Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective
Whilst I enjoyed Giles Tremlett's recent biography of Katherine of Aragon this book is the more interesting and really does offer a new perspective. I knew very little about the life of Juana Queen of Castile other than she was considered too insane to rule. This book gives a detailed account of her life and suggests that she was far from insane but was simply...
Published on 22 Jun. 2011 by Sean

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it says on the cover?
This is an interesting and well researched read, but I found it unequally weighted towards Katherine Of Aragon, whose story has been well told many times. I found the most evocative chapters those that dealt with the sisters' early lives in Spain, where I could almost smell and taste Granada. However, Juana and Spain somewhat disappear later, we are retold the familiar...
Published on 20 May 2012 by KAW


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it says on the cover?, 20 May 2012
This review is from: Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile (Paperback)
This is an interesting and well researched read, but I found it unequally weighted towards Katherine Of Aragon, whose story has been well told many times. I found the most evocative chapters those that dealt with the sisters' early lives in Spain, where I could almost smell and taste Granada. However, Juana and Spain somewhat disappear later, we are retold the familiar story of Katherine's divorce and then its almost oh by the way Juana is still shut up in Tordesillas. This is a disappointment, as I would like to have read what Fox's opinion on Juana's incarceration was and her excellent endnotes show that she had researched and read around this part of Juana's life. So all in all it read well but as a joint biography I don't think it worked.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective, 22 Jun. 2011
By 
Sean (Lancashire England) - See all my reviews
Whilst I enjoyed Giles Tremlett's recent biography of Katherine of Aragon this book is the more interesting and really does offer a new perspective. I knew very little about the life of Juana Queen of Castile other than she was considered too insane to rule. This book gives a detailed account of her life and suggests that she was far from insane but was simply manipulated by her husband and then her father King Ferdinand.

The more I read about Katherine of Aragon the less sympathetic a character I seem to find her. The book brings out well the extent to which she really was the true daughter of Queen Isabella and capable of manipulation herself. What I had also not appreciated was the lack of interest she seems to have shown in the fate of her sister Juana who was the rightful Spanish queen and that she really never seems to have questioned her sister's effective disappearance from public life. As the author points out how ironic she looked to her nephew Charles for justice and protection whilst he had been capable of imprisoning his own mother and taking her throne.

The book is well researched and will be enjoyed by anyone interested in the Tudor era. The author is to be commended for her ability to choose more unusual subjects from that era to study.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that brings to light just how powerless even royal women were..., 3 Aug. 2013
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile (Paperback)
Katherine of Aragorn's place in English history is well-known to everyone: Henry VIII's first repudiated bride, Queen of England for eighteen years, thrust aside in favour of Anne Boleyn, mother of 'Bloody Mary'. Her history is indelibly caught up in the history of England's break with Rome, the Reformation, the turn from Catholicism to Protestantism. Less well-known, in fact almost neglected, is her role as a Spanish princess, as an important part of a family dynasty that reached across Europe, daughter, sister, aunt to Kings and Queens.

Even less well-known is her sister Juana, known to history as 'Juana the Mad', the woman who was supposedly so besotted with her husband that she refused to bury him and kept his coffin with her always. History has done a real disservice to Juana, and this book deftly overturns many of the myths surrounding her, shining a truly disquieting light on her 'madness'. Juana, like her sister, was the victim of political forces and intrigues beyond her control, imprisoned and betrayed, again like Katherine, by those she should have been able to trust: her husband, her father and her son.

This is marvellously written history, a book I could hardly put down, despite the fact that at least a part of it was very familiar to me, a book that brings to light just how powerless even royal women were, and how little ties such as blood and marriage seemed to mean to a Renaissance prince. I would have liked a more balanced approach, as much about Juana as Katherine, but that is no criticism of the author, merely the historical sources available.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read!, 24 Mar. 2013
By 
K. J. Greenland "kevinthegerbil" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Books solely on Katherine of Aragon have been rare and on her sister Juana even rarer. Julia Fox has written a jolly nice read, in the popular style. What makes this book different from others is her take on Henry's divorce from Katherine, moving away from that popular style to encompass the analytical and the fact that Juana features albeit not equally which is more the fault of the history and not the author of course.

Fox compares both sisters to their mother Isabella. Katherine is portrayed as strong, her character being formed in those years between her two marriages. Fox declares that Juana was not mad but a victim of the machinations of her own family; firstly her mother, then husband, father and nephew for their own ends and ultimately at the expense of her mental reputation.

However, despite the popular style quite rightly having it's place in historical writing, Fox's writing style is not exciting enough to life it the heights of classic status. For this, look to Giles Tremlett's 'Catherine of Aragon - Henry's Spanish Queen' which is superbly written although of course it omits Juana's story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but surprisingly dull, 27 Jan. 2012
By 
Fren (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
I was looking forward to reading this but I found it rather slow and dull. The rearch is excellent but I was left feeling the people were two dimensional. I found the style of writing a bit annoying too, 'who would have thought..' and 'little did she imagine' seem to crop up far too often, to the point of irritation.

Frankly I was disappointed that such a fascinating period and interesting subjects should be so, well, boring
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book., 13 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile (Paperback)
This book is factual and very well researched but reads like a novel.
Therefore it is not only interesting but exciting. One feels that one is 'there' and observing all the drama of court life.
I like the way each chapter leaves one with a 'cliffhanger'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sisters, 27 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a truly great read and was fascinated throughout- a real page turner for those wishing to read the story behind the image of Katherine and Juana-just brilliant!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extensive and at times troubling look at the politics of Europe in the time of the Tudors, 11 July 2011
By 
EleanorB - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an extremely well written book. The illustrations fit well with the narrative. Both Katherine and Juana began life as two of the golden children of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and more importantly key matrimonial pawns in the great game of ever changing alliances that formed the basis of European politics in the era of Henrys 7th and 8th of England. Katherine's story is better known of the two, and Juana has been dogged down the centuries by tales of madness and instability. However real, or otherwise, in clinical terms her "insanity" was, her dreadful treatment at the hands of first her husband, then her father and then the son in whom she placed so much faith, would have driven anyone nuts. The poor woman spent decade after decade under house arrest to prevent her taking her rightful place as Queen of Castile, and at times was subjected to actual physical abuse by her "carers".

Katherine of Aragon was no less badly treated by her husband and her father-in-law, and one is left thanking heaven not to have been born royal in such times. Her tragic first marriage was followed by some halycon days as Henry the Eighth's first queen, but her status as failed brood mare for the Tudor dynasty overtook other feelings. Katherine's subsequent determination not to cave in to Henry's demands for divorce (and, he hoped, speedy remarriage to Anne Boleyn)was couragous if doomed, and the book does not gloss over the very real damage that she did to herself, her surviving daughter and the religion they both loved.

The men are universally ghastly. Henry the 7th, Henry the 8th, Ferdinand of Aragon, Philip the Fair and Emperor Charles the 5th were absolute monarchs: they had few checks or balances on their behaviour and operated in a male autocracy. Even so, at times, their individual and collective treatment of these two betrayed Spanish princesses deserves nothing but contempt. Charles promised help and support for his aunt, Katherine, whilst effectively imprisoning her sister to ensure his own power went unchallenged.

Both women's lives had lasting impact - Juana's successful motherhood ensured her bloodline flowed through European royalty for generations, while Katherine's stubborn refusal to be set aside, turned the established Church in England upside down and set the scene for bloody religious conflicts. Both were routinely separated from their children; another example of the casual cruelty meted out to these high born but ultimately powerless women. It is a superb book, and fully examines the tragedy of the sister queens.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 12 Sept. 2012
By 
I looked forward to learning more about the life of Juana, her shared childhood with Katherine, and how her treatment at the hands of the men she loved destroyed any hopes of her reigning as Queen of a united Spain. Unfortunately this book taught me nothing new. Admittedly not much is known about the life of this tragic woman but the few facts that are available to the writer have not been woven into anything resembling a three dimensional woman.

Much is known and understood about Katherine but, even given the wealth of information available, I still felt that Katherine was treated far too lightly. Whilst I appreciate the writer has done considerable research into her subjects, particularly in regard to clothing worn by Royal persons, I really did not feel that there was any warmth to her writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Blessings' of History, 2 Jan. 2012
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
To the world, the daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were blessed in every respect. Both princesses were destined to be queens: Katherine, to be Queen of England (married first to the Tudor prince, Arthur, and then to Henry VIII), and Juana, to be, first, Archduchess of Burgundy and Flanders, and then Queen of Castile and Aragon in her own right. Fortune, however, was unkind to Katherine, whom Henry divorced, and even unkinder to Juana, against whom both father and husband conspired to prevent her from coming into her rightful inheritance. As a result, History has left their reputations sullied in the minds of posterity, Katherine, being remembered as a scorned and bitter woman, and Juana, as being demented.

In a narrative that is as readable as it is compelling, Julia Fox investigates the politics that shaped the unhappy lives of these sister-queens, both of whom were sacrificed on the altar of marriage in the name of political ambition and expediency. An extensive bibliography demonstrates the extent of the historian's research. I must say that I found "Sister Queens" to be one of the best examples of the genre of 'popular' history, which is very likely not only to whet one's interest but also to inspire one to learn more about the subject.

A thoroughly fascinating read!

Reviewed for Vine; Amazon.com
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile
Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox (Paperback - 26 April 2012)
£9.98
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews