Skip to main content
PBS logo

Book Review of The Last Queen

The Last Queen
The Last Queen
Author: C. W. Gortner
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
I-F-Letty avatar reviewed on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I don't know why it took me so long to read this book it has been on my shelf for at least 2 years. I saw the accolades about C.W. Gortner The Last Queen. Several of my favorite authors had said it was a lovely book, beautifully written, about a Queen little known in the U.S. I just have to say that I didn't pick it up for a number of reasons. The main reason I just don't have much interest in the history of Spain. The second being that the time period the rise of the Tudors, hell the Tudors themselves have just been done to death and not always well.

So I was surprised just how much I like getting to know Juana, and her story is not a happy one. Any student of history knows no royal princess it seems had a life to envy. They were just another weapon in their family's royal arsenal. Juana was the third child of Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain, never expected to rule. She just hoped to find a husband that would value her and perhaps one she could find affection for.

The archduke Philip of Flanders was the man chosen for her, and at first she had found love, she felt that her husband valued her for herself. But Philip was a man of his time he was had mistresses and wanted power. He was after all the heir to the Holy Roman Empire, and unfortunately his father was in good health. He was ambitious and easily lead, and when Juana's brother Juan dies, as did her sister Isabella who dies in child birth. Her son lives but the baby soon dies, leaving Juana heir to Spain, Philip was not content to stand by and let Juana rule, leaving him as just her consort. Her parents didn't trust the Hapsburg's, and Philip is courted by the French just cemented their beliefs.

Juana is betrayed by everyone she loves and trusted, she is perhaps the most tragic figure of this great age of discovery.

Gortner's research took 6 years and that shows. He is a fine writer in that way good authors flesh out their characters. But I wanted more. 3 1/2 stars.