The Queen’s Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile

Written by C.W. Gortner
Review by Troy Reed

Bestselling author C.W. Gortner’s latest novel examines the life of Isabella of Castile, one of the most famous women in history. Fifteenth-century Spain is fraught with danger and is an unstable place, and Isabella seemed to be destined to a quiet life until a devastating turn of events thrust her into the spotlight.

After their father, the king, dies, Isabella and her younger brother, Alfonso, live with their mother away from court. Her half-brother, Enrique, ascends to the throne and proves to be an incompetent ruler. Isabella and her brother are taken from their mother and sent to court so that Enrique and his queen can supervise the siblings. Isabella is accused of treason and is taken captive by King Enrique. During the course of her confinement, she has very few people she can trust, but Isabella draws on her own inner strength. At the age of seventeen, she becomes heiress to the Kingdom of Castile. Isabella turns to the one person who has always been in her heart, her true love, Prince Fernando of Aragon. The two marry against the orders of King Enrique and therefore immediately place themselves in danger. The two face their tragedies and triumphs together as rulers as they strive to make Spain a better place.

Isabella is most often remembered as the queen who financed Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the Americas, but in this vivid novel, Gortner reveals that she is much more than this. She is an inspiring young woman who bravely faced the turmoil that surrounded her and managed to hold on to her crown. Her resolve and courage helped her face the numerous problems in her realm as she and Fernando began to unite Spain. Gortner has again produced a richly detailed book that is hard to put down.