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The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici
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The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  4,027 ratings  ·  301 reviews
Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is brought to life by Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Bride.

Born into one of Florence’s most powerful families, Catherine was soon left a fabulously rich orphan. Violent conflict...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2008)
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Orsolya
The life of Catherine de Medici was anything but ordinary. Luckily for us, this drama makes for solid historical fiction novels. Jeanne Kalogridis focuses on this remarkable woman beginning with her childhood in, “The Devil’s Queen”.

The pages of “The Devil’s Queen” instantly draw the reader in with an onslaught of exciting and dramatic events; resulting in a fast pace and compelling plot. The problem with this instant bombardment of events is that there are many characters featured without prope...more
Misfit
Author Jeanne Kalogridis puts her own spin on the life of the infamous Catherine de Medici in The Devil's Queen. Left orphaned and extremely wealthy, Catherine's early life was marred by revolts among the Florentines against the de Medicis. Once the revolts are over her hopes to rule Florence are forever dashed when her uncle the Pope marries her off to Henri, the second son of the French King. Disenchanted with Catherine, Henri soon turns to the older Diane de Poitiers for comfort and the child...more
Sara
It is hard to make a Queen who shoulders the blame for a religious massacre sympathetic, so Jeanne Kalogridis doesn’t try. Instead she goes the complete opposite direction. Giving us an unsentimental Queen who would commit any atrocity to save herself or someone she loves. Even as a girl she is already murdering and dabbling in black magic. For those of you unfamiliar with Catherine de Medici, the Italian born duchess was reduced to living in a convent after her family was deposed in Florence. I...more
Vicky
For me this book was an example of a really good historical novel. I read some interesting books about the France during the civil war in the middle of the 16th century, such as the “Young Henry of Navarre" by Heinrich Mann and "The master of all desires" by Judith Merkel Riley. 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...more
JR Hassett

‘“Madame’, he said gently. “You and I understand each other well, I think – better than the rest of the world understands us. You and I see things others do not. Too much for our comfort.’” The words of Monsieur de Nostredame to Madame la Reine – Catherine de Medicis, Queen, Consort of Henry II, King of France 1519-1589 to Catherine during one of his visits before being removed for an astrologer.

The Devil’s Queen was fond of astrology and much of her life, Catherine De Medici practiced the art w...more
Amanda
Catherine de Medici is a child of the infamous Medici family, rulers of Florence. After rebels topple the family, Catherine is forced into captivity. Even though Catherine is eventually rescued, her life will never be the same. As a daughter of the Medici family and niece to the Pope, Catherine is forced to become a political pawn in her family's schemes. She is sent to France to marry the unwilling Prince Henri. In France, Catherine continues her odd childhood fascination with astrology and get...more
Jean Marie
I've been awfully spoiled recently with plucking books off my shelves that are awesome. Warning, there be some spoilers.

My knowledge of Catherine de Medici is very basic. I know the vague outline of her life and reputation and always was a bit sympathetic to her because, let's be honest, she really did draw the short straw in life and made the most of a crappy situation time after time.

I enjoyed that this story began with the sack of Rome, when Catherine was a child and built up to the Massacr...more
Brooke
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...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Frieda Leonie has written an excellent history of Catherione de Medici based on deep research. I gave it 5 stars and highly recommend it to people interested in Catherine de Medici and the Valois lineage of French rulers. I have read a few reviews of Kalogridis's book on Goodreads and am afraid this historical novel (The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici) may be closer to a "Philippi Gregory" tale than to a historically based novel. At first, I decided not read it but to skim it. Wit...more
Donna
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...more
Dawn
This is a historical romance and if you are a fan of this genre of novels, I would recommend this book to you. I am not a fan and for that reason I did not finish the book.
It starts out with Catherine Medici as a 8 year old in Florence and I managed to read through the trials and tribulations of her childhood (I am not sure how accurate the story is) and through to the start of her marriage. Not having finished the book I cannot say at what point in Catherines life it ends.
I read this book hopi...more
Elaine
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...more
Lisa James
I always felt that Catherine DeMedici was much maligned, & given the short end of the stick. 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 wom...more
Tara Chevrestt
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...more
Celise
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. 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...more
CynthiaA
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...more
dragonflyy419
Magic, sexual escapades, court intrigue, death, war … The Devil’s Queen A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis has it all. 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 la...more
Katie
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...more
Susan
Another book fed to the hungry Kindle!

This novel covers Catherine de Medici's life from her girlhood until shortly after the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. The occult plays a heavy role in it; Catherine has visions from an early age, and at a desperate time in her life resorts to an act of black magic that will have terrible repercussions for her and her family.

On the whole, I enjoyed this novel, which was told in the first person. Kalogridis made Catherine sympathetic, for all of her flaws, an...more
Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai
This is my first book by Jeanne Kalogridis and I quickly had to find more of them. I've read a lot of historical fiction set in Tudor England so it was fascinated to read something from "the other side of the pond". I didn't know a lot about Catherine Medici before I began which was good as the author took a lot of license with her character and history in general. However the story was fascinating. The characters were multifaceted people who made difficult moral decisions. It was an interesting...more
Andreea
An interesting illustration of the life of a strong woman in troubled times
Robin
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The writing style was easy to read and Catherine is a likeable character. It covers her life from childhood (just before she is taken captive) until just after the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre.

But I wouldn't read this if you're a stickler for accuracy. Though there are a lot of accuracies, there seemed to be as many, if not more, inaccuracies - particularly with the complete omission of Catherine's youngest son and the liberties taken on the issue of witchcraft.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
I remember little about this book, other than Katherine & the rest of the Medici family being run out of their home when she was just a child, after which she spent way to much time in nunneries. Her dabbling in magic & astrology was interesting. I did like the author’s writing, plan on reading more of her books.
Bube
Definitely,No.1 best writer of historical fiction - Jeanne Kalogridis!
Michelle
(3.5 stars) This historical fiction is about the life of Catherine de Medici. As a child, her astrological chart indicated a difficult and dangerous life. Throughout her life she is supported by the astrologer, Ruggieri who is willing to do anything to protect her, including the dark arts. Catherine survives political imprisonment in dire conditions until the tides turn and her supporters are back on top. But instead of ruling her beloved Florence, she is sent to marry Henri, a prince of France....more
Robin-Taine
Catherine de Medici is an historical figure who is often mentioned in the background of many 16th century novels, but a figure I have not personally read a lot about. That combined with the fact that I really loved the 2 other books of Kalogridis' that I have previously read induced me to pick this book up at my library.

I unfortunently did not enjoy this book as much as the previous two, probably because there was so much mysticism/occultish activities in the book. I understand that Catherine d...more
Jennifer
The Devil’s Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis was a beautifully written historical novel based on the life of Catherine de Medici. It was fascinating to read.

Jeanne Kalogridis has a lovely way with words. She uses gorgeous word choice and description to enhance the reader’s understanding of the story and the characters and draw even the skeptical readers into the magic-entwined world of the Medici family and its effect on European history. She paints a realistic view of a time filled with political int...more
Jessica
I've always been of fan of Jeanne Kalogridis' books, but the last two have been hard for me to get through. I appreciated the detail that she included, and her particular flair of fiction. But there was something about this story - it would draw me in when I was reading it, but when I had to put it down, there really wasn't anything that ever compelled me to want to pick it back up again, which made reading sporadic.

The elements of the story reeled me in - Catherine de Medici, the French court,...more
Amanda
I wasn't impressed by this audiobook and I'm not sure I can pinpoint why. I'd still give Jeanne Kalogridis another shot on another book though.

Potential factors:

1) I'm not generally an audiobook listener. I thought it would be a nice way to spend my commute though so I started with this one. Maybe the reader didn't work for me? Maybe the whole concept of audiobooks doesn't work for me?

2) Turned out the audiobook was abridged. I'll check for that when I try again. At moments I felt disjointed or...more
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49103
Okay, here are the bare facts: I was born in Florida on December 17, 1954, and I've been interested in books ever since. My interest in language led me to earn a B.A. in Russian in 1976 (although my major was microbiology until my senior year).

That was soon followed by a two-year stint as a legal secretary. The good part about that was, I learned how to type, which comes in useful these days. Then...more
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