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CATHERINE DE’ MEDICI
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But 'The Devil's Queen' made me feel something, made me think of the characters' situations and analyze them closely. It sucked me in, left me breathless and desperate to know more, even if the main ideas were already known by me. It felt like a race against time, in hope I will get to the ending faster than the story itself, so maybe I could bring a change. It was that kind of intense reading, that makes you forget you're actually reading, and deems you unable to do anything else besides thinking of what's next, when you're not reading.
The author's style is also very fitting for these kind of books. Maybe a little simpler than I expected, it was obvious that the writer made their homework, as the terms regarding astrology and royal matters were impressive. Also, for some of the sadder scenes because unfortunately, such a few rulers managed to be happy during their lives! And even now, after I finished reading the book, I am still stuck in that world.
I disliked a few of the details at the end of the book, and this might be the greatest disappointment this book brought me: the ending. There are a few things that I could complain about, but these aren't as important as the good things this book managed to bring to the world. Catherine de Medici still has my love and admiration, and so does this book, for it managed to portray the queen pleasantly. Feb 16, M. Historical novels written from the perspective of an actual historical figure can be a hit and miss.
Depending on how much is known about that person's life, the author may have a lot - or very little - to go on. This novel is written from the first person perspective, which can be very interesting when done right. Even with letters from that person, Historical novels written from the perspective of an actual historical figure can be a hit and miss. Even with letters from that person, or firsthand accounts of said person, it is next to impossible to know what a person really thought or felt about any situation.
I think the author did a good job of presenting a realistic POV for Catherine de Medici, and her reactions to certain events of her life, such as her husband's infidelities, or what happened with her children. The magic aspect, when it came to her children, certainly was an intriguing bit of fantasy from the author, but one that could fit in real life. I was not sure how to feel about the 'revelation' of the Prince of Navarre, as there is nothing to support that.
However, I will say that within the other fantasy the author put in the book, it was an intriguing plot point. I can only say that while you can enjoy this book, make yourself aware of what is pure fiction. The author's notes at the back of the book give a good bit of historical context, and actually led me to do more research on my own. Though with the death of all four of Catherine's sons the fourth son, not mentioned in this novel, predeceased his older brother, so Edouard's death really did end the Valois dynasty the House of Valois may have come to an end, but Catherine de Medici's descendants continued through her daughters, so she is still the ancestor of many notable figures, including royalty or their spouses of various countries.
Nov 05, Donna rated it liked it. A fascinating romp through the history of the Black Queen that ultimately enabled one to understand the limits or lack there of of power, love and loyalty. As a character I enjoyed Catherine, her childhood clearly demonstrated how loyalty and the need for love shaped her as a woman. This was my first foray into historical fiction and I'm glad that I had a god experience.
This book is action packed from the beginning to the end which keeps the pace of the story moving. The astrological referenc A fascinating romp through the history of the Black Queen that ultimately enabled one to understand the limits or lack there of of power, love and loyalty. The astrological references throughout the book was novel and made the storyline even more interesting. In terms of the relationships that Catherine has with her husband, sons and even Astrologer, there were moments of frustration. These relationships demonstrated her weakness; these men limited her intelligence and power even though she surpassed them through other means.
Altogether, it was a good novel and I enjoyed the ending. I understood her compassion for the massacre, the reasons she resorted to alternative methods to keep her life but I disagreed with the regret she felt at the end. All her life she had been fighting to keep this life, her bloodline in power and in the end the regret seemed out of place and out of character. A great look into the splendor, wealth, deceit, sacrifices, manipulation but ultimate love that prevailed in Catherine's life.
Oct 21, Vicky rated it really liked it. For me this book was an example of a really good historical novel. But they had portrayed Catherine de Medici as a plotting, scheming force behind the bloodshed in a war between the Protestants and the Catholics. In the "Devil's queen" we see a very different Catherine de Medici, a que For me this book was an example of a really good historical novel.
In the "Devil's queen" we see a very different Catherine de Medici, a queen who was desperately in love with her husband, Henry the II, only being replaced by a Royal Mistress, a ruler who had to work behind the scenes to keep the country together and to secure the Valois monarchy despite the weak sons, who took the crown and failed one after another. This book has it all, the real sense of time, the intrigues of the Royal Houses of Florence and Rome, Spain and France, the power struggle between Mary Stuart and Catherine de Medici and the terrible events of the St Bartholomew's Day massacre.
This book does not pretend to be more than it is, a solid historical fiction Apr 20, Brooke rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , historical-fiction , italian , royalty , renaissance. The first thing that bugged me was the lack of a family tree, as had been included in the author's earlier "The Borgia Bride"; in that case it would have been fine without, but not so for this family and their repetition of names. This book started off slowly, and while there were plenty opportunites for an interesting story, the twists if you can call them that were minimal and the book ended up being too long for its own good.
There were interesting tidbits and facts scattered throughout, bu The first thing that bugged me was the lack of a family tree, as had been included in the author's earlier "The Borgia Bride"; in that case it would have been fine without, but not so for this family and their repetition of names. There were interesting tidbits and facts scattered throughout, but for some reason "The Devil's Queen" just didn't compare to "The Borgia Bride. Come on! Kalogridis is a fine writer, but I sometimes feel like she gets too obsessed with marriage consummations Other than that, "The Devil's Queen" gives a good idea of the politics and court intrigue in s Italy.
Aug 07, Sara Poole rated it it was amazing. One of my all-time favorite historical novelists hits the mark perfectly with this thoughtful, passionate look at a woman historians love to hate. While never trying to excuse Catherine de Medici's actions, Kalogridis employs her creative vision backed up by meticulous research to reveal a woman of great strength and determination trapped within a web of political intrigue and imposed values.
The result is a riveting visit to a world too-often obscured by false assumptions. Get comfortable befor One of my all-time favorite historical novelists hits the mark perfectly with this thoughtful, passionate look at a woman historians love to hate. Get comfortable before you start reading this one because you truly will not want to put it down.
Jul 21, Linda Miss Greedybooks rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. I liked this a lot Apr 01, Danielle Gonzalez rated it it was amazing. I never realize the interest I have in history until I read a really good historical fiction novel. While this was a work of fiction, it revolves around true life characters and events. This was a well-written story of Catherine de Medici told from her childhood to her involvement in the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre.
From a very young age, she quickly learns about the scheming nature of politics, and she becomes one of the best schemers.
Catherine looks to the stars and the black arts to find wh I never realize the interest I have in history until I read a really good historical fiction novel. Catherine looks to the stars and the black arts to find what her future holds, and she takes the necessary actions to try to change what has been foretold. Growing up on the east coast, I recognize places named "Huguenot", though I never really knew where that term came from.
This story captures the conflict between the Catholics and Huguenots that culminates in the Massacre in Paris. It seems that Catherine led a difficult life, but with a survivor's mentality, she did what was necessary to stay on top. I enjoyed reading about the time period when she lived her life. I went into this book not knowing much about Catherine de Medici, besides the fact that the de Medici family was extremely powerful in Italy at the time.
Now, I want to learn more about this strong woman. I don't know where to begin Catherine's life is a mess. Her parents died when she was very young which forced her to be raised by her aunt, who served as a pseudo-'regent' Catherine and her cousins in Florence. Her father had been made Duke of Urbino by his uncle the Pope but her mother was a I went into this book not knowing much about Catherine de Medici, besides the fact that the de Medici family was extremely powerful in Italy at the time.
In Florence, Catherine - or Caterina - was called duchessina "little duchess" in reference to her unofficial claim to the Florentine throne. When she was 8 years old, a group of rebels overthrew the Medici family in Florence and held Caterina captive. But right before these events, Caterina was visited by a magician and astrologer, Cosimo Ruggieri.
Ruggieri promised to protect her and through his various mysterious ways, made sure she was taken care of while in captivity. She survives, lives with her uncle, Pope Clement for a time in Rome and returns to Florence. Here is where it got weird for me. Caterina was unofficially promised to her cousin, Ippolito, who was at least 8 years older than her.
This was not uncommon at the time. And she is so infatuated with him, because of his good looks and the attention and "love" he gives her that she has never had, that she goes whole-heartedly into this, even when the Pope and her half-brother tell her that she should not trust him. They are all over each other in ways no 11 year old should be.
Then finally as they are about to have sex for the first time which Ippolito pressures her into , Caterina finally realizes he is doing this not out of love but to make sure that they will marry he wants her to get pregnant, like, NOW and they will therefore have Florence. She does not recognize the man and he calls her "Catherine. Ten years go by and she doesn't have a child. Her place in France, in her new family, is threatened. Catherine convinces her loyal and good friend, Ruggieri, to help her and together they perform a magic so dark it changes the history of France. And things get much worse from there.
My favorite character - and I cannot say this enough - was Cosimo Ruggieri. His loyalty and devotion to Catherine is unbelievable. He is so wise. But all Catherine sees is his "ugly" appearance. But he brings so much more. Whatever it takes, whatever she asks, he will do and he doesn't seem to expect anything in return. He is just I don't know how to describe him. Ruggieri is just such a wonderful character waiting in the wings but when he is present I feel like the story comes even more to life Do I have a crush or something??
Aug 28, Tara Chevrestt rated it liked it Shelves: women-that-really-existed-fiction , historical-fiction , france. The first quarter of this book had me enthralled and I am convinced that Jeanne Kalogridis is a talented author and despite my dislike of The Borgia Bride, I will look at her future works. I enjoyed reading about young orphan Catherine and how the Medici's were brutally ran from their home by their own countrymen.
As young Catherine is imprisoned in one nunnery after another, her heart is broken time and time again as every woman she holds in high regard or esteem is either killed or taken from The first quarter of this book had me enthralled and I am convinced that Jeanne Kalogridis is a talented author and despite my dislike of The Borgia Bride, I will look at her future works. As young Catherine is imprisoned in one nunnery after another, her heart is broken time and time again as every woman she holds in high regard or esteem is either killed or taken from her.
Little Catherine learns early on that fate does not always deal one a winning hand. She turns to magic arts and astrology, namely a man named Ruggieri. Ruggieri has a "seedy" reputation for dealing with the "dark side. Here, Catherine's superstitions and bad dreams grow even more frantic. She turns to magic again as it seems the god of christianity isn't listening to her prayers. Her father in law, the king, is planning to "replace" her and her husband, Henri is in the arms of another.
She commits an appalling ritual. The result, if one believes it is truly an outcome of the practiced magic, is one child after another. This is where I grew bored. Upon attaining queenship, Catherine has a baby, daubles a bit in the ruling of the kingdom, has another baby, makes another talisman, has another baby, discusses war, has another baby, has a dream and makes a talisman, has another baby The exciting scenes, the court intrigue, the dramatic situations begin happening few and far between halfway thru. I think the problem for me is there really was not anything interesting about Catherine aside from the fact she practiced some witchcraft.
Mary, Queen of Scots, makes brief appearances, however, and adds some "spunk" to the story, tho she is somewhat a conniving vindictive brat. All in all, good writing about a dull woman. The slow pace of this novel will not be for everyone. Mar 22, Celise rated it liked it Shelves: owned-read , historical-fiction.
I knew nothing of Catherine de Medici before reading this novel, so I will review it according to that. I was going to give it four stars, but haven't yet decided how well I liked it. Jeanne Kalogridis is certainly a good writer. I enjoyed the stylistic choices she made, for the most part, though some things at the end confused me.
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I am still not sure if Margeurite Margot and Edouard were ever romantically involved. Everything that happened to her was terrible and Caterina's acknowledgement at I knew nothing of Catherine de Medici before reading this novel, so I will review it according to that. Everything that happened to her was terrible and Caterina's acknowledgement at the end that she was wrong to hold the king back from remarrying to Jeanne was just heartbreaking. The author did a beautiful job of this novel, so I just can't pinpoint what things about it I didn't like.
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Catherine de Medici is not a likeable character, and I applaud Kalogridis for not trying to make her seem otherwise. However, it was almost painful to read when you could see death coming 50 pages away. A lot of things did not add up however. This is based off of Margeurite de Valois's journal: "Marguerite has been credited with saving the lives of several prominent Protestants including her husband during the massacre, by keeping them in her rooms and refusing to admit the assassins, which included her lover, Henri de Guise.
For her pains, she was confined to the Louvre by her mother. Henry of Navarre, too, was placed under house arrest and had to feign conversion to Catholicism. After more than three years of confinement at court, Henry escaped Paris in , leaving his wife behind. Finally granted permission to return to her husband in Navarre, for the next three and a half years Marguerite and her husband lived in Pau. Both openly kept other lovers, and they quarrelled frequently. So really what I didn't like about this was just how many historical liberties she took.
Nov 07, Lydia Presley rated it liked it Shelves: , fiction , historic-fiction.
The Astrologer Cosimo Ruggieri d.1615 and Catherine de Medici 1519-89
Original review posted here So the first thing that caught my eye in the summary of this book was Mary, Queen of Scots. So, once I put that hurdle behind me I was able to give Catherine her due. I love books about strong women. I think, to be a pawn like these women were, and make a place for yourself would have been so difficult, especially when faced Original review posted here So the first thing that caught my eye in the summary of this book was Mary, Queen of Scots. She knew which battles to pick, and how to manipulate her husband just so.
She was a good mother, anxious to see her sons and daughters succeed in life, and she loved them fiercely. One thing I was educated on through this book and having listened to some music centered around it last semester, found myself saying OH! Like, right now.
This is an historical book that, despite its bulk, seems to make time fly. Mar 12, CynthiaA rated it really liked it Shelves: set-in-france , historical-fiction. Ok, I read this in preparation for our upcoming Paris trip. It was very good historical fiction. Queen Catherine nee de Medici has a reputation as a heartless cruel woman.
She is primarily held responsible for the St. Bartholomew day massacre in the late 16th century, during which many Huguenots Protestants were murdered in the streets. This book doesn't try to change Catherine's reputation, but rather to give readers an understanding of what motivated her and shaped her into the woman she Ok, I read this in preparation for our upcoming Paris trip. This book doesn't try to change Catherine's reputation, but rather to give readers an understanding of what motivated her and shaped her into the woman she was.
I loved the era the book was set in. Having read historical fiction of Tudor England and of Mary, Queen of Scots, I was familiar with small bits of French history of the period. This book filled in lots of gaps for me. The biggest weakness of the book was that it sacrificed facts albeit lesser ones for the sake of the drama.
For example, Catherine had 10 children, 7 lived past childhood. But in this book, she gives birth to only 7 children, with twins dying at birth. It didn't affect the story, per se, but it did affect the way I perceived the author's research when preparing her story. Also, certain characters were very one dimensional. As a final point, I would have liked to have known more about the background of Ruggieri, the astrologer.
He claims his fate is tied to Catherine's, but that is never fully explained. The greatest strength of the book was the way the author wove the theme of astrology and black magic into the events. Overall, this was a good read that will help me understand many things I will see when visiting Paris this spring.
Feb 18, Carol rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. I missed not having a family tree in the book to see how she was related to everyone else. This is a difficult review to write since I usually love historical fiction. I know that the author must have done a tremendous amount of research and worked on this book a long time. I made it through and found the last part of the book the most interesting part. The action pick up along with the drama. I should have been prepared for the violent scenes because this queen, Catherine de Medici was well known for being ruthless. The author is of course not responsible for the character of the queen she writes about.
At first, I got lost in the unfamiliar names in the beginning of the book and there times that I wish that some passages were edited out because, they were a bit tedious. When she was young, she was shifted from one nunnery to another, and I though the poor convents were more interesting than the de Medici sponsored ones. I really felt like crossing out whole pages. I do think that author definitely got across the character of this queen, starting with a very chilling scene in the beginning of this book.
The author did write the violent scenes so vividly that they were easy to picture and unfortunately remember. She and her family were responsible for the loss of so many lives and that even though it was a difficult book to read, I now have a firm memory of her mark in history.
I will leave to your judgment as to whether or not to read this book. Despite this fact, I am left wondering what I got out of this book. There were times in the book where I was turning the pages fast desperate to know what would happen next and other times where I was immensely bored and wondering when something interesting would happen. Sometimes I felt a connection with the protagonist other times I felt there was something lacking in her, that she was slightly two dimensional.
The story and plot line were fascinating. The ideas were great. I was also left at times disturbed by the some of the characters in the story. The imagery used to describe dreams, visions, magic, and clothing were spectacular. They were filled with vivid details and allowed one to truly see those scenes. Those aspects of the book were brilliant and well done. May 03, Sharon Robards rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , european , historical-biographical. I picked this up in the library while browsing covers, blurbs, and first pages. With such a title, I thought how evil is this woman going to be?
The blurb tells us who Catherine Medici was — at the death of her parents, she becomes heiress to Florence and is used as a political pawn, imprisoned, then married off to Prince Henry of France, becomes Queen of France and eventually the instigator of a massacre. Knowing nothing about this woman or this time in history, I was instantly intrigued. I find I picked this up in the library while browsing covers, blurbs, and first pages.
Published in , this story had it all, but I felt emotionally distanced from the narrative. I think that reason might be because the story is very much told and we are often given chunks of historical information taking away from the closeness the reader is to Catherine. The plot was completely unknown to me, the character of Catherine likeable, and I think for this reason and my curiosity to discover how it all panned out, made it impossible for me to stop reading.
Given what she had to endure when her parents were killed when she was a mere 14 year old girl, and herself being taken into captivity after that, she's lucky to have survived to become the powerful woman she became. Married off to King Henry, she was the mother of his sons, even though Henry spent the vast majority of his time with his mistress. Catherine was a highly educated, highly intelligent woman, a fiercely protective mother who believed in astrology like so many of the nobility back then. For a brief time she was interested in some of the other arcana of the time, but certainly not enough to brand her the black witch that history claims she is.
She will seem a little heartless sometimes, but most noble women could seem that way, it was a face they put on. The book does start off a trifle slow, but once you get past that it's a wonderful tale. Jan 14, Elaine rated it really liked it. This is a very interesting fictional-biography of the life of Catherine deMedici from her stormy childhood in Florence to her decades in France where she eventually became Queen alongside her husband Henri III.
There was much of interest and some with which I disagreed, such as a portrayal of a truce-like relationship with her husband's favorite mistress, Diane de Poitiers, while I had always heard that Catherine maliciously evicted Diane from chateau Chinonceau to a sort of exile at the less gr This is a very interesting fictional-biography of the life of Catherine deMedici from her stormy childhood in Florence to her decades in France where she eventually became Queen alongside her husband Henri III. There was much of interest and some with which I disagreed, such as a portrayal of a truce-like relationship with her husband's favorite mistress, Diane de Poitiers, while I had always heard that Catherine maliciously evicted Diane from chateau Chinonceau to a sort of exile at the less grand chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire, this is told differently by the author.
There is much in this novel to interest any Francophile, especially the details of the lengthy Wars of Religion and their effect on the French monarchy and the people.
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This is the end of the Valois dynesty and the beginning of the Bourbon kings with the succession of the Protestant Henry IV, who reconverted to Catholicism to achieve a sort of truce for the monarchy. For those who do not know much of French history, it would be a good read. Readers also enjoyed. About Jeanne Kalogridis. Jeanne Kalogridis. Jeanne was born in Florida , and has been interested in books ever since. Her interest in language led her to earn an M.