Wives & Other Women, the third historical novel of Linda Carlino’s Hapsburg Trilogy, is the story of Philip II of Spain's wives and mistresses and his desperate need to provide a male heir in politically arranged marriages.
The action takes place in the second half of the 16th century, mainly in Spain, but also in England, Belgium and France.
It is set against a background of family turmoil, a court plagued by intrigue and treachery, the compulsive pursuit of other women, as Philip struggles under the continuing pressure of his royal responsibilities to God, to his country and, most importantly, to provide a suitable male heir.
His son by his very brief first marriage, Prince Don Carlos, was mentally and physically damaged, far from being a suitable male heir; an embarrassing and dangerous lunatic. In an uncontrollable rage he threatens to kill his father. Philip alleges treason, and has him arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement. His death a few months later is very convenient, – and suspicious.
Mary Tudor did not provide the needed heir and other wives gave him only daughters. Meanwhile one of his mistresses, the Princess of Eboli (Kate O'Brien's "That Lady"), does bear him a healthy baby boy, which only increases his frustration as this illegitimate son could never inherit the throne.
Other major characters are Isabel de Valois (daughter of Catherine de Medici), Don Juan of Austria ("the last Christian Knight" who repulsed the Turks at Lepanto), Lady Jane Dormer, Queen Elizabeth I, Isabel of Portugal, Antonio Pérez, Ruiz Gomez, Duke of Feria, Anne of Austria, and Duke of Alba.
The story will appeal to all lovers of historical fiction and women in particular will be interested in the lives of women at that time much of which still has relevance today.
Wives & Other Women has been bought by Portuguese publisher Editorial Presença and will be published worldwide in Portuguese in 2012.
.All of Linda Carlino’s books are available at Amazom.co.uk and Amazon.com