Friday, July 20, 2012

The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner

"No one believed I was destined for 
So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.

 C.W. Gortner has a way of writing that not only grabs hold of you, but you can feel the emotions in his characters.  I noticed this more so in The Last Queen (which I LOVED and one of these days will write a review for it).   One can't help feel what Isabella was going through, the scenes were easy to visualize and the story flowed right along.  I know very little about Spanish history, other than what I can remember from grade 6 history, which went along the like of 'in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue'.  This book opened my eyes to the mother of Katherine of Aragon and Juana.  I read The Last Queen first (since it is about Isabella's daughter Juana), but I wish that I had read this one first, it was hard going into this book with an opinion of Fernando that wasn't all that nice. This book did soften my feelings for him somewhat.

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