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The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,106 Ratings  ·  463 Reviews
The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess.

So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of history’s most powerful and controversial 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. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner bri
Hardcover, 397 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Tea Jovanović
Da li zbog prevoda ili zato što sam čitala mnogo bolje napisane istorijske romane ova knjiga mi je največim delom bila dosadna i bledunjava... Dešava se, kad toliko mnogo čitam i zbog posla, da mi neke knjige budu dosadne ili loše a čitaoci se oduševe... :)
I would love to teach a course on historical female royal figures. One of my lessons would be comprised of females who have a bad reputation and I would have assignments to compare and contrast these women, their actions, and social perceptions; to that of strong women today. Who would these women in my lesson plan be? Mary Tudor, Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots), Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Isabella, Juana the Mad, and this woman: Catherine de Medici.

Although I view Gortner's work to be occasionall
B the BookAddict
Sep 08, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Chrissie

My laptop ate my review!

Loved the book. 4
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars - It was really good.

I have been called murderess and opportunist, savior and victim. And along the way, become far more than was ever expected of me, even if loneliness was always present, like a faithful hound at my heels. The truth is, not one of us is innocent. We all have sins to confess."

This was an easy to read (and get lost in), informative novel about Catherine de Medici. While I feel like I now know more about her than I did going in, I also want to read more books about her
Aik Chien 인첸
Jan 07, 2012 Aik Chien 인첸 rated it it was amazing
The opening line of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is simple yet powerful: "The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess."

Well, I have to say that I'm glad I had the chance to read this book, because it's amazing. Before reading this novel, I knew nothing of Catherine de Medici. To make sure that I have a vague idea of what I'm reading, I googled about Catherine de Medici. Turns out, she's a prominent historical figure in France. To be precise, she's the mother of t
Feb 28, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it
I had a hard time connecting with Catherine. I couldn't hear her voice in my head. Well what I did hear was rather hollow, had little passion. It was just ho hum. I expected more. So much was happening at this time. Elizabeth Tudor was queen of England, there was huge unrest in France. And she met Nostradamus. I expected a grander story, more intrigue and complication. I found it hard to have real sympathy for Catherine. I was surprised at her open mindedness about religion and that she had a lo ...more
Mar 06, 2010 C.W. added it  ·  (Review from the author)
The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess.

So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of history’s most powerful and controversial 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. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter into the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protec
Jan 31, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of royalty & historical fiction
Recommended to Jennifer by: A History of Royals Group Read
4.5 stars

This is one of the best HF's I've ever read. I was hooked from the very beginning, couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end.

The novel starts out with Catherine as a young girl in Italy, leads to her marriage in France to Henri (the second son of King Francis I), her role as the Dauphine, as the Queen of France and then finally as the Queen Mother. She stops at nothing to keep her family and country safe.

I'm so thankful that this was my introduction to Catherine de Medici, her li
Mar 23, 2011 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have finished the book and want to say very clearly that this is a wonderful book. For me the the latter half is much better than the first, but you need the first to get acquainted with the characters. I did come to empathize with Catherine. It just took me a while. My sole reservation about this book is that love is poorly portrayed. This is not a romance novel. It is full of action and murder and poisoning and family bruhaha. You think you've got family problems. Forget it. You
Mar 28, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it
THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, by C.W. Gortner is by far the clearest, out-of the box-take on this usually overly vilified queen of France. This in depth biography-type novel reveals a Catherine that not many people know- and that in itself is incredibly original as well as refreshing.
The Catherine in Gortner’s book has been researched to the max- and although the author took the liberty of slightly altering names and events for creativity and flowing purposes (this merely avoided the
Amy Bruno
May 17, 2010 Amy Bruno rated it it was amazing
Catherine de Medici has been called many names throughout history: The Italian Woman, Madame Serpent,
Jezebel, the Merchant's Daughter and the Black Queen. Now C.W. Gortner gives us another name to call her - woman.

The Catherine portrayed by Gortner is quite different than in previous novels I've read of her by Jean Plaidy (Catherine de Medici trilogy) and Karen Haper (Courtesan). As with Juana la Loca in The Last Queen, Gortner obliterates what we think we know about these amazing, yet controve
This book has got to be one of the best royal fiction books I have read. Though the book covers many years of Catherine de Medici's life, the pacing is good. I had to force myself to put this book down because it held my attention so well. This was also a refreshing read after reading Mary Queen of Scots by Roderick Graham. Mary spent her life whining about how everyone had done her wrong, Catherine de Medici took charge and made what she wanted happen. I plan to read a biography about her to se ...more
Mar 22, 2016 Allie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good read, I enjoyed this one and it made Catherine appear human as opposed to evil personified that she is often portrayed as. Well written and nicely researched, I'm looking forward to more books by this author.
Mar 14, 2016 J8J8 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Confissões de Catarina de Médicis foi uma surpresa deveras agradável, em todos os aspetos. Foi a primeira vez que tive oportunidade de ler algo de Gortner que até então me era totalmente desconhecido. Tenho a dizer que fiquei fã, que Gortner passou a figurar entre os meus escritores de romances históricos favoritos, entre os quais se encontram Philippa Gregory e Isabel Stilwell, por exemplo.

Ao longo destas 400 páginas pude conhecer Catarina desde a sua juventude até ao momento da sua morte. Esta

“At the age of fourteen, Catherine de Medici, last legitimate descendant of the Medici blood, finds herself betrothed to the King Francois I’s son, Henri. Sent from her native Florence to France, humiliated and overshadowed by her husband’s life-long devotion to his mistress, when tragedy strikes her family Catherine rises from obscurity to become one of 16th century Europe’s most powerful women.

Patroness of Nostradamus and a seer in her own right, accused of witchcraft and murder by her foes, C
Sally Howes
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but truth spiced with fiction in this way is the perfect blend. Fast-paced, full of intrigue, passion and intricacy, this book is most certainly comparable to the best of Alison Weir's and even Philippa Gregory's court dramas. Most highly recommended - 4.5s. ...more
Mercedes Rochelle
Oct 18, 2015 Mercedes Rochelle rated it really liked it
Catherine de Medici is one of those historical characters whose reputation is so tarnished that it's hard to imagine any redemption for her. At the same time, what exactly was her role as queen mother? C.W. Gortner chose an interesting title for this book, because we pick it up knowing that she is getting a chance to explain her side of the story. As such, we know it's going to be biased in her favor, and the author's challenge is to make her excuses believable while not going too far in the oth ...more
May 29, 2016 Tracy rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read about Catherine de Medici. I do realize it's historical fiction, but I love learning about these different people's lives and what made them behave the way they did.

As with almost all historical, royal figures, they are surrounded by constant threats of betrayal and not a lot of love. Choosing whom to trust is risky and life threatening. Catherine de Medici had more than her fair share of this for sure. She was lucky in that she gave birth to 7 surviving childre
Feb 18, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
I enjoyed this novel from the viewpoint of Catherine de Medici. It wasn't the most gripping or fast-paced novel that I've read, nor did I have too much of an emotional attachment to the characters, but I did enjoy reading from Catherine's perspective. Previously every novel that I have read about this period has cast Catherine in a very negative light. For example, the historical fantasy series by Susan Carroll and also a particular favourite of mine by Diane Haegar, "Courtesan", about Diane de ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Elena rated it it was amazing
"I ask you, what could a woman do, left by the death of her husband with five little children on her arms, and two families of France who were thinking of grasping the crown—our own [the Bourbons:] and the Guises? Was she not compelled to play strange parts to deceive first one and then the other, in order to guard, as she did, her sons, who successively reigned through the wise conduct of that shrewd woman? I am surprised that she never did worse." ~Henri IV

C.W. Gortner's new historical novel
Stephanie Dray
Mar 09, 2011 Stephanie Dray rated it it was amazing
Though I will generally read anything about the Tudor dynasty, I generally shy away from the Renaissance in general and France in specific. I'm glad that I expanded my horizons by reading this novel. I learned stuff about one of history's bad girls and it opened the door for me to learn about this time period and this kingdom in a gentle way. Gortner's talent cannot be denied. His prose is powerful and effortless. And though I was slow to accept his narration as authentically female, it eventual ...more
I absolutely loved this book. I can't really fault it - the story was exciting and compelling and so well-written.

Catherine de Medici is a woman about whom history is unclear - the general consensus is that she was a grasping, power-hungry, ruthless woman, playing her children and those around her like puppets.

But Gortner presents a different view of her: a woman who suffered at the hands of many - her family, the court, her husband - who was deeply mistrusted due to both her nationality and he
Rio (Lynne)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Encruzilhadas Literárias
Catarina de Médicis é uma personalidade histórica que sempre me despertou curiosidade. Primeiro, pelo nome e impacto tão conhecido que a sua herança familiar causou um pouco por toda a Europa. Depois, pela diversas personificações em séries e filmes, que certamente lhe atribuiram uma humanização negada nos preâmbulos da História, mas ainda assim nem sempre muito verídica ou com verosimilhança suficiente para ser encarado como um quadro real e um desfecho digno para esta rainha francesa de origem ...more
Catherine de' Medici, wife to Henri II and mother of the last three Valois kings of France, was one of the most powerful French queens and is even today a very debated and controversial figure. To some people, she was a power-hungry, ruthless woman, responsible for many deaths and atrocities (one for all, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre); but others see her in a more sympathetic way, as a competent woman and a caring mother, who did everything in her power to keep her children and her country ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Older teens through adult
This book has left me breathless. No matter how many times I try to write a review that captures the essence and beauty in which it was written, I cannot do justice.

C. A. Gortner captures Catherine de Medici and brings her to life. So many times I've had to remind myself that this is fiction, and not taken straight from Catherine herself. Gortner makes her so real - so able to capture your heart with his masterful insight. He was brilliant at crawling inside her head and "becoming" Catherine.

I d
Jenny Q
May 31, 2011 Jenny Q rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
The challenges for an author tackling the life of Catherine de Medici are many: not only was her life longer than most, it was chock full of drama and tragedy, and marred by incidents and opinions that continue to taint her reputation to this day. I'm happy to say that Gortner does a fabulous job of interweaving the many pivotal, historical moments in Catherine's life with intimate moments and personal revelations, while addressing the rumors and ugly truths of one of history's most powerful wom ...more
Jun 11, 2010 Caitlin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This was interesting, but not as good as I expected. It's possible my expectations were too high, but I really wanted a lot more from this book.

There were plenty of very powerful people in the 16th century who were afraid of Catherine de Medici and it's probably safe to say that there's a reason for that. As a widow with young children she preserved the throne for her sons, shepherded her daughters into advantageous marriages, and did the best she could to navigate the very dangerous waters of C
Jun 26, 2010 Erika rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Catherine de Medici comes from a well established and notorious family. Raised without her parents, she is sent away from Italy at a young age and witnesses mobs in the streets throwing epithets to her family name as she journeys to France. She’ll live the rest of her life up to certain exacting standards, supported by the ghostly memories of her Pope uncle and aunt Clarice. To make her difficult life even more interesting, Catherine has a rare gift that’s noticed by none other than Nostradamus ...more
Mar 13, 2016 Ann rated it really liked it
Very informative work on Catherine de Medici as well as an engrossing read. A completely different view of Queen Catherine than that put forth by Sophie Perinot in her recent work "Medici's Daughter". Impels me to read further on this interesting chapter in history. Might not have been quite as interested had my curiosity not been fueled by Perinot's recently read work. A good read.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 05, 2015 09:06AM  
  • The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici
  • Madame Serpent (Catherine de Medici, #1)
  • The Second Duchess
  • The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
  • Queen By Right
  • Poison (The Poisoner Mysteries, #1)
  • The Sister Queens
  • Courtesan
  • Pale Rose of England
  • To Serve a King
  • The Queen's Pawn
  • The King's Mistress
  • Lady of the English
  • The Lion and the Rose (The Borgias, #2)
  • Blood Royal
  • Signora Da Vinci
Bestselling author C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in Northern California. His books have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at for more information.
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“The truth is, not one of is innocent. We all have sins to confess.” 28 likes
“Love is a treacherous emotion. You will fare better without it. We Medici always have.” 16 likes
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