Sister Queens by Julia Fox
The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews




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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Julia Fox

See more books from this Author
After graduating from the University of London, Julia Fox taught history in both public and private schools for a number of years, specializing in the Tudors and in nineteenth-century Britain and Europe. She also worked as a historical researcher. She currently lives with her husband, the historian John Guy, and their two cats. She is the author of one previous book, Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford.
Published January 31, 2012 by Ballantine Books. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Sister Queens

Book Reporter

At an early age, they are instructed that when they become wives, they should “dedicate their lives to the service of God and act as ambassadors for their homeland.” "Julia Fox gives an intimate portrait of and a fresh perspective into the lives of Juana and Katherine within the context of their ...

Feb 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Sister Queens: The Noble, Tra...


A BIOGRAPHY of Katherine of Aragon was published at the end of last year and Julia Fox surely would have known it was coming.

May 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Sister Queens: The Noble, Tra...

Historical Novel Society

Juana, third in line for her parents’ throne, is married off to Philip of Burgundy and left at his disinterested mercy until circumstances intervene and she finds herself the heir.

| Read Full Review of Sister Queens: The Noble, Tra...

Katherine was betrothed to Prince Arthur, son of King Henry VII of England, and Juana to Archduke Philip of Burgundy.

Jan 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Sister Queens: The Noble, Tra...

Reader Rating for Sister Queens

An aggregated and normalized score based on 159 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review