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Helen's 2013 books

Use this section to record the books you read in 2013. One thread per member, please.
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Helen_Davis

Helen's 2013 books

Post by Helen_Davis » Wed February 13th, 2013, 4:34 pm

I've read quite a few this year I'm pleased with, but none are new.

Sappho's Leap
Inside the Walls of Troy
and currently going through The Queen's Vow

I must say I am very pleased with CW Gortner's interpretation of Isabella. I can relate much more to this Isabella than Loft's Isabella in Crown of Aloes or the Isabel in the YA Royal Diary Jewel of Castilla. I have not read Crown of Aloes for a few years, but the Royal Diary made Isabel sound whiny and irritable, which is very inaccurate IMO. Meyer also glosses over the Inquisition by having Isabel have a converso friend. Isabel was certainly not the monster some modern people have made her out to be, but I still cannot see her befriending a converso.

I'm about a third of the way through The Queen's Vow and I cannot get enough. CW Gortner really has a feel for the time period and the heroine and his afterward(I'll admit it, I cheat and read the afterward first) is well written, although since I'm loving the book so far, I'm disappointed he didn't cover Isabel's life from 1492 until her death.

I'm in Part II now, about her early marriage to Fernando. Seeing this through Isabel's eyes is interesting. I believe it was a love match too and if Fernando was the way he was in this novel, I don't blame her for loving him! :D The first part was well done, and I appreciated the glimpse into Isabel's mother's sad life.

More to come. Don't pass this one up!

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Fri February 15th, 2013, 4:06 pm

Finished The Queen's Vow last night. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars since I felt some parts were a little rushed and I felt Gortner rushing to finish at the end. I also would have appreciated more insight into Isabel's relationship with Torquemada since he was a sort of mentor to her, but he barely appears in the book. I am also disappointed Isabel's last twelve years were not covered as I would have preferred to see them through her eyes and not her daughter's. But I finished this book in less than 72 hours and am looking for something just as good now. I have quite a few on my self-- some by Rosalind Miles, Moran's novel about Napoleon's second wife and Song of the Nile. I'm debating which to start tonight.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3556
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri February 15th, 2013, 6:17 pm

Helen, Isabel had plenty of Converso friends-- and Jewish friends too. You have to view her actions in light of her very sincere beliefs. We may consider it bizarre now, but like most of her contemporaries Isabella was convinced that if a person was baptized, even by force, it moved their eternal destiny to purgatory and safeguarded them from a hell which was very present and horrible in everybody's mind. (Remember that back then, everybody had many more close relatives, friends and acquaintances who were dead than living, and they knew that they themselves could die at any minute.)
So by forcing the issue with the Jews, she felt she was doing the very best she could for those subjects. She felt guilty that practicality kept her from similarly 'saving' the souls of her newly acquired Muslim subjects.

If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of what was happening, compare the writings of Torquemada and Ximenes Cisneros with those of Isabella's confessor, who gave up that post to be the first Bishop of Granada, Fray Hernando Talavera. Talavera was not convinced that shoving someone into a baptismal fount would do anything meaningful for their soul, and his actions were, as a result, intended to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
Not surprisingly, he died under investigation by the Inquisition. He kept them out of Granada for several years, but I think he would have served everyone better to remain as the royal confessor, instead of turning the job over to Cisneros.

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Fri February 15th, 2013, 11:16 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Helen, Isabel had plenty of Converso friends-- and Jewish friends too. You have to view her actions in light of her very sincere beliefs. We may consider it bizarre now, but like most of her contemporaries Isabella was convinced that if a person was baptized, even by force, it moved their eternal destiny to purgatory and safeguarded them from a hell which was very present and horrible in everybody's mind. (Remember that back then, everybody had many more close relatives, friends and acquaintances who were dead than living, and they knew that they themselves could die at any minute.)
So by forcing the issue with the Jews, she felt she was doing the very best she could for those subjects. She felt guilty that practicality kept her from similarly 'saving' the souls of her newly acquired Muslim subjects.

If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of what was happening, compare the writings of Torquemada and Ximenes Cisneros with those of Isabella's confessor, who gave up that post to be the first Bishop of Granada, Fray Hernando Talavera. Talavera was not convinced that shoving someone into a baptismal fount would do anything meaningful for their soul, and his actions were, as a result, intended to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
Not surprisingly, he died under investigation by the Inquisition. He kept them out of Granada for several years, but I think he would have served everyone better to remain as the royal confessor, instead of turning the job over to Cisneros.[/quote]
I did not know that Isabel had converso friends, I apologize. I understand that she thought what she did was right, but it doesn't mean I have to like or approve of it as I am certain many people in 500 years will not approve of our actions. I'm sorry to sound harsh, but it's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I don't know as much about this era of history as I do some others such as the ancient world. I have never seen the writings of those other men and did not actually hear of Talavera until you mentioned him. I will look him up.
Last edited by Helen_Davis on Fri February 15th, 2013, 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Mon February 25th, 2013, 3:33 pm

Just finished Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Quite haunting and has lost none of its charm over the years.

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