Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Medici's Daughter by Sophie Perinot

Title: Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois
Author: Sophie Perinot
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1st December 2015
Pages: 384
Book Source:
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot's heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother's schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot's wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

My Thoughts: 
I love historical fiction and France's history in particular is rich, vivid and endlessly fascinating. I've read a few novels focused on the formidable Catherine de Medici but this was my first look at the early life of her daughter Marguerite and my first Sophie Perinot novel. Definitely a positive experience.

The story is told from the first person perspective of Marguerite (Margo) and her relationships with her Valois family are front and centre. Mother Catherine de Medici, brothers King Charles IX and Henri Duc d'Anjou (Anjou) ... what a viper's nest.

In this coming-of-age story we follow Marguerite from relative obscurity and innocence to a place at court, in love with the unsuitable Henri, Duc de Guise, a pawn in her family's power struggles and finally in political alliance her marriage to Henri, King of Navarre. 

He smiles again, then looks at me questioningly. "Whatever possessed you to wear that awful wig?" 
"The same demon, Sir, that goaded you to wear yellow."
"Your mother then."
I can't help myself: I laugh.

There is a real sense of Marguerite's growth as the novel progresses, fueled by the machinations and ill-treatment by her family, naivety fast becomes awareness and intelligence and a strong moral compass hold her in good stead challenging her family in doing what she believes is right. 

Set during the throes of the Wars of Religion and culminating in the horrific Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre the slaughter of thousands of Heuguenots (Protestants) viewing this through Marguerite's eyes added a different perspective.

Well written and researched, Perinot does justice to the colorful and bloody history and its players. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Médicis Daughter. Now to hunt down The Sister Queens, I don't think you can OD on French historical fiction.

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  1. I hope I can track this down. Sounds really good.

    1. Hope you get your hands on a copy Mystica, no doubts you'll enjoy it :)

  2. This sounds fantastic! I love that not only do we get to see this history we get to see the character grow. I'll definitely be looking for this one!

    1. Yay Katherine, hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  3. Replies
    1. she's quite fascinating, I can't believe I haven't read about her before now!

  4. Oooh, looks like a fab book! It would be great if you added your review to the Books You Loved: November collection over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

  5. Seems like an excellent window into the history of that time. While not so keen a reader as you are by historical fiction, I can see how it would be fascinating. All I have to say is so glad I didn't live in those times in France.

    1. me too Kathryn, I like my history from the safety of a book's pages lol

  6. Oh this sounds interesting, and I love that it shows her time in court.

    1. hope you manage to get your hands on this one Kimberly, it's a great read if you enjoy French history


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