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Critical Praise

"Living two centuries earlier than Elizabeth I of England, Joanna I was the first European woman ever to govern a realm in her own name. Written in vivid, pellucid prose, Nancy Goldstone’s terrific biography of this unique and extraordinary woman gives us a glimpse of the significant political power exercised by many women in the Middle Ages, and is nothing short of riveting."

Francine Du Plessix Gray

"Court intrigue, the murder of a member of a royal house, and a sensational trial: many authors use these elements in combination to forge page-turning medieval mysteries. Goldstone, author of Four Queens (2007), proves once again that truth is often stranger and more intriguing than fiction. Choosing as her subject Joanna, the notorious queen of Naples and titular queen of Jerusalem and Sicily from 1343 to 1382, she chronicles the fascinating life of one of the few women in her time who ruled in her own name…a life well worthy of historical examination."


"In scholarly but accessible prose, popular historian Goldstone underscores the many significant accomplishments of this exemplary queen. A thoroughly intriguing portrait of a neglected historical figure."

Kirkus Reviews

"Veteran author Goldstone expertly describes bloodthirsty 14th-century politics and the complex family entanglements that encouraged siblings and cousins to clash over kingdoms like toddlers brawling over toys… Packed with action and effortless to read, Goldstone’s account will satisfy scholars and entertain book clubs with a heroine who had persistence and unbounded dedication to her realm."

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review