HFVT Presents: The Queens's Vow

Title:  The Queen's Vow
Author:  C.W. Gortner
Format:  Print

Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Ballantine Books
Paperback; 416p
ISBN-13: 9780345523976 

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 queensthe 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 sed uced 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.  -Author Provided Synopsis

My Thoughts
The first word that comes to mind when trying to put the experience that is The Queen's Vow into words is lush.  C.W. Gortner spares not one syllable in what proves to be a must luxuriant literary feast for the senses.
Isabella's story is never rushed, but is instead allowed to bloom slowly as it's audience looks on.  First, only revealing the struggles of her early life.
Then, slowly but surely allowing glimpses of her life at court, her love for Fernando, and her tumultuous fight to rule.
The author manages to spend just enough time on each facet of her life to make the reader feel as if they and Isabella are old friends; without drowning said reader in a superfluous minutia of detail.

The bounty of story and character goodness is not limited to our queen.  Each of the supporting characters in this saga is allowed to cast his or her own unique flavor into play.

This book is the one to recommend to those who are new to the genre of Historical Fiction, as well as the seasoned veteran.

This is also a very welcome change from the English court.

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.Y
ou can find more information on C.W. Gortner's website and blog.  You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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