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 historys 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 protect her familys throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power.
The last legitimate descendant of the illustrious Medici line, Catherine suffers the expulsion of her family from her native Florence and narrowly escapes death at the hands of an enraged mob. While still a teenager, she is betrothed to Henri, son of François I of France, and sent from Italy to an unfamiliar realm where she is overshadowed and humiliated by her husbands lifelong mistress. Ever resilient, Catherine strives to create a role for herself through her patronage of the famous clairvoyant Nostradamus and her own innate gift as a seer. But in her fortieth year, Catherine is widowed, left alone with six young children as regent of a kingdom torn apart by religious discord and the ambitions of a treacherous nobility.
Relying on her tenacity, wit, and uncanny gift for compromise, Catherine seizes power, intent on securing the throne for her sons. She allies herself with the enigmatic Protestant leader Coligny, with whom she shares an intimate secret, and implacably carves a path toward peace, unaware that her own dark fate looms before hera fate that, if she is to save France, will demand the sacrifice of her ideals, her reputation, and the passion of her embattled heart.
From the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.
I was ten years old when I discovered I might be a witch.
I sat sewing with my aunt Clarice, as sunlight spread across the gallery floor. Outside the window I could hear the splashing of the courtyard fountain, the cries of the vendors in the Via Larga and staccato of horse hooves on the cobblestone streets, and I thought for the hundredth time that I couldnt stay inside another minute.
Caterina Romelo de Medici, can it be youve finished already?
I looked up. My late fathers sister Clarice de Medici y Strozzi regarded me from her chair. I wiped my brow with my sleeve. Its so hot in here, I said. Cant I go outside?
She arched her eyebrow. Even before she said anything, I could have recited her words, so often had she drummed them into my head: You are the Duchess of Urbino, daughter of Lorenzo de Medici and his wife, Madeleine de la Tour, who was of noble French blood. How many times must...
If you like historical fiction, BookBrowse readers think you'll love The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. 13 out of 14 of them rated it 4 or 5 stars. Here's what they had to say:
C.W. Gortner reimagines the trials and tribulations of Catherine de Medici "in her own words," an interesting, successful technique that effectively presents the life and times of a complex historical figure whose life story is permeated with sadness, betrayals, exaggerations and intrigue (Marie A). Gortner does a phenomenal job of portraying a very complicated era in French history and making it interesting to the reader. Catherine does, eventually, become a lovable character, and I felt great empathy for each of her losses and failures... and there were many (Amy H). If you enjoy history, intrigue and a little mayhem, you will enjoy this book (Barbara R). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (754 words).
Catherine de Medici was born on April 13, 1519 in Florence, Italy. Her mother, Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, died a few days later either of plague or of syphilis contracted from her husband, Lorenzo II de Medici, Duke of Urbino (a sovereign state in northern Italy), who died from the disease a few weeks later. Madeline and Lorenzo had been married just a year, and Catherine was their only child. Catherine's care fell to her aunt and maternal grandmother, who raised her in the Palazzo Medici.
The House of Medici was a political dynasty that came into prominence in the 14th century. Having acquired great wealth first in the textile trade and later as bankers, the Medici family became the unofficial rulers of the republic of Florence, and ...
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