by Lynn Cullen
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: Aug 4, 2011
Source: sent by publisher and TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
From the author of The Creation of Eve comes a tale of love and madness, royal intrigue and marital betrayal, set during the Golden Age of Spain.
Juana of Castile, third child of the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Fernando, grows up with no hope of inheriting her parents' crowns, but as a princess knows her duty: to further her family's ambitions through marriage. Yet stories of courtly love, and of her parents' own legendary romance, surround her. When she weds the Duke of Burgundy, a young man so beautiful that he is known as Philippe the Handsome, she dares to hope that she might have both love and crowns. He is caring, charming, and attracted to her-seemingly a perfect husband.
But what begins like a fairy tale ends quite differently.
When Queen Isabel dies, the crowns of Spain unexpectedly pass down to Juana, leaving her husband and her father hungering for the throne. Rumors fly that the young Queen has gone mad, driven insane by possessiveness. Who is to be believed? The King, beloved by his subjects? Or the Queen, unseen and unknown by her people?
One of the greatest cautionary tales in Spanish history comes to life as Lynn Cullen explores the controversial reign of Juana of Castile-also known as Juana the Mad. Sweeping, page-turning, and wholly entertaining, Reign of Madness is historical fiction at its richly satisfying best.
This book chronicled a period in history and people that I previously knew very little about. I enjoyed the fascinating history lesson very much. In fact, the author's multi page author's note with detailed historical facts was one of my favorite parts of the book! The author writes history in such a way that it becomes very exciting, fast-paced, and relevant to today. I found myself searching for more information online, so I know I was hooked on this story.
However, the book was difficult for me to completely enjoy at times because of the abuse that Juana suffered at the hands of her husband. The reader has to endure the heroine being repeatedly emotionally and physically abused. I know you can't change history, but it was very hard to read. Philippe was one of the most downright evil characters I've read about for awhile.
I loved the character of Diego Colon (son of Christopher Columbus), how could you not?! At least Juana had one bright spot in her torturous life. Diego's gift to Juana was my favorite plot thread in the story. But you'll have to read it to find out what the gift was!
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Bottom Line: Juana's tale is not a happy one, but the history lesson is fascinating and one you're not likely to forget.
Putnam Publishing and TLC Book Tours have generously provided a copy of "Reign of Madness" for a lucky reader of my blog!
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