aren’t even aware that she existed.
The second daughter of the battle-seasoned couple of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, sister to Katherine of Aragon who was the first wife of England’s Henry VIII, Juana was never meant to rule. She was brought up to make a good political marriage that could benefit a battered Spain that was just picking itself up after the ravages of the wars her parents successfully waged on the Moors.
Which she did. She married the Philip the Handsome, heir to the Hapsburg empire. And to her misfortune, fell madly in love with him. Meanwhile, her family back in Spain had to come to terms with the sudden losses of her brother, the heir apparent to the throne of a united Spain, her elder sister and her nephew.
Juana was suddenly the heir to the throne of Castile, a fact that brought joy to her husband, who was chafing under the strong thumb of his father. He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to rule in his own name, despite having no Spanish blood and the fact that the clannish Spanish would never accept him.
After the death of her indomitable mother, Juana travelled back to Spain to take up her crown. However, she was a woman among a pack of power-hungry men. Men she trusted implicitly, men who betrayed her. But with Isabella’s blood running strongly in her veins, she fought for her throne. She endured accusations of insanity which would ultimately be her doom as she came to be remembered as Juana La Loca.
This was a book based on a lot of fact, despite the fact that history has never been kind to women by filling the annals with their details as much as their male counterparts. And Juana never kept any personal diaries of her own. Yet, the narrative draws you in from the first page and the story moves well as you journey with Juana. It gives a compassionate perspective to a woman who is remembered for all the wrong reasons, if she is remembered at all.
Added 29th October 2020