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Summary

In 1474, a 23-year-old woman ascended the throne of Castile, the largest and strongest kingdom in Spain. Ahead of her lay the considerable challenge not only of being a young female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world but also of reforming a major European kingdom that was riddled with crime, corruption, and violent political factionism. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon was crucial to her success, bringing together as it did two kingdoms, but it was a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Her pivotal reign was long and transformative, uniting Spain and setting the stage for its golden era of global dominance. For by the time of her death in 1504, Isabella had laid the foundations not just of modern Spain but of one of the world's greatest empires.

Acclaimed historian Giles Tremlett chronicles the life of Isabella of Castile as she led her country out of the murky middle ages and harnessed the newest ideas and tools of the early Renaissance to turn her ill-disciplined, quarrelsome nation into a sharper, modern state with a powerful, clear-minded, and ambitious monarch at its centre. With authority, insight and flair, he relates the story of this legendary, if controversial, first initiate in a small club of great European queens that includes Elizabeth I of England, Russia's Catherine the Great, and Britain's Queen Victoria.

©2017 Giles Tremlett (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book, very good narration!

History made interesting. I love the way the book is written and hope there is another book to come soon from this fantastic author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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emotional narrator

Hated the young woman narrator who puts too much stress and emotion into nearly every sentence.

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Blood curdling horror

What did you like best about Isabella of Castile? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the historic value of this book. I did not enjoy the seemingly extended section on Christopher Columbus and the author's attempts to make Isabella of Castile a sympathetic character.

Would you recommend Isabella of Castile to your friends? Why or why not?

No. The ethnic cleansing, slavery and the Spanish Inquisition would turn most stomach's

What about Karen Cass’s performance did you like?

Very clearly spoken. She did not hiss her s's or make audible gasps when inhaling. Those sounds can ruin an audible book.

Could you see Isabella of Castile being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

The extreme violence would have to be turned down a great deal and thereby not giving a true portrait of this woman.

Any additional comments?

I didn't read all the blurb for this audio book and wish I had done so now. This book is blood curdling in its horror against tens of thousands of people.

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An extraordinary life and complicated legacy

Assessing Isabella and her impact on history in the context of modern sensibilities is not easy. This history does not shy away from the difficult - often horrifying - issues. It is fascinating and engrossing. She was truly formidable. Karen Cass's precise diction suits the text well, I thought.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Super weird narration

I was really looking forward to hearing this book as it's a subject I'm interested in, however the narrator's strange speech rhythm was so distracting I had to keep turning it off. She paused in strange places and puts emphasis on odd words. Annoying. Have my finished it and wished I'd got it on kindle books.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 07-03-17

Enlightening

In 1474 the twenty-three-year-old Isabella of Castle (1451-1504) ascended to the throne of Castle, the largest and strongest kingdom in Spain. She was a young female ruler in a male-dominated world, and she held her own. She set about reforming a corrupt, crime ridden kingdom but one with violent political fractions to caused her problems. She also set about converting the Jews and Moors to Christianity and was responsible for the Inquisition. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon united the two kingdoms. Ferdinand was weak, so Isabella was the dominance force of the partnership. She united Spain and set the stage for its golden dominance. She died in 1504 after creating one of the world’s greatest Empires. The book is full of famous people from her priest, Cardinal Valentia (Rodrigo Borgia) who became Pope Alexander VI, to Christopher Columbus. Her children were married for political alliances. The oldest daughter married Manuel I and became the Queen of Portugal. Juana married Philip I of the Habsburgs and Juan married Margaret of Austria. The most famous of her daughters was Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Giles Tremlett, well known historian, chronicles Isabella’s life. Tremlett describes how she led her country out of the middle ages harnessing the newest ideas and tools of the renaissance. She led her quarrelsome nation into a powerful kingdom. Tremlett provides insights into the story of a contradictory and controversial Queen. The author brings to life this extraordinary monarch and the turbulent 15th century Spain. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The book is about 20 hours long. Karen Cass does an excellent job narrating the book. Cass is a British actress trained in the theatre and is also an audiobook narrator.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful