Isabella of Spain was a great woman, a great Queen. Crown of Aloes is presented as a personal chronicle.
Within the framework of known fact and detail drawn from hitherto unexploited contemporary Spanish sources, a novelist’s imagination and understanding have provided motives, thoughts, and private conversations, helping to build up the fascinating character Isabella must have been.
Her fortunes were varied indeed: she knew acute poverty, faced anxiety and danger with high courage, gave much, suffered much, lived to the full. At the end she was mainly aware of her failures. It was left to others to realise how spectacular her successes had been.
I so wanted to listen to an audiobook about Spanish history, either fact or fiction based on fact, so I searched the database here and came up with "The Crown of Castile: How Isabel Happened To Become Queen" by Beverly Enwall. Great, right? NEGATORY!!! It may have been a good story but the author decided that SHE WHO WRITES CAN ALSO NARRATE! It was awful! It sounded like somebody's Granny reading "Cinderella" while trying to keep her dentures from falling out! Plus you can't write about Isabella without mentioning her predecessor and half-brother King Henry IV, a well-known and overt homosexual who preferred young boys. Nothing wrong with that except who wants to listen to "Nana" reading about buggering boys?!?! It's really sad when a writer ruins her own book. I returned it but still had a "hankering" to learn a little bit about Queen Isabel of Spain. I gambled my refunded credit on this book. It definitely "scratched that itch" for me. The author successfully uses literary license to weave known historical facts with fiction to deliver a good story. Patience Tomlinson does a great job narrating. Well worth the "price of admission"!
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If you could sum up Crown of Aloes in three words, what would they be?
A fascinating listen
What was one of the most memorable moments of Crown of Aloes?
Early on in Isabels life where she feels fear for the first time, also Juanna and the parrot.
What does Patience Tomlinson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
She has a lovely voice to listen to and doesn't waste time with many accents but does put emphasis where it should be.
Any additional comments?
My one problem with this book was the fact that as historical fiction I expect at the end of the book a section on what was real and what was made up and why the author said such and such, this book had no such section, leaving me with lots of information on Isabel but no idea what of it is true. I found that very disappointing.