Review and Giveaway! "Reign of Madness"

"Reign of Madness"
 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

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.

My Review:

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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 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!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
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  • US and Canada only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by the publisher
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Mon Aug 8
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

More Tour Stops Here:


  1. GFC follower

  2. Thanks for the review and giveaway! Like you, I know very little about this part of history (or Spanish history in general), which is why I would love to win a copy of this book.


    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  3. Nice review, Carrie! I've had this on my wishlist for a while now, so please enter me in the giveaway. I am a follower!


    Thanks to you for the giveaway!

  4. I've read some history about Spain and Portugal but I never came across this story. Sounds really good! I'd love to read this! Thanks! I'm a follower


  5. Thanks for sharing your views on this book! Though it's not a happy story exactly, but it seems like a good read to get to know some historical events and such. Count me in for the giveaway!

    GFC follower


  6. Oooh, this book looks awesome! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

  7. I also know almost nothing about this part of history-- I'm the ancient history expert, but I know absolutely zip about Spanish royalty! I'm glad there is a bright spot or two in this not-so-happy story. Thanks for the chance to win. :)

  8. Fantastic review! I really enjoyed the author's previous book, and can't wait to read this one. I can understand that reading about the abuse might have been very difficult for you. Thanks for the review!

  9. Love the cover, and while it sounds like parts of the story are difficult to read, its always great when you can get a history lesson while reading. Please count me in for this one. kittycrochettwo at msn dot com

  10. You have me interested! I'm not a huge historical fan, but I enjoyed your review. I know I'll have a hard time with the abuse, but will enjoy my imagination at kicking the husband's arse. ;)

    books (Dot) things (at) yahoo (Dot) com

  11. This looks fascinating.

    headlessfowl at gmail dot com

  12. I'd like to read it, and evil if Philip was evil I would still like to know handsome he really was to get a name like that

  13. I enjoyed your review, Carrie! I loved writing about Juana because I found her to be strong and smart, and not just her husband's victim, as the traditional Spanish legend would have people believe. I feel that she won, in her way, in the end.

    You might be interested in this article I wrote about the famous pearl associated with the Spanish court. As you know this pearl is important to the story.

    Thank you for your lovely review and thank you, everyone, for your interesting comments!

    Happy reading!
    Lynn Cullen

  14. Thank you so much for stopping by, Lynn! I will definitely read the article, I would love to know more!!

  15. I follow via gfc (mamabunny13)
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  16. tweet!/mamabunny13/status/95918489960845312
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  17. This book sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner).

  18. I don't know much about this time and place in history either, but I love historical fiction. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy, and also thank you for the warning about how abusive Phillippe was. It kind of makes me want to learn more about Juana's story.
    I follow with GFC.
    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  19. Thanks for this review - this is the first I have read on this book. I read and reviewed her previous book, Creation of Eve, and enjoyed it. I have not read anything about Juana even though I have the Gortner book on my shelf.

    I would loved to be entered - I am a follower.


  20. I can't say I know anything about Spanish history, but I think I'd rather skip her sad story. Great review. I admire authors who take the time to be historically accurate.

    Happy reading,

  21. I'm quite interested in the history lesson. Fab review. Thanks for the giveaway!


  22. Interesting review. Phillipe sounds despicable but the book sounds great! Thanks so much for being on the tour.

  23. I am a follower...please include me.

    Thank you!
    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  24. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  25. gfc follower

  26. gfc follower as Under the Covers

    Thanks for the chance to win. I'm in a historical mood.

    alltherhage AT gmail DOT com

  27. Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. sounds like a great story! thanks for the review and the giveaway!
    gfc Kyrsta

  29. Awesome giveaway

    jennlovesed14 at gmail


  30. Count me in! This sounds like a really good book:)
    GFC follower
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  31. Sounds like a good book,
    GFC follower Coreena McBurnie
    coreenamcburnie at gmail dot com

  32. I've never heard of Juana of Castile but the review has left me curious!
    I do follow via GFC as Luvdaylilies=)
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net


Thanks so much for your lovely comments!