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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,666 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Amid the disapproving gossip of the Court, a royal romance defies all obstacles.

The Court of François I is full of lust, intrigue, and bawdy bon temps—a different world from the quiet country life Diane de Poitiers led with her elderly husband. Now a widow, the elegant Diane is called back to Court, where the King’s obvious interest marks her as an enemy to the King’s favo
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Crown (first published March 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 05, 2008 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes historical fiction
This is my all time favorite book (tied with Gone with the Wind)
here's a review I wrote years ago

In the France of olde, Diane de Poitiers returns to the court of Francois I after an informal exile of five years. The two were involved in a scandalous relationship then, and though he'd like to start it up again, she wants to begin anew. She is thirtyone, beautiful, and clever. She is also strong, putting up a brave front when she is shunned, criticized, and then poisoned. Just when she's ready to
Apr 02, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a historical fiction junkie - I particularly enjoy novels set in the Medieval and Rennaissance period. I have always been fascinated by Diane de Poitiers and made sure to visit Chenonceaux when I was in France. Thus, I was very excited to come across this novel.

This novel does a great job painting a picture of court life - particularly of the debauchery during the raine of Francois I. Diane Haeyer's characterization of Anne d'Heilly, Duchesse d'Etampes seems quite accurate compared to non-
Sep 20, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a lot of historical fiction mainly because the few books that I have read haven't really hit me where I want a book to hit me. Let me tell you, this book completely hit me. I wish that I would have had these sorts of books around when I was in high school for my history classes because they would have made a huge difference in the way I felt about history. Then I felt history was a wasted subject. It was in the past, move forward, etc. But now, maybe because I'm older, I find it e ...more
Aug 26, 2016 Narges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"comme je te manque... comme je t'adore"

Beautifully written, although I skipped the last 20 pages just to finish the book, not a grand ending, but well I did know the ending, that's the charm of the historical novels.

I would describe Henri-Diane love as codependency :D

I read somewhere that such a love is the result of modern life (as of the last 2000 years not prehistoric era), the lack of love and support from family and the society that drives people to call someone their own like an obsessi
Rio (Lynne)
This is one of the all time great love stories. This was the most moving book that I have read in a long time. I laughed, longed and cried! Catherine de Medici never had a chance. This story has everything romance, politics and history. Great book that I couldn't put down!
Haeger's writing style in Courtesan seemed a bit antiquated, but it worked for the story. The novel read like it had an omniscient point of view, but in reality it was mostly head-hopping. Since this book was first published in 1993, and at the time head hopping was fairly common in novels, I'd say no harm, no foul. Haeger's writing was beautiful, in my opinion. Her descriptions were compelling, which I love, because it's a means for me to escape.

It's not a light read, but it's more of an in-de
May 18, 2010 M A rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mandy Moody
3 stars is a generous rating for this book. I really considered giving it a 2.
The Courtesan is about the lives of Henri II of France and his favourite Diane de Poiters. I found the depiction of the characters to be very one dimensional and cliche.
The predictability was practically tragic. Historical Fiction - more than any other genre, imo - depends on the finesse of the author. The reader KNOWS what's going to happen. It's history. The author has to write it so that the reader doesn't think to
Stephanie Tracy
This book is an absolute MUST-READ for anyone who enjoys the 16th century. While this is not a Tudor story, it does take place during the Tudor dynasty, although in France. It begins during King Francis I's reign, and the story covers the relationship between the King's son, Henri, and Diane de Poitiers, a widow who is significantly older than him. This relationship defies everyone's expectations, and it's amazing to see the steps Henri took to protect his love and assure her of his feelings for ...more
Jul 18, 2008 Marisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
WOW. One word is all that's needed. Not for so many crazy things as much as the love king henri had for his mistress diane. It will make every woman melt, and ultimately long to be loved the way he loved her. This is my favorite book i have ever ever ever read. It's a true love story and one of the most famous france has ever known. Like most books it took a good 100 pages to get used to the authors writing style. I loved it so much that i looked into the history of the two lovers, and the famou ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Briansmom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fascinating portrayal of the French court during the reigns of kings Francis I and Henri II. While I love historical fiction, I have never read a book set in France, nor had I ever heard of Diane de Poitiers, so this was a first for me. The love affair between her and Henri was both scandalous (because of their age difference) and fascinating. Oh, to be cherished and loved like she was!!
Oct 12, 2010 Kristine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was a great story told wonderfully.
A little slow at times, but I imagine a lifelong affair isn't something that is constantly rushed.
Jan 23, 2017 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book very much. Interesting read. This book makes me want to read more historical fiction on France.
Lindsey Rowe
Feb 16, 2017 Lindsey Rowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An older woman returns to the French court after losing her husband. She ends up falling in love with the King's young son who becomes infatuated with her. The book follows their life together. I'll be honest, the story started slow for me. I was even initially disgusted by the difference in age between the main characters. However, the author slowly seduced me and by the end I was captivated. It was a story I raced to finish but was sad to end.
May 07, 2014 Nina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think the blurb described this book best as one about "chivalry and courtly love". It is true that the author has researched the era and not twisted the facts too much, but I'd still call it a romance novel first and historical fiction second.

Ultimately I wasn't too fond of the way the author dramatized the subject and shaped her characters. Her protagonist comes across as too nice, too naïve when I was hoping to find more evidence of her education, intelligence and refinement which kept her
Ana Mardoll
Courtesan / 1-4000-5174-6

This is not a bad book, but it does fall prey to a lot of flaws. Haeger's characters tend to all look and sound precisely the same, despite differences in age, temperament, upbringing, and social status. The characters are all very one-dimensional - the good people are always, unfailingly good; the bad ones are awful and spiteful, regardless of how kind they are treated. Haeger lacks the lighter touch of, say, Philippa Gregory, who manages in even her worst novels to sti
Betty Strohecker
Feb 13, 2015 Betty Strohecker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of history and historical fiction
This is a story of France in the 1500's, a story of the powerful court of Francois I, the king who has called beautiful widow Diane de Poitiers to return to court against her wishes. Since the king must be obeyed, Diane returns and finds her life immediately becomes a challenge - the king desires her, and his current mistress is jealous of her. Against plots and secrets, Diane must try to remain true to herself, all the while juggling her precarious position at court. One person comes to her aid ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Annie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was kind of dull and portrayed Diane de Poitiers in a very annoying and frankly wimpy fashion.

I understand that the author was probably trying to portray Diane in a slightly more likeable, modern way. Diane de Poitiers is generally viewed as an honest, religious woman, but she was a 16th century woman. I really doubt, for example, that she was nervous being without Henri when she had to be around King Francois' catty mistress Anne. I also doubt she felt a lot of shame or guilt about b
Jan 01, 2014 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To say I loved this book is an understatement. I had, had the book for awhile but hadn't picked it up to read. Thus began my love affair with the writing of Diane Haeger/ Anne Girard. I love any author that can transport you back in time, help you escape into another world. and draw you to their characters like you are one of them. I felt like I was on periphery of the action and hearing their thoughts. It is an amazing experience as a reader to have that much of connection to the book.

Diane's w
Mar 12, 2016 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of romance novels which is probably why I only give this two stars. I suppose this was a good attempt at filling in all the gaps of the true life partnership between France's Henry II and Diane de Poitiers. There are too many contrary views that she was a gold digger using him to achieve her own means for me to be caught up in this romantic version.

The author depicting Diane as a tease mare* to induce Henry to have sex with Catherine is pretty disgusting. I'm positive Henry knew
Jun 13, 2015 Copper78 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What. A. Love. Story. I should never condone adultery or cheaters but wow, all Henri ever wanted in his life was his Diane. Definitely not a conventional relationship in any way, yet these were 2 people who truly were meant to be together. It's often hard reading about the lives of real historical figures when you know the ending you want for them never happened. Yet I truly find nothing more fascinating than how people survived in such harsh times with these incredible circumstances. Henri was ...more
Michelle(Chelle) aka Nightshade - Cake Whisperer
May 13, 2011 Michelle(Chelle) aka Nightshade - Cake Whisperer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Historical Fiction
Shelves: favorites
First off, I have read this book more times than I can count. I have owned the book in hard copy for 20 years and it is one of my all time favorites.

I love reading historical fiction based on the lives of real people. Diane de Poitiers in such an amazing character in the history of France and I love that she managed to hold the attention of the young king for a quarter of a century. That speaks a lot to the type of person she was. In a time when women were pretty much chattel she managed to help
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 Mirah W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An incredible read...another look into the lives of the royal families and, I swear, this stuff is better than anything someone could just make up. 'Courtesan' is based on the real life love story of Diane de Poitiers and Prince Henri of France. It's amazing the lengths people who surround royalty will go to in order to gain power (through association or manipulation)....but through everything, Diane and Henri endured and remained true to one another. I wish I could see some of the chateaux and
Lauren Chong Sng
Sep 22, 2014 Lauren Chong Sng rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this down. I liked the pace. Nice balance of other characters where I could remember each without trouble. Colorful writing evoked rich images. Plenty of intrigue, romance and fantasy. Explanations of court culture and Renaissance life that weren't obtrusive. I also liked the bit at the end where the author set apart the fictional events in this novel. Her writing didn't repeat words; sometimes when words or phrases are reused, I notice and a book will feel thoughtless. Only criti ...more
Aug 01, 2008 Cara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone simple-minded who just wants to read a cheesy romance in historical form
I love historical fiction and I've read many books like this but none were so badly written. Her sentences have no flow or rhythym, mostly because she uses too many words to describe things and doesn't let the story carry itself. She is constantly trying to include minor details, that, instead of creating more depth to the story, just make it more tedious. I was not surprised when I discovered that it was her first attempt at published writing, I hope that if I read another book of hers that the ...more
May 31, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is by far my favorite Diane Haeger book. I knew a little of Diane de Poitiers from reading a teen historical fiction about Mary Queen of Scots when I was young. But that book was not as detailed (for obvious reasons) as this one.

Diane is one historical figure that continues to impress. It's hard to believe the power and influence she wielded as the the mistress to Henri. I also found myself feeling a bit sorry for Catherine de Medici, even though for the most part I wanted her to quit whini
Nov 13, 2011 Dami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book even though the main character, Diane de Poitiers, is quite the Mary Sue. She is just sooo saintly and wonderful and doesn't do anything wrong at all. You can pretty much predict just what she's going to do at any given situation. I still like her, though.
Ignoring that, I really loved the portrayal of life at court. I liked all the other characters besides Diane and I wasn't bothered by the way the author tweaked some of the history around to fit the story (and I can rea
Sep 28, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is heavy on descriptions of clothing, settings, etc.--actually great history and research. It captures the court intrigue and power plays but is a very romantic view of Diane de Poitiers. The novel--don't forget, the novel, not history-- almost idealizes her, even though she, as a mature woman, began a long-term affair with a young boy and became one of the most powerful kings' mistresses in French history. (Actually, this novel seemed highly accurate compared to the Netflick series of REIG ...more
May 29, 2009 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medici
I really enjoyed this book. Although I have read several reviews from pepole who disliked it, I really enjoyed it.
Whether I enjoy a book totally depends on whether I develop feelings for the characters. It doesn't matter if I love or hate them as long as I have feelings for them.
I took this on vacation with me and read it while on the plane. I'm so glad I didn't finish it there because at the end of this one I found myself sitting on the couch sobbing!
I'm not sure what of this is true, but it
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French historical fiction 5 30 Mar 05, 2012 05:47AM  
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Diane Haeger is the author of thirteen historical novels, including Courtesan, The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecilia. She lives in California with her husband and family.
More about Diane Haeger...

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“I told you this long ago, and it is still true. I am a man with but one heart to give, and it has been given to you. You must take great care with the knowledge of that.” 2 likes
“I love you," he said, as he parted her lips with his own and then kissed her. After a moment he added, "I love you with everything I have, and with all that I am.” 2 likes
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