The book s topic was very appealing, though the writing and the portrayal of the characters was a bit simplistic I expected depth since it concerned court intrigue and the lives of the monarchy A good read for those interested in a general info on Spanish history during the 15th and 16th centuries. This final instalment of Jean Plaidy s Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy is set during the 1490s and opening years of the 1500s.As the title implies, this novel focuses on the Spanish sovereigns daughters, of which they had four, the most notable perhaps being Catalina, better known to me and my fellow Englanders as Catherine of Aragon Henry VIII s first wife.The story also features a son of Spain, plus one of Ferdinand s illegitimate boys.This is one of many historical novels that show how young women or to the point, young girls were treated as chess pieces, being married off to strangers to form political alliances to benefit their parents.Some of the Spanish daughters long for their betrothal, while Catalina dreads the day she is to be shipped to Tudor England, fearing never to see her beloved mother again.Parting with their children is hard for Isabella, whereas the money and power obsessed Ferdinand comes across as cold hearted, thinking of his own personal gains, and how marrying off his son and daughters will prove rewarding for Spain.Apart from the family aspects, this novel follows on from its prequel in regards of the religious fanaticism that was apparent during medieval times The persecution of the Jews and the Moors appears barbaric when reading about it today, yet many including the otherwise gentle and noble Isabella saw no wrong it torturing or burning people who didn t practise the Christian faith.Certain priests in power were the most ruthless of all, truly believing that their actions were justified, as this quote regarding the attitude of one of the most fanatical archbishops demonstrates And for those who had denied God the greatest torture man could devise was not bad enough If these people burned at the stake, it was but a foretaste of the punishment which God would give them What were twenty minutes at the stake compared with an eternity in Hell The author s decision to use an unbiased third person narrator was, in my mind, a good choice As the above quote demonstrates, the narration does not declare that the holy man s bigoted attitude is wrong, but rather it shows the reader that this is the case by stating the fanatic s feelings as though such horror was acceptable.On a lighter note, this following dialogue exchange between Queen Isabella and her daughters caused me some mild amusement Juana could not cease chattering Mother, what are the women like in Flanders They have golden hair, I hear most of them They are big women with great breasts Hush, hush said the Princess Isabella But, cried Juana, the Queen said there was to be no ceremony There never is ceremony when we are together thus That is so, my daughter, said the Queen But it is not seemly to discuss the size of the breasts of the women in your future husband s country As with the previous book, the author does a great job with Juana Queen Isabella s third child Juana suffers mental problems, which at times proves unnerving, but like with the above quote she s sometimes quite amusing Ms Plaidy has a gift of making all her main characters real and Juana is one of her best examples of this talent.Regarding the Isabella and Ferdinand trilogy on the whole, I must admit to being greatly impressed In short, they are tales of triumph and tragedy.I consider this novel to be slightly better than Book 2, but like Book 1 the most I rate them all 4 stars. With Spain Now United, Ferdinand Looked To His Daughters To Further His Ambitions All Too Often, Isabella Found Herself Torn Between His Brilliant Plans And Her Love For Her Children During The Last Years Of Isabella S Reign It Seemed There Was A Curse On The Royal House Which Struck At The Children Of The Sovereigns.Tragedy Followed Tragedy The Infanta Isabella, A Brokenhearted Widow Juana, Driven To Madness By Her Husband S Philandering And The Sorrow Of Parting With Young Catalina, Destined To Become Katharine Of Aragon, Wife To Henry VIII And Queen Of England The three books in this series Castile for Isabella, Spain for the Sovereigns and Daughters of Spain tell the romantic story of Isabella and Ferdinand whose joint reign was the foundation for the unification of Spain and the creation of Spain as a global force The book focuses on Isabella, who comes across as an indefatigable woman trying to do her best for her family and her country in a male dominated world These books are an easy read and a great pre holiday primer on a couple whose names and images will be found all over the country. I really enjoy reading Jean Plaidy, especially when the weather gets warmer Her books make excellent outdoor reading.This book chronicles the life of the children of Ferdinand and Isabella Even though the book is called Daughters of Spain , the royal son, Juan, is also included in the story So much tragedy happens in this book in such a short amount of time that one wonders how the royal family was able to perservere, especially Isabella, as the mother of these children Juana is by far the most interesting of the bunch, even though Katherine or Catalina tends to get the most attention in history.I would recommend this book to readers of historical fiction or others who want to delve into this area but may be intimidated Plaidy s writing is easy to follow, and she is accurate in her storytelling than some other historical fiction writers. Review I thought this book was incredibly good In my opinion, it could have done with beginning earlier, when Isabella Junior initially returned from Portugal, or before she went I think it was very clever the way Juana s illness was discussed through Isabella s eyes, rather than through Juana s or Philip s Another way the book could have been written was also through Ferdinand s eyes and doing a chapter from Isabella s point of view, then a chapter from Ferdinand s, but overall a very good novel Telling a story from the view of Isabella was a clever idea, and it thoroughly explores her possible emotions and motivations for her actions And it could have done with exploring of Maria, who is often not spoken about enough.Genre Historical DramaCharacters Katherine of Aragon Philip the Handsome Margaret of Austria Prince Juan Juana of Castile Isabella of Portugal Maria of Portugal Ferdinand II of Aragon Isabella I of CastileSetting SpainSeries N ARecommend YesRating 17 20 Spain in the 15th 16th century Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand are on the throne This book is the 3rd in the Spain series but I didn t feel I d missed out not reading the frist two as this is a story in its own right.The book centres on the 4 daughters and one son of the King and Queen, the most famous of these being Katherine of Aragon or Catalina as she was known in Spain It is also a time of huge unrest with Jews and Moors being expelled from the country I really enjoyed this book It was my first Plaidy and I found it very accessable and was a good introduction to this time and place that I didn t really know anything about It has certainly left me wanting to know. The best book in the trilogy Describes Isabella as a loving mother but suffering many tragedies with regards to her children Two of her children die and Juana goes mad, an illness inherited from Isabella s mother Ferdinand does not suffer emotionally whenever any of his children die as long as he has a child to replace it with Ferdinand is interested in material wealth. Jean Plaidy s series on Isabella is fairly traditional and different from the recently published historical fiction books She is not offering a revisionist, feminist, or jazzed up version of her characters It doesn t mean her characters are boring As the title suggests, the focus here is not so much on Isabella, but on the lives of her children We don t see Isabella as a ruler so much which was a bit disappointing to me we see her mostly as a caring mother I don t know how caring she truly was, but there is evidence from historians that she, indeed, was emotionally involved with her children Apparently, she was especially attached to Catalina, her youngest, evidenced by her reluctance to send to her to England earlier This fact is also mentioned by historians e.g., Trimlett , who produced biographies of Katherine of Aragon I found Juana s story particularly interesting Again, in her own interpretation, Plaidy is not making any novel claims she accepts that Juana was touched by elements of the same madness her grandmother reportedly had Today, Juana might perhaps be described as a spirited young woman, a rebel, and a non conformist however, whether she was truly mad or not would be difficult to prove Some of later actions, as reported in other sources, were at least puzzling There is little doubt that both Isabella and Ferdinand used their children for political advantage This was the norm for noble families and even important for royalty I guess I expected a bigger focus on Catalina, who becomes the first wife of Henry VIII, known better as Katherine of Aragon, but her character is not fleshed out She comes across as docile, very attached to her mother, and her own letters reveal this was truthful Katherine of Aragon, however, has later been described as a really stubborn woman, not just by her contemporaries of course, male chroniclers , but also by some modern day historians Her strength of character is missing in the novel Overall, like the other two of the series, this last novel was a highly enjoyable read. A rather bitty and disappointing conclusion to the Isabella of Castille trilogy This novel covers roughly the last ten years of Isabella s life and stops dead, leaving Ferdinand widowed, Juana back in Flanders and apparently alienated from her husband, the neglected Maria married in Portugal, Catalina a virgin widow in England and Spain at the mercy of Ximenes de Cisneros.