The Last Queen: A Novel - C.W. Gortner

I've been a fan of C.W. Gortner's work for a few years now. His research is always impeccable, and his prose is rich.

This book is no exception.

"The Last Queen" is the story of "Juana the Mad," the last queen of Castile. Her parents, Ferdinand and Isabella, are getting older and they arrange a marriage for Juana with Philip of Flanders ... who is handsome and profligate. The marriage is tempestuous, to say the least.

Juana's story is a sad one, as it seems apparent that her "madness" may have been largely created in order to discredit her, although she does exhibit some behaviors that would indicate bipolar disorder.

Gortner's story is sympathetic, but also a challenge as we read about the difficulties encountered by even the highest-ranking women during Juan's time.

Highly detailed, beautifully researched ... but not a "fun" read.