The Confessions of Catherine De Medici

The Confessions of Catherine De Medici

A Novel

Book - 2010
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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 history's 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 family's 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 husband's 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 her-a 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 chteaux 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.  
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345501868
0345501861
Branch Call Number: F Gor

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c
CrochetCat374
Aug 03, 2016

C.W. Gortner has written some of my favorite Renaissance novels, and I really enjoyed this one. He brought the story of the infamous Catherine de Medici to life, showing through this fictional novel the forces that shaped her decisions and the complexity of her personality. Lots of court drama, political intrigue, and accurate historical details on the bloody conflict between Protestants and Catholics that tore France apart in the 16th century.

t
tnscott
Jun 28, 2016

LOVED this book!!!

s
sunnye1988
May 28, 2013

When will this book become a movie?

d
dstarr
Aug 08, 2012

This is an extraordinarily-researched book. Gortner breathes real life into this woman who belongs in history. If you like Phillipa Gregory, you'll like this one.

h
hweinert
Jul 31, 2012

Trying to brush up on the French monarchy in a fun way, I found this book. It is difficult and streches credulity to imagine Catherine de Medici as a sympathetic character. Ambitious, yes. Scheming, yes. Expedient, yes. And what unpleasant character in history views him or herself as evil? Still, many events are correct and it makes entertaining reading.

AnneDromeda Sep 29, 2011

For fans of historical fiction writers like Philippa Gregory, or television series like <i>The Tudors</i> or <i>The Borgias</i>, I have good news! A relatively new author has emerged with the same spellbinding ability to piece together the remarkable personal lives of legendary historical figures. California author C.W. Gortner uses the same basic formula as Philippa Gregory – a first-person narrative of the life of a major historical figure – to great advantage.<br />

In <i>The Confessions of Catherine de Medici</i>, Gortner tackles the incredible life of his titular subject with thorough research and empathic zeal. A contemporary of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I of England, Catherine de Medici suffers a traumatic childhood courtesy of the religious uprisings against her uncle, the corrupt Pope Clement VII. When these uprisings finally take everything from Catherine, she is coldly traded in marriage to Henri, son of the king of France. After the deaths of Henri’s father and older brother, Catherine finds herself queen of a nation torn between Catholicism and the Huguenots, facing changeable allies willing to exploit France’s strife to their own glory.<br />

Her reign as Queen and Queen Mother is legendary for ruthlessness and bloodthirsty diplomatic techniques. However, as Gortner notes in his author’s afterword, his research revealed a very different side of her, one that would protect her family and France at all costs. Gortner’s weaving of grizzly elements like the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre with his version of Catherine’s inner dialogue constructs a character of surprising compassion, whatever her other flaws (which are fortunately many, and thoroughly engrossing). <br />

Gortner also doesn’t shy away from some of the more salacious rumours about Catherine’s time in power. Her alleged propensity for second sight is investigated, as is her tumultuous affair with Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny. These are just a couple examples – for a woman as committed to her family and country as Catherine was, she lived in an uncompromising age and was often forced to make impossible choices. Within these pages lie more betrayal, intrigue, lust and murder than even the most outrageous soap operas could aspire to include. Gortner glamours his readers with thorough research draped in captivating language, creating a fascinating cast of characters with their own distinct voices. For fans of the historical fiction genre, <i>The Confessions of Catherine de Medici</i> is a dishy, ripping read almost guaranteed to satisfy.

b
Basileus
Sep 06, 2011

Out of all the historical fiction I have read with Catherine de Medici as a character, I find this novel gets closer to the truth of her character than any other novel. Hero or villian? History certainly hasn't been kind to Catherine's reputation. She certainly did employ ruthless tactics to get what she wanted, which was namely peace in France and her sons thrones stable. So if you enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read.

t
tcb2011
Aug 25, 2011

I loved this book. It had all the right elements of a great story.. Most defiently worth reading..

Mallory_MPL Feb 11, 2011

Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) is one of history's most powerful women. She was born into the powerful Italian family, the Medici's, and wed King Henri II of France. After his death she went on to rule as Regent for her three underage King sons. History has depicted her as power-hungry monster, poisoning and murdering to gain and maintain control over the French throne, and at times using dark magic to meet her ends. After the death of Henri II, she began the struggle of her life-keeping one son after the other on the throne through the religious wars that threatened to tear France apart.

This well-researched novel presents Catherine as a woman who is passionate, dignified, yet naive. Most of her decisions following her husband's death are made to keep peace in France or safeguard her children. However, she is held responsible for the 1572 St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, in which thousands of French Protestants were slaughtered.
Gortner painted such a vivid picture of his Catherine de Medici that it will make you second guess her reputation. My only critisism is that since Gortner fit her entire life into 400 pages some parts seemed to just skim the surface. A conflict would arise and then it would be 10 pages later, and years later in the story and it would no longer matter. But all in all this is a story historical fiction fans will love!

t
Tbaby
Dec 27, 2010

got halfway through an had to return will check out later

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AnneDromeda Sep 29, 2011

For fans of historical fiction writers like Philippa Gregory, or television series like <i>The Tudors</i> or <i>The Borgias</i>, I have good news! A relatively new author has emerged with the same spellbinding ability to piece together the remarkable personal lives of legendary historical figures. California author C.W. Gortner uses the same basic formula as Philippa Gregory – a first-person narrative of the life of a major historical figure – to great advantage.<br />

In <i>The Confessions of Catherine de Medici</i>, Gortner tackles the incredible life of his titular subject with thorough research and empathic zeal. A contemporary of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I of England, Catherine de Medici suffers a traumatic childhood courtesy of the religious uprisings against her uncle, the corrupt Pope Clement VII. When these uprisings finally take everything from Catherine, she is coldly traded in marriage to Henri, son of the king of France. After the deaths of Henri’s father and older brother, Catherine finds herself queen of a nation torn between Catholicism and the Huguenots, facing changeable allies willing to exploit France’s strife to their own glory.<br />

Her reign as Queen and Queen Mother is legendary for ruthlessness and bloodthirsty diplomatic techniques. However, as Gortner notes in his author’s afterword, his research revealed a very different side of her, one that would protect her family and France at all costs. Gortner’s weaving of grizzly elements like the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre with his version of Catherine’s inner dialogue constructs a character of surprising compassion, whatever her other flaws (which are fortunately many, and thoroughly engrossing). <br />

Gortner also doesn’t shy away from some of the more salacious rumours about Catherine’s time in power. Her alleged propensity for second sight is investigated, as is her tumultuous affair with Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny. These are just a couple examples – for a woman as committed to her family and country as Catherine was, she lived in an uncompromising age and was often forced to make impossible choices. Within these pages lie more betrayal, intrigue, lust and murder than even the most outrageous soap operas could aspire to include. Gortner glamours his readers with thorough research draped in captivating language, creating a fascinating cast of characters with their own distinct voices. For fans of the historical fiction genre, <i>The Confessions of Catherine de Medici</i> is a dishy, ripping read almost guaranteed to satisfy.

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