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Joanna : The Notorious Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone

Joanna : The Notorious Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily

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August 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

Nancy Goldstone is the author of The Four Queens, and in keeping with this high standard, her meticulous research makes this new title a treat for those ready to move on from the better known kings and queens in history to read about a powerful queen from the 14th century, less known but just as intriguing. Packed with great detail about Joanna’s relationship with her wider family and political position, it still paints a strong picture of her personality, despite the 600 or so years since she lived and died. Said to have a court which rivaled Elizabeth I, Joanna, Queen of Naples is a historical character who comes to life again in a biographical book of high calibre. It opens dramatically with Joanna on trial for her life, at the age of 22, accused of murder ing her husband. The book then reverts to her birth and follows her tumultuous and colourful life through to her own murder in her 50s. Between her birth and death Joanna's life is laid before us with all the drama and terror of those times. I was left reeling with the fear that must have lain on her shoulders on almost a daily basis and yet she managed by guile and intelligence to pick her way through a 14th century minefield of intrigue. The book teems with facts and rich descriptions of court life and personalities. A fast pace surely makes this true story as good or better than any non-fiction read.

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Joanna : The Notorious Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone

On 15 March 1348, Joanna I, Queen of Naples, stood trial for her life before the pope and his court in Avignon. She was 22 years old. Her cousin and husband, Prince Andrew of Hungary, had recently been murdered, and Joanna was the chief suspect. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against enormous odds. Returning to Naples, she ruled over one of Europe's most prestigious and enlightened courts for more than thirty years - until she was herself murdered. As courageous as Eleanor of Aquitaine, as astute and determined as Elizabeth I, Joanna was the only female monarch in her time to rule in her own right. The taint of her husband's death never quite left her, but she was also widely admired. Dedicated to the welfare of her subjects and her realm, she reduced crime, built hospitals and churches, and encouraged the licensing of women physicians. But the turmoil of her times swirled around her: war, plague, intrigue and the treachery that would ultimately bring her down. Nancy Goldstone brings one of history's most remarkable women to life in this impeccably researched and captivating portrait of medieval royalty.

About the Author

Nancy Goldstone

Nancy Goldstone is an American journalist, and the co-author (with her husband) of two works of European History: Out of the Flames and The Friar and the Cipher.

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Publication date

4th August 2011


Nancy Goldstone

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Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co




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