Well of course we all are.........aren't we? Well I'm aware I am and if you're not I'll just imagine you are! (LOL!)
So I happened upon the novel "Reign of Madness" by Lynn Cullen a few times and it caught my interest enough that I entered a Goodreads contest to win a copy. Luckily I won a copy and this past Wednesday I picked it up after watching "Elizabeth" the movie for the first time. It set up the mood for this book, very much so, as I saw lots of similarities between the two.
Reign of Madness is about the early life of Juana of Castile, otherwise later known as Juana the Mad. She was born into the royal family of Queen Isabel and King Fernando. She's far enough down in line to the throne that she is happy to become and archduke's wife. Her husband is known as Philippe the Handsome and their marriage starts out happy and full of love. But as her line to the throne grows shorter she encounters more and more problems within her marriage. Eventually her husband decides he would rather have control over lands and the accompanying titles rather than the happiness and love of his wife. Soon after he dies his lies live on to ruin Juana and leaves everyone believing she's gone mad with loss.
This story gripped me from the very first page and I stayed up all night until I finished the last page. To me that's the true sign of a great book, it can claim all-nighter status. The story is well written and was easily readable. Every now and then when you come across a historical tale like this the wording is usually hard on a reader, I had no trouble with that here. I also loved the author's take on the historical tale she had at hand. Often it's hard to piece together a historical person's life, but Juana's life and story were vibrant to me. Each chapter played out like scenes in a movie. I don't remember what was on TV or notice how fast the night got away from me while reading. This is no small book either, it is a novel through and through. 433 pages were read in about 9 hours, and worth absolutely every minute of it to me. I took a catnap after I finished and when I awoke I immediately went to the web looking for more information on Juana. I definitely recommend it to everyone!
(Image from Goodreads)