Wednesday, June 23, 2010

18. CATHERINE DE MEDICI: RENAISSANCE QUEEN OF FRANCE - Leonie Frieda


When my friend, Becky, showed me photos of a trip to Italy, I didn't fully understand the role of the Medici family and took her advice on reading material. This lead me to Catherine, who became queen of France and is one of the most fascinating of the Medicis.

Frieda writes non-fiction like fiction, telling history with warmth and deep descriptions. From the flowers in the gardens to the weather, the divine detail made me forget I was reading a biography.

Catherine de Medici was best known for using sorcery, astrology, and necromancy to bring down her enemies and raise her husband, King Henri, and her sons. However, many of the tales about Catherine are tamed in this biography with explanations using her background, health, and examples from the era.

Overall, it was a fascinating look at a powerful woman whom I had only known as Diane de Poitiers enemy in prior books. The drawings of the "real" Diane were enough to satisfy my royal history urges for a few weeks.


4.0 out of 5.0 French Connections.

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