Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is brought to life by Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Bride.
Born into one of Florence’s most powerful families, Catherine was soon left a fabulously rich orphan. Violent conflict tore apart the city state and she found herself imprisoned before finally being released and married off to the handsome Prince Henri of France.
Overshadowed by her husband’s mistress, the gorgeous, conniving Diane de Poitiers, and unable to bear children, Catherine resorted to the dark arts of sorcery to win Henri’s love and enhance her fertility—for which she would pay a price. Against the lavish and decadent backdrop of the French court, and Catherine’s blood-soaked visions of the future, Kalogridis reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband, Henri, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne.
This story was a bit confusing in the beginning. Like many historical fiction stories, it assumed you were familiar with the main characters and the period. Since I wasn’t that familiar with it, I could really have used a family tree, or other such list of who all the characters were, and what their relationships were.
The story was surprisingly intimate and personal. I’m sure what I expected based on the summary, but it was a very personal look into Catherine’s life, from the time she was a girl right through to her old age.
There was a lot of action packed into this story. Lots of intrigue and political maneuvering as well. I did get a bit lost in the political aspects at time. I’m not that great at keeping track of those types of plotlines in my head.
My favourite part of the story was Catherine’s interest in astrology. Considered magic at the time, Catherine’s interest was unusual. It lent a unique aspect to an otherwise ordinary historical read.
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