Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: "The Queen's Vow" by C.W. Gortner

From Goodreads:  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.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for honest review.  I have always had this love/hate relationship with Isabella of Castile.  I think she was an amazing woman but the whole Inquisition situation really bothered me.  This book made me think about her in a completely different way.  Gortner portrays as an extremely intelligent person who made very well-thought out decisisions.  Gortner's Isabella was not sure as to whether or not she was in favor of the Inquistion as she did not want to foment rebellion in her kingdom.  Now I don't know if Gortner's portrayal of her is accurate but it definitely made me think twice about looking at Isabella with a black and white mindset. 

For the most part, I really enjoyed this story.  It was neat to follow Isabella as she fought for control of Castile and worked to cement her power.  Gortner did a great job of showing the reader Isabella as the warrior queen as well as the loving wife and mother.  I felt bad for her character in that she had to deal with an extremely self-centered husband.  He didn't seem to be able to deal well with the fact that she was queen in her own right and the constant stroking of his ego kind of got annoying.  This story also had some great side characters.  Isabella's confidante, Beatriz, was a really feisty female character who added a lot to the story and to Isabella's character. I also felt like the story kind of faltered toward the end.  It seemed really rushed like the author wanted to hurry up and finish the story.  I understand that it would have been extremely difficult to write a book about Isabella from childhood to her death but the story just stopped around the time Isabella was patronizing Christopher Columbus.  Otherwise, I thought this was a very unique look at Isabella.  I definitely want to read more of Gortner's work.  4 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book but I am with you, I was disappointed at the end. I would have liked the book to continue until Isabella's death. I wanted to read the whole story.


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