The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner
The author states in the Afterword that it 'consumed nearly six years of writing and research which shows how much effort this life took...
A LOT happened it Juana's life. Daughter of Isabelle Queen of Castile and her consort King of Aragon who united Spain under one rule, Infanta of Castile, Archduchess of Burgundy through her marriage to Philip of Burgundy then assigned a strategical role of supporting Spain's interests in the north.
After her oldest brother, heir to Spain's dual parts, and then her older sister's death in childbirth, married to the King of Portugal, she was the next in line but already with 2 children and an ambitious, easy-influenced husband. Hence, she was the Queen regnant of Aragon and Castille.
But betrayed by her husband she was imprisoned till he could find a way to claim the throne and power to himself till he died suddenly. Then, she came to trust her father who in turn betrayed her as well and she ended up locked up in a castle with no connection to the outside world. Both traitors claimed she was mad, hence the title Juana La Loca.
A devastating tale of a woman who learned courage and patience the hard way. Even if its a novel based on historical facts the aftermath of such pain and mistrust is heartbreaking. A woman who took up all of her responsibilities and burdens with no question. I do not believe she was mad indeed. Any woman in her torments would evolve to an insane person with only half of it.
I don't know if its the story of Juana or the way it was written but what was left with me is her surrow and disapointment in the people she trusted, while in the book she did not complain even once. Also there is no hint of revenge towards them but just regret.
it is sad...
But in the meantime I had to compare it to 'The Constant Princess' by Phillipa Gregory which I read a couple of years ago. It was about Catalina of Aragon, Juanna's little sister and her struggle in marrying Henry the VII of England... Juanna did encounter her and she was portraied as a lovestruck chica who wanted Henry for love while Gregory showed a level headed woman aiming to her goal no matter what. Eventhough she went through her own misfortunes till she reached her goal and then was cast aside in the end for the Boleyin girls she left me more of a strong character in mind and a feeling of respect and power in even the chance to getting to know her!while with Juanna I felt her sadness and injustice first hand, yes that's it!I was closer to Juanna than Catalina. But Catalina did suffer more in the idea of having no one to rely and no hope at all while Juanna suffered imprisoment and denial of her royal rights. Each is hell on its own accord but Catalina will always be my favorite:)