Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici

the devil's queen 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history: blamed for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in which hundreds of innocents died. What motivated this Renaissance woman who was born of Florence's most powerful family, and one day came to rule France?

In her latest historical fiction bestseller, Jeanne Kalogridis tells the story of Caterina, a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games. Left a fabulously rich heiress, imprisoned and threatened by her family's enemies, she was finally married off to a handsome prince of France. Overshadowed by her husband's mistress, the conniving Diane de Poitiers, and now consort to a King, Catherine resorted to sorcery to win his love, enhance her fertility and foil her enemies. Against the lavish and decadent backdrop of the French court, and Catherine's visions induced by the black arts, Kalogoris reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband Henry, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne.

My Review: 

I have read many historical fiction books, but I had never ventured into royal history until this book. With that being said, I didn't know much about Catherine de Medici going into it. This is also my first time reading a book by the will not be my last of either.

Catherine de Medici was born an Italian who would later become Queen of France. Throughout the book we are given the backdrop of what made her the person that she was. As a child, she was orphaned, sent to live in a convent, imprisoned and wanted dead. All of this before she was the age of 14. At the age of 14 she married Prince Henry, who would later become King Henry II of France. She had 10 children, 3 of which went on to become Kings of France.

This story is told from Catherine's point of view. You can see a different side of the things she is blamed for, the things that she did and the person that she was. It shows the betrayal from the people she loved most, the "black magic" she was involved in, the sometimes horrific dreams she has that all came true.

I was surprised by the power and education that Catherine had, as in those times, women had neither. The book is dark at times involving certain rituals and murder but I think that it added to the element. It also showed what some people will do to maintain power and protect themselves and family.


Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Great review. This sounds like an interesting read for those interested in historical fiction (like me)!

A Journey in Reading said...

If you love historical fiction, you will enjoy this one. It was really a page turner.