I didn't know this: Spain had a queen, daughter of Isabel and Ferdinand, called Juana la Loca (sister of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII) who never officially took the throne--she fell victim to the power-hungry men around her and was eventually locked away while her father ruled in her stead.
In The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner, she is finally given a voice in the form of historical fiction. Following in the footsteps of writing narratives of other little-known people who played important roles on the royal scene (Philippa Gregory comes to mind), Gortner creates a convincing story for this mysterious Spanish princess Juana.
Like Philippa Gregory's works, The Last Queen transported me to the setting--16th century Spain & Austria. I dreamed as though I were one of Juana's ladies. I didn't wake up feeling I should be dressed in silks or brocades or whatever the ladies wore, but instead I felt the distress and uncertainty of serving this woman who was used as a pawn all her life, often treated as a prisoner, and refused the right to her own inheritance.
Was Juana really mad? (There are indications of psychological issues in her family.) Or was she locked away as a woman getting in the way of men? Either way, this story has sparked my interest--I'll be trying to locate a biography, maybe the 1939 book on Gortner's list of references. Recommended to people who like historical fiction and/or are fascinated by stories of royalty. (The princess locked in the tower isn't a fairy tale.)
Thank you to C.W. Gortner for arranging to have me sent a review copy.