Manuel is a man of many talents; an art historian and professor, he is also an exquisite storyteller. When he meets 16-year-old Lucía on an outing from her boarding school, he offers to narrate a story of dire consequences—that of the Spanish Queen Juana of Castile and her legendary love for her husband, Philippe the Handsome.
Promised to Prince Philippe the Handsome to solidify ties between the Flemish and Spanish crowns, Queen Juana immediately fell in love with her betrothed with all the abandon and passion of her fiery personality. Theirs was one of the most tumultuous love stories of all time.
But Juana, who was also one of the most learned princesses of the Renaissance, was forced to pay a high price for being headstrong and daring to be herself. Those at court who could not fathom Juana as heir to the throne of the most important empire of its day conspired against her and began to question her sanity. Eventually she came to be known as Juana the Mad. But was she really insane, or just a victim of her impetuosity and unbridled passion?
As the novel unfolds, Lucía and Manuel become enmeshed in a complex psychological web that seduces and incites them to relive Juana and Philippe's story, and eventually leads them to a mysterious manuscript that may hold the key to Juana's alleged madness.
- HarperCollins, October 2009
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