Jennifer's Reviews > The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner
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's review
May 31, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, fiction
Read from May 31 to June 02, 2010

From My Blog...[return][return][return]Many books have offered an account of Catherine de Medici's life, yet none to my knowledge go to the extent of C.W. Gortner in his book, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, where the author goes to great lengths to humanize the legend from her early years in Florence, Italy to her death in Blois, France.[return][return]Catherine De Medici's first thirteen years were tumultuous ones, a ward to her Uncle the Pope, yet living in Florence with her stern, yet loving Aunt after being orphaned shortly after her birth. Catherine was allegedly given the gift of sight when she was 10 years of age and it was foretold that Florence would fall one day and that Catherine De Medici would fulfill her destiny. Catherine and her Aunt were shortly afterwards exiled from Florence by the Signoria and Catherine was sent to live several miserable years in the Convent of San Lucia until she was finally sent to Rome to live with her Papa Clement, the Pope. If she thought life would be stable, she was in for a rude awakening when she learned she was to be wed to Henri d'Orleans, King Francois' second son, since his first son was sickly and not likely to take the throne.[return][return]Her marriage was typical for the day, purely practical and political, Italy needed an alliance with France. Yet her life in court was far from a fairytale and far closer to a nightmare over the many years. Gortner takes the reader through Catherine's life in Italy to the end of her life in France spanning the years 1527-1589. Through tremendous research an creativity, Gortner provides the reader with another side of Catherine de Medici, of a young woman who was sent to a foreign land, forced to marry a man who not only disliked her, but also was, from the beginning, unfaithful. Of course these are not uncommon occurrences to be sure, yet each event along Catherine de Medici's life, good or bad, created the strong woman and capable leader she became.[return][return]Exquisitely descriptive, rich in imagery and steep in historical fact, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici make for an intriguing as well as enlightening novel that will engage the reader from the very beginning. I highly recommend The Confessions of Catherine de Medici to those who have read other accounts of her life as well as those new to her life, of her fight for what was hers and above all, of her journey to becoming one of the most revered, feared and often misunderstood Queens in history.

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