Source: Amazon Vine
Publication Date: 12 June 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
The author on the web:
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: No one believed I was destined for greatness.
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I first discovered C.W. Gortner in 2008 when I read his book, The Last Queen (my review), and I loved his writing style and learning about Juana of Castile. Juana was the daughter of Isabella, who is the subject of The Queen’s Vow, that most famous Spanish queen who united a country and sent her youngest daughter to marry an English prince. You get glimpses of Isabella in Juana’s story and so I was really looking forward to see how Gortner portrayed her in this book.
I thought that the start of The Queen’s Vow was a little slow and I struggled to get through some of Isabella’s early years. As with most women in her time she was pretty powerless and had to cope with the hand that fate dealt her. Where this book found its stride for me was when Isabella started to gain more power. I also really enjoyed the section that detailed the relationship of her and Fernado…I’m just a sappy romantic at heart and loved Gortner’s portrayal of them. I know that much is probably fictionalized but I found it to be realistic and a times a little sad.
I also liked how Gortner is able to give the historical facts of the time and not have it be a dry info dump. At least most of the time as there were a few sections, mostly in the beginning, where my eyes got a little glazed over. For the most part though, Gortner makes everything relevant and as a reader you become invested in the characters and the struggles they are going through.
The Queen’s Vow often reads as a memoir written by Isabella and there are times where it feels like you are sitting across from her in conversation as she tells you her story. I enjoyed getting immersed in 15th century Spain and often found myself checking out histories and information on the internet as I read as I’ve always been a huge history nerd. Gortner is a really good story teller and I recommend his books for all those who enjoy historical fiction.