Okay, so I received a few books for Christmas that I can’t help but tell you about. Here’s The Story Woman’s review of another great read:
Once again, C.W. Gortner doesn’t disappoint. The Confessions of Catherine de Medici bring a terrible, bloody time in European history to light through the thoughts and actions of “the Italian Jezebel,” the label her detractors gleefully hung on her. As this intriguing, ambitious, intelligent, often desperate and deceitful woman struggled to maintain Valois–Medici power in France during the 16th century’s religious wars between the Catholics and the Huguenots, I was torn between appreciating Catherine’s heroism and being wary of her insensitivity toward both her immediate family and the thousands of innocent people who perished due to her treacherous, although often ineffective, conniving.
Gortner skillfully marries fact and myth, pairs the seers, Catherine and Nostradamus, and places the duty of royalty above all else, in such a way that I turned page after page deep into the night. Each time I forced myself to put down this book, I could not wait to pick it up again. I was immediately captivated as Gortner described Catherine’s horrific ordeal as a young and tender orphaned child at the hands of the nuns at the Convent of Santa Lucia in Florence. Terrific pain and humiliation would surface again just three years later after she married Henri II of France, as her husband’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, personally orchestrated acts of conception between Henri and Catherine; acts that would bring forth heirs to the throne one way or another. Gortner made me feel her physical pain, as well as the psychological pain of her prophetic visions, but I also felt the sting of her devious edicts as she, in turn, orchestrated the deaths of a past lover and the many formidable foes who dared to cross the path she had charted for herself, her children, and for France. After all was said and done, I wondered if the glory she sought for France was ultimately for personal glorification given what she deemed the destiny de Medici.
I couldn’t find a memoir written by Catherine de Medici, but her memoir would have been more than memorable had she written one.