Catherine de Medici was one of history’s most powerful and influential women. To some, she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others, she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. In this brilliantly imagined novel, acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power.From the fairy-tale chateaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.
©2010 C. W. Gortner (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“The notorious Catherine de Medici emerges as a flesh-and-blood woman in this masterful recounting of her life.” (Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author)
“Remarkably thoughtful in its insight into an unapologetically ruthless queen.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Gortner breathes…life into his queen. Historical fiction fans will appreciate the vivid details of Renaissance France.” (Library Journal)
I enjoyed listening to this book, but I noticed that some of the historical details were very wrong: first of all it was Henri de Guise, not his father Francois, who was referred to as Le Balafre. Second, it sounded to me like C.W. Gortner, was not familiar with the inheritance laws that governed the inheritance of the throne of France. Ever since the death of Louis X , the Salic Law ruled, that meant that the throne could not be inherited by a female or through the female line, so Guise saying that the throne should go to Charles of Lorraine, son of Claude (the second daughter of Catherine) was impossible. The truth was that Guise wanted the throne to go the Cardinal de Bourbon (who would have been defrocked) the uncle of Henri of Navarre. The reason being that the Bourbon family were the heirs because of their descent from Robert of France, youngest son of St. Louis.
This is narrated by, Cassandra Campbell and as big fan of hers, I was a bit apprehensive because she doesn’t have a British accent ( Yes, I have a thing that no matter where it is set all historical fiction should be done in a British accent) that being said she was Fantastic and she has changed my stance on this ! Her slight French just the rolling of some r’s and not a full out French accent was absolutely spot on, I was glad she didn’t go into a full accent I don’t know that it would have been believable but the subtly she showed was wonderful.
A fascinating look at the life of Catherine de Medici, I knew nothing about her before I started this book and have been googling like crazy to see what is fact or fiction. As usual C.W. Gortner has done his homework, of course I’m sure some liberties were taken but that is why this is historical fiction not non-fiction. This is my third book by Gortner and I must say I really enjoy his style, his writing has a nice flow and as I said the man has done his research.
The more I read about royals the more I see their lives as something not look up to; these people are the epitome of dysfunction. Daughters, were only born to wed someone who will further their Father, Mother, or Brothers political ambitions. They will kill anyone who gets in their way no matter how closely related. They are so controlled by everyone around them that most of the time they can’t make any decisions’ themselves and if they do well, you went against someone else’s ambition so they will make sure you pay for it.
There were times I felt for Catherine, more so before her husband died but afterwards she wasn’t near as likable and seemed to get less so as her life went on. Some of Catherine’s decisions were questionable and so was her relationship with her children but this was really a sign of the times and pretty much how all royals were with their children. By the end of her life she was so hated by the French, but with what I know of French history it seems there are few French Royals that were liked by the people. But she did have some powerful enemies and really her family didn’t run France the Guise (*sp audio*) did. I was surprised by the appearance of Nostradamus and how much Catherine believed in his prophecies, but I guess they were right sometimes.
Great author and fabulous narration, I highly recommend this one especially on audio.
4 ½ Stars
As I loved his "Last Queen", so did I love this book! And it only cost me one credit from Audible.com!
As with "Last Queen", Catherine de Medici becomes more than a by-word for 'evil'. Her early life is one that today's accused would blame for whatever they did in the present, so deeply was she hurt. Her times were hard for women, especially for women of intelligence. As they effected her, the 'times' and 'places' are also characters in the story.
C. W. Gortner showed me a very complex and deeply emotional woman, both strong willed and determined. Oh how she loved her family! Maybe too much. She was every bit "The Queen"! The Ruler! She who would have her way come hell or high water! As I listen to Cassandra Campbell's narration, I felt compelled to listen until the wee hours of the morning. I had to find out more about her and what she would do and why.
Cassandra Campbell voice was perfect for C. W. Gortner's grand story of this woman!
I couldn't quite put my finger on what was missing from this book. It never seemed to really gel for me and I stopped near the beginning of the second half. I guess it's just the difference between a 2 star movie and a 3 star movie: in a 3 star movie, the same material is handled in a way that draws you in and the 2 star never quite.
I loved this book and think it is C.W. Gortners best book! The life of Catherine de Medici as portrayed in this book is amazing!!
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