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Download Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile, by Julia Fox Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (751 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Fox Narrator: Rosalyn Landor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The history books have cast Katherine of Aragon, the first queen of King Henry VIII of England, as the ultimate symbol of the Betrayed Woman, cruelly tossed aside in favor of her husband’s seductive mistress, Anne Boleyn. Katherine’s sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, is portrayed as “Juana the Mad,” whose erratic behavior included keeping her beloved late husband’s coffin beside her for years. But historian Julia Fox, whose previous work painted an unprecedented portrait of Jane Boleyn, Anne’s sister, offers deeper insight in this first dual biography of Katherine and Juana, the daughters of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella, whose family ties remained strong despite their separation. Looking through the lens of their Spanish origins, Fox reveals these queens as flesh-and-blood women—equipped with character, intelligence, and conviction—who are worthy historical figures in their own right. 

When they were young, Juana’s and Katherine’s futures appeared promising. They had secured politically advantageous marriages, but their dreams of love and power quickly dissolved, and the unions for which they’d spent their whole lives preparing were fraught with duplicity and betrayal. Juana, the elder sister, unexpectedly became Spain’s sovereign, but her authority was continually usurped, first by her husband and later by her son. Katherine, a young widow after the death of Prince Arthur of Wales, soon remarried his doting brother Henry and later became a key figure in a drama that altered England’s religious landscape. 

Ousted from the positions of power and influence they had been groomed for and separated from their children, Katherine and Juana each turned to their rich and abiding faith and deep personal belief in their family’s dynastic legacy to cope with their enduring hardships. Sister Queens is a gripping tale of love, duty, and sacrifice—a remarkable reflection on the conflict between ambition and loyalty during an age when the greatest sin, it seems, was to have been born a woman. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kirsti | 2/16/2014

    " Appealing dual biography of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile. According to the author, "Juana the Mad" very likely wasn't insane; instead, she suffered abuse and manipulation at the hands of her husband, her father, and then her son. And Henry VIII's wife Katherine was steadfast and virtuous, but she did tell lies sometimes when doing so helped her politically. The information on the attack she led on Scotland was especially interesting (her husband was fighting on another front at the time). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michelle | 2/4/2014

    " Loved this--well-researched, well-written, very enjoyable read. There was MUCH more on Katherine than on Juana, but that is understandable-there was undoubtedly much more material! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kathryn | 2/1/2014

    " I wish I could give this 2.5 stars. It read like a text book, so it was very slow and boring at times. The subject matter is fascinating, but it was just too slow to really enjoy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joan | 1/30/2014

    " I think the author wanted to show that these two women were able to be powerful in spite of their sex in a male dominated society. If so, she failed. It is clear that at least Katherine was quite intelligent and wanted to keep her position and power. However, ultimately, she failed completely. She was buried as the Princess Dowager, widow of King Henry's older brother, not as a current queen of England. I don't necessarily agree that Juana was as intelligent as the author wanted her to be. She essentially spent the majority of her adult years as a prisoner, although officially she was queen of Castile which she inherited from her mother, Isabella of Columbus fame (and main reason for the nightmarish Inquisition which likely ranked as close to the worst event throughout history for Jews until WWII). The author maintains that Juana was crazy like a fox and that it was a way of manipulating people around her. She makes a good case for this belief, but it doesn't support her ultimate theme that this was a successful tactic. She does make a solid case that both women loved their children to the point of hurting themselves to protect them. It was only after her mother's death that Mary gave up and admitted the reality that she was no longer had the royal status that she had at birth. Ironically, this defeat may have been one of the best things she did to eventually attain ultimate royal status as Queen of England. Juana likely could have gotten out of prison if she had gone along with an uprising but it would have hurt her children's status so she didn't. This book was interesting. I just didn't feel that she was able to make her case that these women were powerful figures in their own right. "

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