The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile - C.W. Gortner This was my first time reading a C.W. Gortner book. He’s been recommended to me several times thanks to my Historical Fictionistas. This book came up in one of our polls, which provided me an excuse to put it at the top of my mountainous TBR pile.

Overall, I liked this book and I think Gortner is deserving of the praise he’s gotten in the group by my members. I liked that he tackled a time period and a country I hadn’t really read before or have seen many HF books about. I thought he provided a good overall presentation of Isabella’s reign. Although, I must say that at times it felt like Gortner tried to cover too much in one book. There were chapters where the time flew by so quickly I didn’t realize it was years later. Yet, there were times when I felt the story dragged a little, particularly around the middle chapters with the war.

I thought it was unique that this book was written by a man from the perspective of a woman. Other than the times Isabella wished she was a man I think Gortner captured Isabella’s personality well. The way he wrote Isabella with her progressive thoughts on literacy, women and education I don’t think she would’ve wish to be a man, but rather have been more independent and live in a society that was more progressive and equal. Other than that slight disagreement, I think Gortner gave Isabella a well rounded personality. So much so, that even when Isabella was approving of horrid directives, such as the Inquisition, I still liked her because Gortner showed what the method behind her madness was. For example, in regards to the Inquisition Isabella genuinely thought she was helping those poor souls. As a leader and someone who was raised Catholic and heavily influenced by priests I could see how she thought this. It takes a talented author to make a character that approves of such horrible things likeable and empathetic. I thought Gortner accomplished this well. I look forward to reading more of his books.