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Friday, January 15, 2016

Isabel by Carolyn Meyer

Isabel - Jewel of Castilla by Carolyn Meyer is a Royal Diaries book by Scholastic. I came across the English Scholastic books written in the form of a diary and covering various times in history while in England last year and although they are written for middle grade/young adult, they are a great way to learn a little of history from a child's point of view. I found some of the Royal Diaries series at our local library.

The diary begins in 1466 when Padre Torquemada gives Isabela (King Enrique of Castile/Leon's sister) a blank book in which she could keep account of sins, especially the seven deadly sins. During her childhood years she has had to deal with battles for the crown between her half brother Enrique and her brother Alfonso. There is also doubt as to who should be the rightful heir as Enrique has a daughter Juana. At that time Spain was separated by regions and Kingdoms.

The story ends when she is betrothed to Ferdinand of Aragon but the historical notes continue the story. Once Isabel and Ferdinand marry and combine their countries to make a unified Spain, instead of bringing peace, more upheaval ensues. A devout Catholic, Isabel and her husband make it their task to rid Spain of Moors (Muslims) who live in the southern part and also give Jews the opportunity to be baptized within a four month period or otherwise be banished from Spain. The Spanish Inquisition was formed to make sure all Spaniards were Christians or tortured until they accepted the faith of Isabel and Ferdinand.


Their daughter, Katherine (of Aragon) married first Henry VIII's brother and then Henry VIII of England. Queen Isabel encouraged cultural changes and also sponsored Christopher Columbus's travels which brought Spain into the Golden Age.

If you like history, these are great books for an uncluttered glimpse into life of the time.

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1 comment:

So many books, so little time said...

I have never heard of this one before, it sounds like a very interesting read, one I may have to keep an eye out for.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net