Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the tale of one of history's most misunderstood women. Told in her own unique voice, Catherine slowly weaves the tapestry of her life, telling the story of how a young Italian girl, a commoner despite her family's vast wealth, eventually goes on to become the Queen of France.

This book read like many of Philippa Gregory's books do, and I really loved the first person telling. CW Gortner gives such character and life to Catherine via her thoughts, and you can tell his research was thorough because so many lovely details that are historically factual show up throughout the narrative.

Something else I really enjoyed about this book was just the setting itself. Through Philippa Gregory and a few other authors, I have read books about the time period and have gotten a feel for some of the politics of the age. However, this was my first book set in France around the same time, and I found it fascinating to see the world of the 1500's from a different setting than what I am used to. So many books are set in Tudor England, which is understandable considering the complete and utter turmoil that Henry VIII and his heirs threw the country into, so I have to admit it was refreshing to see all that and more from France's perspective. A few familiar historical characters also made their way into Catherine's world, such as Mary, Queen of Scots. It's always fun to recognize someone you've seen in another book or even heard about during a history class.

I just started CW Gortner's first book, The Last Queen. This one is about Juana la Loca [Juana the Crazy] from Spain, a sister to Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. So far I'm loving it, just like Catherine's tale. So no doubt you'll see a blog entry about that too!

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