This novel is about the life of Catherine de Medici (as told by C. W.Gortner) and starts with her as a young child in Italy and the perils of her childhood before she is married off to the Prince of France who already has a mistress. C. W. Gortner takes the reader through her life as a married woman and the challenges she had to overcome with her husband’s mistress and her children and their marriages.
It incorporates details of the stories told about Catherine and her supposed interactions with seers and dark magic and explores her
emotions through the war with the Huguenots and the infamous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
I have always been fascinated by Catherine de Medici and so I was very excited to read this book. I loved it! It is a new favourite of mine.It definitely portrays her in a positive light and I felt an enormous amount of sympathy towards her. She lost both her parents and then her aunt as a young child and was mistreated by nuns at a convent where she was supposed to be under protection (according to what I read in this book, I think I read another novel similar to this where she and her aunt did not get along).
She was married in to a emotionally scarred Prince who already had a mistress who controlled him emotionally. And then she had the task of raising and co-ruling with her children while receiving futuristic predictions of their untimely deaths. And as if this wasn’t enough for one woman to handle she also lived during a time of Huguenot (Protestant variant) and Catholic squabbles. This is a period in time where Elizabeth the First ruled and Phillip the II with the Spanish Armada. I know about Elizabeth the First and the Tudors very well but to me it seems like the events in France were often overlooked or seen as a political opportunity should one side fail. In conclusion Catherine de Medici was a very powerful, women who seemed to try and prevent war and save France from disunity. She is often portrayed as a dark witch who had strange dreams, consulted seers and poisoned her enemies by presenting them a gift of lovely gloves that were laced with poison. Whether or not this was true she did what she had to in order to protect her children and the future of France.
I hope other history lovers will pick up this book and read it.
Labels: Book Review