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Publisher's Summary

Poisoner, despot, necromancer - the dark legend of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen to reveal a skilled ruler battling extraordinary political and personal odds - from a troubled childhood in Florence to her marriage to Henry, son of King Francis I of France; from her transformation of French culture to her fight to protect her throne and her sons' birthright. Based on thousands of private letters, it is a remarkable account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown.

©2018 Leonie Frieda (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Catherine de Medici

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator didn't get one name right

I am halfway into this audiobook and found the text very good. It's a pity that the narrator botches the pronunciation of 80% of the names of persons and places. You would think that this being a book mainly about French and Italian people somebody would take care of assuring that the narrator pronounce the foreign names and words correctly.

16 people found this helpful

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An Excellent Biography, With Excellent Narration

This is an excellent work. I learned a great deal. I purchased a hard copy of this book and also the audiobook. The narration is excellent, however for me as an American, there are a lot of foreign names that I really needed a hard copy in order to read. The hard copy also has maps, family lines, and many notes that really added to the reading and learning experience. However this audiobook is about as good as it can be considering the complicated nature of the work. I suppose I should add that this book is really detailed and may be more than some readers will want. But speaking for myself, I am really glad that I purchased it. Thank You...

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly research ed

I've read four or five books on this subject and this one had more personal information on Catherine Dr Medici than the others; such as, her creating a side saddle for woman and, among many other more personal tidbits, she established the wearing of petticoats so she won't expose her privates when dismounting a horse, etc.
The author's opinion of Diane De Poitier was overly biased, I thought, against her and in favor of Catherine. There is definitely an argument to be made for both sides but I don't agree with her assessment of Diane as overly venal and overall disinterest in sex. She and Henry II had a passionate sex life where they genuinely made love to both of their intense satisfaction.
Overall, i loved this book and would highly recommend it to any person interested in this subject as it was detailed and the authors perspective was far ranging and meticulous research. I will definitely read this author's books again.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Very comprehensive and detailed. Thoroughly researched. Excellent narration. Long but worth every minute. If you love history this is for you.

4 people found this helpful

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A little bias, easily recognized

It is a very nice deep dive into the life of Catherine de Medici. You can easily pick up the author’s personal dislike of Henry II’s mistress, and attempts to downplay the major disaster in Catherine’s multiple regencies with the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The narrator is good, but her strange pronunciation of a few words pulled me out a few times, but I can’t say ‘soot’ properly, so who am I to judge.

20 people found this helpful

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Great story but marred by mispronunciations

The narrator’s French is Impeccable but I found her English mispronunciations distracting beginning with the name De Medici. The accent is on Med not di. Another example was the word “adhere” which she kept reading as adeer. Silent h I guess.

2 people found this helpful

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Factual, but often lackluster

It’s a great report on Catherine but what makes it hard to listen to is that at times, Frieda uses insanely lofty and pretentious words. I’m not talking about the direct quotes from historical sources- I mean her own choice of vocabulary in places. I get that long pieces of writing may end up overusing some words and require a trip to the thesaurus, but this book reads as if Frieda consulted hers on the regular. As if it were a young kid struggling to reach the assigned word amount or page length, looking for long and fancy words. It’s an issue of accessibility, and a personal preference for plain speaking. Clearly Frieda is very educated and knowledgeable and I am always up for a historical biography of a strong woman and therefore I’m grateful for her book but man oh man, I really hope that in her future books she will dial down on the embellishment. It’s fun to toss out a $100 word but I feel like they don’t need to be the backbone of the lexicon.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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History of France beautifully captured

Frieda captures Catherine's life complete including di Medici family her husband, the mistress Diane and all the religious wars. She had so much influence over France during her reign Great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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I wish MY mother had read this book!!

Other than the monotone narration, I would however stay for the conclusion of a revelatory testament of one of histories most intriguing sovereigns, Catherine DeMedici.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Narration

Very informative read. Narration is extremely pleasant and easy listening. French pronunciation is stellar. I highly recommend this book.