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.
From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.
“I have come to this land and I certainly do not intend to leave it to flee or shirk my work; nor shall I give such glory to my enemies or such pain to my subjects.” —ISABELLA I OF CASTILE
I love that opening quote. I think that it speaks volumes of her strength and personality.
The book begins with Isabel as a young girl, which is one of the things I liked. It didn’t start as her reign as Queen, it took me back to her younger years. It was nice to see how Isabel progressed from a young girl to a young lady and then the Queen.
Isabelle meets Fernando, the prince of Aragon after she is summoned to court by the King, her half-brother Enrique. There is war erupting and a constant struggle for power. Life for Isabella is hard, but she develops a strong will and when it is time for her to take the throne, along with her husband Fernando she proves that she is more than capable.
The characters were well developed and the descriptions of court life were very detailed and engaged. Isabella is a passionate, determined, and strong Queen. Under their rule she and Fernando create one of the most powerful, united, and strongest Kingdoms.
I remember learning about Queen Isabella of the Castile in school, but it wasn’t until I was a little older, that my love for history and historical fiction actually took root. I’ve always been intrigued by Isabella and Fernando and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book. It takes the reader father into her life than what I originally expected and I liked that. The writing pulled me in and the story flowed continuously. After reading The Queen’s Vow, I felt like Isabella is one of the most fascinating and controversial Queens of her time.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
**I received this book on behalf of HFV Book Tours and the Publisher/Author in exchange for nothing, but my honest opinion.**
About the Author
C.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Tudor Secret and The Queen's Vow. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall. Half-Spanish by birth, he lives in Northern California.