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Friday, June 15, 2012

Guest Post by C.W. Gortner

I am excited today to welcome C.W. Gortner to The Maiden's Court today!  His newest book, The Queen's Vow, released just a couple of days ago and I have to tell you - it's an awesome read.  Check out my review here.  Stay tuned at the end for a giveaway of the book and embroidered purse.  Read on, my friends!

Isabella of Castile: An Embattled Princess 

Guest Post by C. W. Gortner, author of
The Queen's Vow

When most of us think of Isabella of Castile, we tend to see the staid image of her later years—the somber, driven queen characterized by extreme piety. This image is partly true and partly the result of subsequent praise and criticism heaped on her by historians.

It cannot be denied that religion had a defining role in Isabella’s life. Like most of her fellow sovereigns in Europe, she was Catholic and believed Catholicism was the only true faith. And in her later years, as she endured personal tragedy, she turned increasingly for solace in her faith. But she had once been young and vibrant; and while doing intensive research into her tumultuous rise to the throne for my new novel, The Queen’s Vow, to my delight I discovered an Isabella we rarely see— a passionate princess, who overcame significant odds to be queen.

Though it may seem impossible in hindsight, at the time no one believed Isabella was destined for greatness. Her father King Juan died when she was a child; as the daughter of a royal widow, she and her younger brother were sent from court to reside in the stony isolation of Arévalo, a castle set in a rural area that was also impoverished. Isabella was educated, but it was rudimentary, designed to prepare her for marriage. She did not benefit from the breadth of opportunities that other Renaissance princesses would enjoy; indeed, she was not even taught Latin, the language of international diplomacy, and it was a handicap that she so regretted later as queen, she determined to remedy it.

Yet she possessed something innate that could not be taught: intelligence and a keen sense of her own self. These qualities served her in the stead of a broad education, as she discovered when she was thrust into danger while still in her teens, after being summoned to her half brother King Enrique’s licentious court. At court, depravity was a way of life. Enrique’s vivacious queen, Juana of Portugal, was almost certainly adulterous and set on corrupting young Isabella, who posed a threat to her own daughter. Isabella withstood numerous assaults on her honor with admirable stoicism; even when accused of treason, she did not waver in defense of her stance. We tend to forget she was only sixteen when she confronted that maelstrom of intrigue that might have cost her her life. It is undeniable testament to her integrity that she managed to overcome a situation that would have undone a lesser princess.

Isabella truly displayed her strength of character when she became heiress of Castile. Surrounded by opportunists, each seeking an advantage, she stood alone at a treacherous crossroads, where she could have taken a step in any direction but the right one, leading to her downfall. No queen had successfully ruled Castile for long; no one at the time, save perhaps Isabella herself, believed a queen could. She had few trusted friends to turn to for advice, and none had political standing. Without formal training as a future ruler, at eighteen years of age, Isabella might have done any number of things to put herself in jeopardy; instead, she alone devised a solution that displayed astonishing maturity, one that would maintain her prestige and attempt to resolve the civil war that had devastated Castile. Her decision would cost her later, but she never regretted it. For Isabella, the right way was almost always more important than the easy one.

The story of this embattled princess who was unexpectedly propelled to the throne is fraught with peril, intrigue, and twists of fate that no writer could make up; it is a story of resiliency and indomitable pride, of a woman who was determined to rule with greatness and ended up transforming the world. It is also a story that has rarely been told.

I sincerely hope you enjoy The Queen’s Vow.

Thank you for spending this time with me. To find out more about me and my books, please visit me at: www.cwgortner.com

You can follow the rest of the blog tour at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours or on twitter with the following hashtag: #QueensVowVirtualTour

Now for the giveaway.  I have one copy of The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner up for grabs along with a beautiful embroidered purse.  It is open to residents of the USA and Canada.  The last day to enter the giveaway is June 30th.

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today on my tour and for your terrific review. It's always a delight to visit The Maiden's Court on tour. I hope your readers enjoy The Queen's Vow and best of luck to everyone with the giveaway!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! We love having you here and I so enjoyed this book!

  2. Thank you for the interview and chance to win this book. I am looking forward to reading this.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  3. I really enjoyed learning about Isabella in The Queen's Vow. I didn't realize the troubles she had endure before becoming queen. Her rise to power was truly remarkable. I'll definitely be recommending this book to others.

    1. I didn't know anything at all about her early life and she was fascinating to learn about. She really had to overcome some major adversities.

  4. Wonderful post! Like most people whenever I think of Queen Isabella I have a picture of a dour, pinch faced older women. Almost bitter. I just started reading your novel and now that image has changed. She had so many difficulties to overcome! She was probably so tired at the end of her life. And then to think what happens after she passes...she probably rolled over in her grave!

    1. Oh I can just imagine her rolling over in her grave!

  5. I really loved this guest post....she's so well known for all the bad things...I think its great that we get to see another side of her.

    1. I always enjoy it when the author trying to debunk all the stories and myth that have built up over time to get to the heart of the real person.


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