This historical tale portrays a quintessentially powerful woman, ruling at the beginning of a century in which powerful women practically sprang from the earth. Like most important historical subjects, she is little known or thought of outside of narrow academic circles. She's a woman you won't forget.

The author writes well, and does a creditable job of telling us what we need to know about Isabella and her world without getting too far into the weeds of late 15th and early 16th century politics.  The book is especially good at putting Isabella into her context, whether the self-absorbed lassitude of various northern European rulers, or the politico-religious intensity of Spain and other Mediterranean lands that were facing the shatteringly real threat of Muslim Turkish aggression. 

The seismic upheaval of the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the conquest and rape of the Balkans, incursions into Hungary and southern Italy and the threats to Sicily and Spain itself were a powerful element in shaping the life and times of this momentously important queen. The down side? This is a LONG book, coming in a little under 700 pages. Still, worth the read.....

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah (Historical Fiction)

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. 

The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. 

Two blog readers recommended these books which are recipients of great reviews and positive comments. If you like a history book that reads like a novel, try one of the above. 

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