Author: C.W. Gortner
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 12th 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Arranged Tour
Description: No one believed I was destined for greatness. So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world. 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.
I Give This ...
I know very little about Queen Isabella. I know she's the one who funded Christopher Columbus's infamous voyage. And I know a little about the Spanish Inquisition. But, outside of that I have no idea about the woman behind the crown and how she came into power.
It must have been terrifying at times to live in the manor that Isabella did in her childhood years. A royal princess basically banished and living in poverty. It's interesting to read how her half-brother treated them. He must have known he wasn't a very good king to keep Isabella and her brother so far from court. He feared an uprising to place either one of them on the throne (mainly her brother at first). I admired Isabella for not only surviving this trying to time, but she honestly seem to come out of it an upstanding young women.
She held strong to her convictions despite that fact that there were so many that wanted to manipulate her. She felt she was the rightful Queen even though her brother had a daughter (even if he was not her father). She positioned herself so that the people wanted her to rule. She aligned herself with the country Aragon by marrying the heir. Even before she became Queen, she carried herself like she may one day rule. It was interesting to watch her grow throughout all this because she honestly believed in the beginning that she would never rule. But, as truth became reality, she did what she had to do.
One of things that has always fascinated me about Queen's Elizabeth I was that she was a woman ruling in a man's world. After this book, I now feel the same way about Queen Isabella. She may have been married to King Fernando, but she alone had the right to make decision when it came to Castile. There were so many that tried to brush her off because she was a woman. She didn't' let the men around her control her. I think she honestly made decision based on what she felt was for the good of her country. It's unfortunate that she's remembered for things that I don't think we fully understand.
This is the first book I've read by this author. Historical fiction can be hard to write when you're trying to stick to what is none and adding what is not. I was impressed with this book, and I'll be adding C.W. Gortner to my list of historical fiction authors!