The Queen's Vow PDF/EPUB ✓ The Queen's eBook
This was an engrossing and educational read about the reign of Isabella I of Castile, a bodacious female monarch who made her indelible mark on Spanish history The timeline of the story stretched from 1464 when she was 13 and an infante, 2nd in line to the throne to 1492 when she reached her 41st year.Her early life before her coronation in 1474 was mostly spent as a captive in the Palace of Segovia, entrusted to the care of her half brother King Enrique VI, whose consort gave birth to an alleged bastard daughter Joanna King Enrique seemed to vacillate between allowing and disallowing this daughter to have a claim to the throne Meanwhile Isabella s full brother Alfonso decided to fight for his own right by rising up in arms against the King, but was subsequently poisoned to death During all this tumult, Isabella met the love of her life, Fernando II of Aragon, who sowed in her the idea of a unified Spain, bringing Castile and Aragon under their joint rule After many twists and turns, the lovers were married, and Isabella was crowned Queen of Castile in 1474 upon the death of King Enrique She was portrayed in those budding years as cool headed, witty, patient and above all, devoted to a fault to her Catholic faith.Almost immediately after their wedding, Isabella, together with her husband and co ruler, plunged into years of wars against neighboring Portugal because Joanna sought Portugal s help in trying to reclaim the Castilian throne and against the Muslim Moors in Andalucia because the Catholic monarchs vowed on unifying Spain under one single faith All these wars ended in victory for the Spanish monarchs It should be noted that Andalucia had become a refuge for many Jewish conversos, or New Christians, who had been coerced to convert to Catholic faith.In 1483, on the persistent urge of the Dominican friar Tomas de Torquemada, Isabella and Fernando decided to establish a State Council for Inquisition to enforce Catholic orthodoxy and to persecute those conversos who continued to practice Judaism covertly In 1492, the Spanish monarchs issued the Alhambra Decree ordering the expulsion of all Jews who refused to convert to the Catholic faith Whether the true underlying reason for the Inquisition and Expulsion was for financial gains from confiscating Jewish assets and property, or for quelling rising social discord between Catholics and Jews, or for the sake of political expediency, it remained a debate for historians But it was an undeniable fact that Isabella, for all her humane and rational disposition, did put her signatures on those draconian and dogmatic edicts whether or not under her husband s influence , which led to massive sufferings and decimation of lives True, though, she was not the first European monarch or the last to pursue an anti Jewish policy.In 1492, Isabella also agreed to finance Cristobal Colon s Christopher Columbus groundbreaking voyage to the New World.In the Afterword , the author made this remark Isabella defied categorization with her heroism and contradictions awesome in her resolve to forge a united nation, she was often misguided in her devotion to her faith, which gave rise to that infamous system of persecution known as the Spanish Inquisition It s interesting to note that in Castile, a princess was allowed to succeed as the reigning monarch, whereas in Aragon, the Salic law prevailed to prohibit all royal females from inheriting the throne Gortner exhibits his talent in story telling as well as his keen sense for cultural details in this riveting biographical historical novel I m giving it 4 full stars. Isabel apenas uma adolescente quando a for am a tornar se uma pe numa conspira o para destronar o seu meio irm o, o rei Henrique Acusada de trai o e posta cativa, aos dezassete anos v se subitamente coroada rainha de Castela, o maior reino de EspanhaMergulhada num conflito mortal para manter o trono, est determinada a casar se com o nico homem que ama, mas que lhe proibido Fernando, pr ncipe de Arag o Quando decidem unir os reinos de ambos sob o lema uma s coroa, um s pa s, uma s f , Isabel e Fernando deparam se com uma Espanha empobrecida e cercada por inimigosCom um grande interesse pela descoberta do desconhecido, deixa se apaixonar pela vis o de um enigm tico navegador chamado ColomboMas quando os mouros do reino de Granada declaram guerra, tem lugar uma violenta e terr vel batalha contra um antigo advers rio, que ir testar toda a determina o, a coragem e a cren a tenaz que Isabel tem no seu destino I ve not been looking forward to rating this one I am a big fan of Gortner I have pre ordered his last 3 books and The Last Queen is one of my hands down favorites The only way I can peg what went wrong with this one, was simply too much detail Gortner s other books have always moved and been page turners This one was lacking that It just felt flat I felt I could skim 5 pages and didn t miss much In his other reads we felt for the characters and cheered them on Even the evil Catherine de Medici He has always had a way of making his readers feel they were right there in the story In this one Isabella and Fernando led a heck of a life The are mostly known for eliminating the Jews and Moors from Spain Gortner tells you their side of the story It starts with Isabella s childhood The first half of the book was about her bother Alfonso and the civil war between him and their half brother Enrique Then in the second part Isabella herself takes the lead and continues to fight for the crown I never felt emotionally attached to anyone The war scenes were non existent fans of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici remember being on the edge of our seats during the massacre of St Bartholomew Or when Juana in The Last Queen walked into the French Court and defied the king What a memorable scene I didn t feel that passion with this one A character list should have been provided for readers, since there were many characters We experience her wedding to Fernando and we see how they come together Castile and Aragon to fight together for Spain and the church Please read this for yourself and make your own opinion I simply can t falsify a review, even for one of my favorites I m still awaiting and excited about his next book about Lucrezia Borgia. Where I got the book ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.This is a worthy novel by a popular writer, and yet somehow it leaves me flat I suspect I m not the right reader for this book for one thing, I am rather tired of histfic about the crowned heads of Europe, even if primed by The Tudors and Wolf Hall I was receptive to learning some about the mother of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII s first of many I d much rather read about an ordinary guy or gal for a change.First, what was good Gortner s prose is polished he kept the huge cast of characters straight in my mind without throwing in obvious identifiers as a less skilled writer would I felt I learned something about 15th century Spain, and it was clear that the subject had been well researched The story spanned several years without jarring jumps forward or backward , and I have no quibbles with the writing or the editing in general.So why aren t I excited I would say reason 1 is that I simply never grew to like any of the characters, even Isabella for whom Gortner obviously has a great deal of sympathy There was a tiny moment, when Isabella and Fernando first met, that I liked them both, but it didn t last I felt flat, as if I knew who were the goodies and who were the baddies because Gortner told me so, but I never really felt either their goodness or their badness And nobody really seemed to grow All those years, and they seemed the same at the end of the novel as at the beginning, with a few lines, sags and gray hairs in their descriptions Perhaps this was due to Isabella s voice, which was fluid and unvarying, so very rational and blameless and ironed out Very like Philippa Gregory with the quirks of writing and the magical bits removed, and guess what I found I missed the very things that irritate me about PG It strikes me that all these novels about royal women suffer from the same problem, which is that said women were very often far from where the action was taking place Isabella was constantly waiting for Fernando to return from war, writing letters and doing administrative stuff it s true, but all the REALLY interesting events were happening offstage while Isabella popped out babies and worried about money Perhaps it s time we started writing about the royal men rather than the women, but I think there s a prevailing fear that women readers most histfic readers I suspect won t identify with a male protagonist I thought the ending was a little odd, too The story just seems to grind to a halt, with an attempt at reconciling past and present view spoiler through Christopher Columbus, who pops up in a rather deus ex machina way although historically accurate I m sure, given the date we d reached to remind Isabella that nobody had thought she d do anything much with her life either hide spoiler Another magnificent release by C.W Gortner He excels at bringing the indomitable Queen Isabella of Castile to life in this gripping and unputdownable novel Highly recommended Read This Review More Like It On My Blog 4.5 out of 5 The Queen s Vow is a great first introduction to a well known and well recommended historical fiction author I ve heard and seen C.W Gortner s name bandied about frequently as one of the best for compelling, researched and still original novels and every claim is only reinforced by my reading experience with this novel about Castile s complicated and dramatic queen Without condescension or annoying repetition, this mostly factual story of 15th century hotbed of war, religious strife and rebellion in what is now known as simply Spain, is riveting from start to finish once The Queen s Vow, and the formidable Isabella, hit their stride, it is nearly impossible to put down Told with an even pace and a clear voice, this four hundred page, multi part novel pretty much guaranteed that I will be reading by this author, and soon In a genre that can often seem quite overbloated with English and French situated books, this exploration into the fertile and sunbaked lands of Spain is a welcome and exciting change.The most remarkable aspect of the entire endeavor is the main character of Isabella herself With the advantage of perspective and history on our side, it s clear that the infanta of Castile is a woman of complicated nature someone that is sadly often naive in her religious judgments, but one who is conversely amazingly progressive in terms of women s education and rights see her intransigence on the rights of her daughters Castile s and her own sovereignty from Aragon Ferdinand until an heir is born C.W Gortner is a skilled writer that somehow manages to paint a fully realized and wholly fallible version of the renowned and reviled monarch while still rendering the final character likeable and authentic in her determined role and behaviors Accepting both good and bad facets of her personality and her reign, The Queen s Vow offers up possible reasons for the cruel decisions Isabella made for her realm without diverging too far from the roadmap of history It s easy to both root for Isabella in her desperate times and to curse at her when she is so easily manipulated Carrillo, Enrique, Torquemada, even Ferdinand Throughout all her trials and even her mishaps, it cannot be denied that this Isabella has life and is never boring to read.It s a credit to both the author and the novel itself that because Isabella is a historical figure largely ignored on her own noteworthy merits maaaybe vaguely known to the general populace because of the connection Christopher Columbus her story here is completely fresh and engaging Unlike the Tudors Borgias, who have been done over and over with varying degrees of success , this view into the overlooked Trastamara royal family is happily unreminiscent of any other historical fiction I ve read The tertiary characters are a bit hard to keep track of initially due to my lack of experience with this setting, but the author eases the reader comfortably into the Castile he has reimagined The endless wars and battles, the required Court intrigue, the drama all were evenly and uniformly handled in The Queen s Vow Despite the fact that war was pretty much the normal state of being for Isabella and her husband, the novel is careful to mix the battles between many other historical events so as not to sacrifice the principles characterization or plot advancement Time easily speeds by while turning the pages for the real world as well as the pacing of the book The novel can breeze over years at a time with a sentence, which didn t bother me so much as streamline the narrative of a real person The Queen s Vow is a going to a hit with historical fiction lovers There s a lot to love the sweet but imperfect marriage between the Catholic Monarchs , the tried and true lure of Court intrigue and betrayal The novel terminates before the end of Isabella s life, leaving it somewhat open ended in regards to the main character, if not the final conflict If you re looking for a well written and engaging novel with a strong, fallible character, look no further. After my semi rant about there not being enough fiction about Isabella, I was ecstatic when I saw this book A story from a notable historical fiction author about a woman and her husband who, in a highly patriarchical age, made Spain from to Yes, please As this is my first time reading fiction on Isabella, I have to say I m impressed at the author s research into the time period He certainly isn t shy about weaving abundant historical commentary into the narrative, and his treatment of the time period seemed well rounded, if not a little cautious Plot Summary The book narrates Isabella s life from her time as an disenfranchised and impoverished princess, up to the birth of her last child Second in line to a heavily disputed throne, the most Isabella could hope for was that her mother and her heir brother could provide some stability for her future This changes when Isabella and her brother are called to court by their half brother, the current king Though Isabella tries to distance herself from the corruption and intrigues of court, that proves impossible when whispers of the illegitimacy of the king s heir drives a wedge between the king and her family Then, when her brother dies, Isabella finds herself thrust as the new queen of Castile and the realm Reactions At the epicenter of a tumultuous era, Isabella provides a perfect insider s perspective of the inner workings of the time As well as gaining top level political insights, I expected to feel Isabella s inner turmoil, her love of her state and her king, her doubts and her strengths But while I found the political and historical narrative to be strong, the portrayal of Isabella as an actual living, breathing, hot blooded young woman was very lacking Isabella seemed too distant and too above the political corruption and discord of the Spanish court I can partially understand why the author portrayed her thus Isabella does not attract the controversy of colorful women such as Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette, and is instead cast as a the pillar of moral rectitude, regardless of her age and experience Unfortunately, this makes her character in the book rather boring The only times I saw Isabella as a real person, rather than an untouchable figurehead, was her dealing with Fernando, and since the couple spent most of their time separated with their numerous campaigns, those scenes were not as frequent as I would have liked I also don t like how the author didn t dirty Isabella s hands in any of her political dealings He glazed over Isabella s role in the Inquisition Rather than delving into Isabella s motivations and beliefs, the author was very cautious and assigned most of the responsibility of the persecution and expulsion of Jews on Torquemada and Fernando Overall, the book was a good introduction to Spanish politics during Fernando and Isabella s reign However, rather than a complex, ambitious, and far seeing monarch, this book s Isabella seemed like an empty vessel, a conduit through we which were able to explore medieval Spain 3 solid stars and recommended for people who want an introduction to Medieval Spain. Find this and other reviews at consider myself a historic fiction reader It is my primary stomping ground and the genre I feel I am most competent reviewing and yet, for some inexplicable reason it took me nine years to pick up and read anything by C.W Gortner How did I manage such as oversight you ask I have not the slightest idea, but I will say, having read both The Queen s Vow and The Tudor Conspiracy within weeks of one another, that Gortner has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors and a staple of my personal library Now despite my having written and released my reviews in the reverse order, I actually read The Queen s Vow before The Tudor Conspiracy, a chance decision that gave me what is apparently a unique view of Gortner s work Older fans seem to have mixed feelings about this piece and while I completely respect their opinions, I think they might be selling Gortner just a bit short Yes, the pacing of this novel does not rival his other works and there is an incredible amount of detail within these pages, but from what I understand the scope of those stories depend on movement and tension while that of this book is much subtle, the incredible detail necessary to the telling Perhaps it is just me, but I believe comparing the two is rather like debating apples and oranges The Queen s Vow is at its core a fictional exploration of a woman who has been defined by the unfortunate results of her political policies Scholars tend to judge Isabella of Castile in hindsight, recognizing and often reviling her for those decisions that led to the persecution of thousands under the Spanish Inquisition as well as the decimation of native populations in both North and South America What Gortner is asking his readers in The Queen s Vow is if this assessment is fair Should we really judge this woman by the outcome of her declarations or should we consider instead the intent and context in which they were made On the surface it makes for less intense reading, but I personally believe there is much to be said for a book that makes you reconsider the way you think of and view history Those who appreciate Tudor lit will find additional merit in this piece as it gives readers insight into the much maligned Catherine of Aragon Her faithful devotion to Catholicism is legendary, as is the love she bore her husband and the passion with which she fought for the recognition of her rights as England s Queen and those of her daughter Mary as heir to her father s throne Admittedly this is the only fiction I ve read on Catherine s mother, but I really liked the parallels, intentional or otherwise, emphasized in Gortner s work By illustrating Isabella s journey, the hurdles she overcame to take her crown and rule in her own right, to marry a man of her own choosing for love rather than political gain, to ensure the stability of her realm through the sincere veneration of the Catholic faith one would have to be blind not see how such conviction, ambition and determination might mold a daughter born to the woman Gortner paints in The Queen s Vow Tantalizingly provocative and thought provoking, I found The Queen s Vow an intensely enjoyable read An eloquent, if fictional, testament to the legacy of one of history s most controversial queens. I could not put this book down As he did with Juana of Castile in The Last Queen, Gortner has once again taken a historical queen and made her as interesting and exciting as any modern day heroine It s interesting to me how little I knew of Isabella of Spain one who was so instrumental in allowing Columbus to open the way for the future settlement of what would become America Of course, that is what we were taught when I was in elementary school so many years ago The implications of what came after Columbus s discovery is entirely another story And yes, this is a fictional depiction of a historical figure, but there is no denying the historical accuracy here Gortner does his research well.Isabella rose to power in a tumultuous time in Spain To say that she was a steadfast and determined woman is saying little The conventions of the time did not allow a princess to choose their own husband and yet she did Spurred by her own will and her strong Catholic faith, Isabella was a force to be reckoned with Her marriage to a prince of Aragon was a love match, yes, but also a strategic move for the uniting of Spain Together they brought about the change of many conventions in Spain.However, her reign was not without its blemishes The Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews are two events that have brought much negativity to history s portrayal of Isabella However, Gortner has succeeded in depicting a possible reason for her decisions by giving us a multifaceted woman who believed in compassion and yet was driven by a faith that had no tolerance for other religions To truly judge a person s actions, we would need to know about the real person and yet we must rely on the history books Gortner has done a good job of giving us a very human woman who truly felt her actions were for the good of her kingdom.I have now been inspired to read about the history of Spain and its ruling class Once again, historical fiction has done its very important job that of leading us to further learning about history Something only a well written book can do This is that book.Note There is an excellent author s note at the end of the book with further resources for reading about Isabella and her times Also, a special note about a cause dear to my heart The plight of Spanish greyhounds Be sure to check it out. This book should be subtitled Isabella Tells You All About Her Reign, because that is what Gortner does TELLS you what happened The narrative is full of passive description we did this, we did that, the reason for this was, the reason for that was I could skip paragraphs and never really miss anything The first rule a fiction writer learns is show, don t tell When Gortner did show action, as in the early part of the novel dealing with Isabella s brother Alfonso and her half brother Enrique, the story was fast paced and interesting But after that, it s just a long long trudge through the first person ugh narrative with Isabella telling the reader what happened And oh, the overdramatic dialogue and strange metaphors For example p 141 for the royal blood in my veins, which was unsullied by the taint of adultery It is to roll the eyes Curiously, Spanish names are used instead of the English version, except for Isabella, which is the English version of Isabel Ferdinand becomes Fernando, Columbus is Colon, etc I may have needed a history book after all to keep them all straight.