Author: Carolyn Meyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Royal Diaries
By now I'm sure you've guessed it: I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, and The Royal Diaries series is one of my all-time favorites. I've been reading them since I was 14, and it doesn't look like I'll be stopping any time soon!
Isabel, Jewel of Castilla is the fictional diary of future-queen Isabel of Spain, the woman who would play such a vital role in sending Christopher Columbus on his epic journey of discovery.
I haven't read much about the history of Spain, so this book offered some great insight into this corner of the Renaissance world.
The plot of the story itself was intriguing and enjoyable as well. Though far from being 'gripping' or action-packed (the journal-entry format just seems to have a dampening effect on that aspect, no matter how thrilling the story itself might be) the plot was still engrossing as Isabel is forced to watch and wait as advisors, nobles, and estranged siblings make decisions that will forever alter her fate. Her brothers are warring for the throne of Castilla. Her mother suffers mental illness. And all the while, a host of disagreeing parties are attempting to arrange Isabel's marriage to one of an equally large host of suitors.
On the whole, this book was a fun, intriguing, and yes, educational read. As usual, any book in The Royal Diaries series would be a great way to supplement a history study, but they make great pleasure reading as well.