Juana, Infanta of Spain, is the third child and a daughter, never expected to inherit the Castilian Throne. Instead, an impressive marriage is made for her. Juana is sent to marry the dashing heir of the Hapsburg Empire, Phillip the Handsome. Their marriage is marked with passionate love and hate. Tragedy befalls the Spanish Catholic Majesties, with the deaths of Juana's brother, sister and nephew. Juana in turn is named heir to her mother's throne. To complete her mother's wishes she returns to Spain, relishing in returning to her homeland. After learning the Castilian Ways, Juana returns to her husband to find him duplicitous in both love and power. After her mother's passing, Juana must fight her husband for her title and right to wear the crown. She turns to her adored father, hoping that he will support her. Ferdinand breaks her trust, forming an uneasy alliance with Phillip. Using Juana's past anger, they declare that Juana is unstable, and therefore unable to rule. Trying to combat this tactic, Juana fights on. After Phillip's sudden death, Juana thinks the battle is over. Her battle for her freedom and crown are just beginning.
This is a wonderful story of one woman's struggle for her rights and crown, chronicling the life of the ill-fated queen from her younger years to her death. While I knew a little about "Juana La Loca", Gortner introduces the reader to a Juana far different that that found in the pages of history. I was amazed at her tenacity, standing up to her husband, his mistresses, the French Monarch, her mother's corrupt advisers and even her adored father. I hated the way that the men in her life used her reactions to situations, as well as her gender to deny her the throne and her freedom. Terribly used and ruled by her husband, father and son, Juana's life was full of hardships and sadness. The Last Queen perfectly captures the Queen and Woman that Juana was. I highly recommend this book to loves of historical fiction and those who just want a good read. Gortner doesn't disappoint!!
This book was a library read.