From the author of The Creation of Eve, “an intoxicating tale of love, betrayal and redemption,”* comes a novel of passion 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. 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 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. Locked away in a palace and unseen by her people for the next forty-six years, Juana of Castile begins one of the most controversial reigns in Spanish history, one that earned her the title of Juana the Mad.
*The Washington Post
A Best of the South 2011 selection by Atlanta Journal Constitution
Juana of Castile, the third child of Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain, was an unlikely heir to the throne. As a carefree 14-year-old living in Barcelona, she has no hope of inheriting the crown over her older siblings. But in 1496, at 17, Juana is sent from her beloved country to the Netherlands, a land "cold and gray as Judas's tomb," when her parents arrange for her betrothal to Phillipe the Handsome. Phillipe is handsome, yes, but he is also cruel. He neglects, manipulates, and abuses Juana in the hopes of gaining her kingdom, going so far as to spread a rumor that she is mad. On a return to Spain, Juana reconnects with lost love Diego Colon, a man she desires far more than Phillipe, whose manipulations of her grow in intensity over time, and who even convinces Juana's father, Ferdinand, of her madness. When Queen Isabel dies, Juana finally becomes queen, but it is the men around her who truly rule. Cullen's male characters are colorfully chauvinist, none more so than Phillipe. Cullen's (The Creation of Eve) written an intimate look at a historical figure few will know (though fans of Tudor fiction will certainly be comfortable with the era), an alternately strong and infuriatingly weak woman who in real life was thought to be dangerously mad and was kept a prisoner in her own home.
Juana Reigns Supreme
A most intriguing story, I enjoyed it with great interest and could not put it down yet did not want to finish reading it and end my pleasure. It has made me more curious about the actual facts of Juana's life and thus I have continued reading about her. This is my second book by Lynn Cullen, the first was Mrs. Poe, another page turner that I enjoyed and shared with others. I plan to read all her books, she is an excellent story teller weaving together fact and fiction!