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Most Helpful Favorable Review
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
An interesting take on one of France's most notorious Queens~!
Catherine is a very loyal child, she understands her role in the political aspirations of her Medici family name. Even at a young age, she realizes th...
Catherine is a very loyal child, she understands her role in the political aspirations of her Medici family name. Even at a young age, she realizes that her destiny is one of greatness. Having the gift of 'sight', she becomes a very superstitious person, who sees signs and portents and dabbles in magical arts.
Her uncle, Pope Clement, has betrothed her to the King of France's second son, Henri d'Orleans. She has no love for this man, but her duty requires her to stand strong in faith and with much determination, she makes the best of her situation. Ingraining herself into France's culture, she emerges as a champion of the countries soil. Amidst strife, and massacres like the one of St. Bartholomew, she must find her way.
After several years of unsuccessfully producing an heir, Catherine becomes afraid for her future, however, King Francois I, has a special place in his heart for her, in another time, they may have been man and wife. He assures Catherine that she will produce him many fine grandchildren and Catherine is determined to fix her place in the royal family.
Prince Henri believes he has married beneath himself and for many years, successfully ignores his marriage duties. His long time mistress, Diane de Poirtiers, keeps him away from court, and no matter what Catherine does to entice her husband, she fails. Ordered by his father to perform his marital duties, he dispassionately rapes her. However, no heir was produced and the two struggle to remain faithful to their duties. When Diane realizes her only hope to remain mistress is to encourage Henri of impregnating Catherine, the two begin to successfully produce the heirs that France so desperately yearn for.
Catherine turns to magics to help her produce an heir and keep her husband coming to her bed, tired of court discussing her barreness. Whether they were successful or not, after eight years of non-production, Catherine goes on to birth six children. They are her life's passion and in her mother's undying love, she fails to see the jealousy and hidden innuendos amongst her own children. Diane continues to add strife to Catherine's life by having a hand in the raising of her children, sometimes adding fuel to the fire, discouraging Catherine's children from fully loving their mother.
Catherine de Medici is a woman of many mysteries and C. W. Gortner has given her a different portrayal, of the woman beneath the rumours. Beginning from when she is a child, we read her thoughts and positions as she grows into womanhood and as she ages with time we learn of another possibility behind what made Catherine motivate herself to do the things she did.
I truly enjoyed the book, the flow was excellent, the characters believable in their mannerisms and dialogues. I thought the passages descriptive and easily found myself envisioning the surroundings being described. I enjoyed C. W. Gortner's portrayal of Catherine, so much in history has her painted as an evil witch who poisoned those at her fancy, who controlled and manipulated everyone to her will, even when her judgements were lacking. Seeing her being portrayed as neither victim nor heroine but as a woman who has accepted what life has offered her and making the best of what is being presented to her.
I was equally impressed with the graphic nature of some scenes, the author d
posted by Heavensent1 on June 22, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.
A Bit of Alright
But that could just be me ...
I do wish their had been more politic intrigue in the book. You know, the really nasty, tangled, web of intrigue that seems to haunt history.
I did enjoy reading about Catherine de Medici, though. I first became interested in her story when I saw a History Channel special about her and her family. The 'voice' of the character Catherine in the book does seem to match nicely with what I have discovered myself. A strong woman, fiercely loyal.
I also enjoyed the path the book took through her life. Carrying the reader through her slightly spoiled childhood and then hurling both character and reader into a foriegn land with de Medici getting her first taste of true court intrigue and fear. Then, of course, into her later life where she ... Takes the reigns for herself.
I'd recommend this book for book clubs, just because there are several points in Medici's life that are clearly covered and thus easy discussion points. Also, there are plenty of points where one could ask, "And how would you have acted in this situation? What would you have done?"
While I thought this book was alright, I probably won't be rushing back to the store to round up anything else by this author.
posted by Montreve on September 18, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2011
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Posted June 30, 2010
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