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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,279 ratings  ·  99 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 tempsâa 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 Kingâs obvious interest marks her as an enemy to the Kingâs fav
Paperback, 576 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published March 1st 1993)
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33rd out of 252 books — 165 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 29, 2011 Tricia rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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-
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Jul 29, 2008 Marisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Betty Strohecker
Feb 13, 2015 Betty Strohecker rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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!!
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!
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
Lauren Chong Sng
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
I loved this book. It was a great story told wonderfully.
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
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
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
Michelle(Chelle) aka Nightshade - Cake Whisperer
Nov 04, 2013 Michelle(Chelle) aka Nightshade - Cake Whisperer rated it 5 of 5 stars
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

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
This historical fiction book was "pretty good." I agree with previous posters that the grammar was questionable at times, which irks me. Catherine's character was interesting, however, and led me to keep reading.
Melissa Winterman
This book is not what you think. Delve deeper into this book and discover more about the Goddess-like-beauty, Diana, of Queen Catherine De Medici's court, and how she came to be the King's 'Courtesen'.
Aug 01, 2008 Cara rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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
Really interesting. Good read. Page turner.
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
Ellen Cuylaerts
Most beautiful book ever!
My first book by this author also, but not my last. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Had to go out on the internet to research Diane de Poitiers, the main character of this novel. From all previous novels I had read usually the mistress was not as nice as this one, in this book anyway, and of course Diane wasn't. The author had a liking for her obviously and tried to make her out as a caring mistress. But the facts of the novel were true and I liked that. I will read more from this author.
Christina Bowers
A good read since I like historical fiction, but parts of it were too over-the-top lovey-dovey for me.
Tom Landry
I enjoyed reading this book specially since I read The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. It was neat to see the story from two opposing people's viewpoints. The constant romantic gestures and interaction between Diane and Henri got a little tiring for me. I know that is a huge part of the story but for me it was like ok I get it lets get on with the story but that is just me. Overall it was a good read and it was neat to see the story from the other side this time.
Really amazing love story. I saw a review of this book that said the relationship between Henry II and Diane de Poitiers had been romanticised by the author, and others that said because she was so much older than he was, her hold on him had to be due to shrewd political acumen. I think the only explanation for over twenty-six years of complete devotion could only have been that they truly loved each other. Call me sappy; maybe I am. Was still quite a romance!
Georgiana Romanovna
Truly Magnificent Read.

I did not think I would enjoy this book as much as I did, but Diane Haeger brought to life the beautiful love affair between Henri and Diane. Diane's character was so well filled out that I honestly felt as if I knew this woman by the time I had completed the book. This is a very emotive book and one cannot help but be swept up and into the life and love of this beautiful couple and a love that extends beyond time. Brava Ms Haeger.
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French historical fiction 5 29 Mar 05, 2012 05:47AM  
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Diane Haeger is the author of four previous historical novels, including The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecilia. She lives in California with her husband and family.
More about Diane Haeger...
The Secret Bride (In The Court of Henry VIII, #1) The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3) The Perfect Royal Mistress The Queen's Mistake (In the Court of Henry VIII, #2) The Ruby Ring

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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.” 1 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.” 1 likes
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