Catherine de Medici's life is examined in this historical romance by C.W. Gortner. As the final descendant of the famous and infamous Medici family, Catherine is destined for a life of notoriety, if not happiness and contentment. After fleeing from Florence as a child, Catherine ends up in Rome with her uncle Pope Clement. He soon betrothes her to Henri, son of King Francois I of France at the age of thirteen. Henri's heart though belongs to Diane Poitiers, leaving Catherine threatened and manuevering to retain her place in France. After Henri's death, Catherine must use every tool she possesses to maintain her sons' positions as France's rulers.
Gortner has created a standout, must-read novel about one of history's most intriguing, and interesting women. Catherine de Medici has been painted as an evil woman who connived, poisoned, lied, and killed to achieve her means rather than a mother who came to love her adopted homeland and vowed to protect her children's legacy at all means, hampered by the thought of women as the weaker sex, unable to lead a country or think for themselves. C.W. Gortner has a gift for bringing history to life and providing hidden motivations and stories that turn previous villains into more easily sympathized with characters. This author is quickly becoming one of the standout names in historical fiction, and a welcome addition to my bookshelf.
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 beforeher—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 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.