Review: The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner

Rating: 5/5

Juana of Castile's life began amidst war, in between Spain's battle with the Moors, and her beginning would prove to be just as stormy as the rest of her life. 

Born to the incomparable Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Juana is the third child and second daughter.  She is raised on the battlefield with arrows flying overhead and witnesses the fall of Granada in her youth.

When the matter of marriage to Philip of Hapsburg is raised, Juana is not happy at all to have to leave Spain and her family.  However, being a good little Princess and understanding how important this is to the country she so loves, she acquiesces herself to the match.  Bringing her new husband Philip to the true religion, Catholicism, is her ultimate goal.

 Juana of Castile & Philip the Handsome

With the death of her brother, Juan, the heir to the crown and her sister and nephew, Juana is now next in line.  A fact that pleases Philip and his rat of an advisor, Besancon, to no end.  The tenderness and love Juana and Philip found at the start of their marriage turns sour as the scheming for the throne begins in earnest and poor Juana is caught in the middle of another war - this time between her parents and her husband.  Philip scheming for a way to be named heir and her parents adamantly refusing it.  Years of this craziness rage on...power struggle after power struggle, drama after drama.  Nothing is what it seems and the duplicity is rampant.  (Sounds like a lot of Courts we've read of huh!)

Think all this sounds great?  I haven't even covered the craziest part....her 46 year imprisonment by not only one but three family members - her husband, her father and her son!  And we should also touch on the supposed insanity of Juana, after all she was known as "Mad Juana".  C.W. handled this perfectly I felt.  To me it's the same old male attitude that still exists today - if a woman stands up for herself, she's labeled a "bitch".  A bunch of men who didn't want to be ruled by a another woman decides to just call her crazy and try to lock her up.  The reader sees it for what it is - complete fabrication.  Yeah, she was emotional,  but goodness after you read what she went through who can blame her?!  Not I, not Amy!


The Last Queen is the perfect historical fiction novel and I highly recommend it to amateurs and veterans alike.  I actually think this would be a GREAT book for someone starting out in historical fiction.  Juana is a remarkable woman, fearless and strong and I think it takes a likewise remarkable person to write her story - so thank you C.W., how you write women so well I'll never know, but please don't stop!! 

Click here to read my interview with C.W. about The Last Queen!

C.W.'s website | C.W.'s Blog:  Historical Boys


  1. Oh gosh, I'm so relieved that you loved this one! It's sitting on my shelf practically BEGGING me to read it! Yay! Thank you for such a great review, m'dear.

  2. Don't worry my friend, you'll love it! It's a good novel to get lost in...say like when you have hours on your hands to sit around =)

  3. Great review Amy; means another one TBR for me...I'm swarmed! Thanks:)

  4. Nice review. I need to read this book but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  5. I also loved this book Amy...I didn't even hear of Juana of Castile before reading this.

  6. Fabulous review Amy, I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

  7. Hello,

    I've just given your blog an award. Please vist my blog Just Jennifer Reading to claim it!

  8. Great review! This sounds like an amazing book :)

  9. Another great review of this book. I really, really want to read this one. Glad you liked it so much.

  10. Super review as always. I must add this the ol pile. Sigh. You are sooo totally responsible for my financial ruin.

  11. Brilliant review girlie!
    Poor Juana, another woman that men just couldn't handle.

  12. I loved this book as well. Great review.

  13. I went to Borders AGAIN yesterday to get this book, and AGAIN they didn't have it. Looks like I'm going to have to order it online. It's had such rave reviews, can't wait to read it!

  14. Very interesting story! No wonder she turned mad, with such relations.

  15. Great review - I can't wait to read the book!


  16. I have this on my TBR list, but it is always nice to read a glowing review from another big historical fiction fan. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!


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