Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

Shortly after I finished reading and reviewing The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner, I asked him if I could review The Confessions of Catherine de Medici when he was finished writing it. I loved The Last Queen and I wanted more by this talented author.
I'm so glad that he agreed!

In this fictional memoir, Catherine De Medici, the last of the Italian Medicis, is sent to France as a young woman to marry Henri, the son of King Francois. Henri has no interest in Catherine, as he has a mistress, Diane le Poithers, that he is very much in love with. After years of not having a child together due to lack of trying, Catherine is forced to bargain with Diane to have a heir and secure her future in France. They come to an understanding and Diane even stays in the room while Catherine and Henri have sex, coaching them into different positions that will help Catherine become pregnant.

They finally have heirs but what Catherine doesn't bargain for, is that Diane raises her children. The later come to resent Catherine for that arrangement, even though it was beyond her control.

After Henri dies Catherine seizes power to secure the crown for her sons. Four of her sons became King, in succession but Catherine either served as regent or advisor to each of them.. She tried to broker peace and tolerance between the Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots again and again.

History has labelled Catherine De Medci as an evil witch, as Queen of France however, C.W. Gortner shows a different side of her. He treats her in a much more balanced view, as a mother, friend, lover, and Queen. He pulls this off smoothly and keeps the pages turning in a fury to see what happens next.

A lot of the story focused on the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots. Although Gortner had to do this, I thought the story got just a little bit bogged down with all of the details. This is a very minor flaw and otherwise the story seems flawless.

I don't know what Gortner's next book will be about but I can hardly wait! I'd love to review it Christopher.



  1. I loved The Last Queen, and I've been eagerly awaiting this novel (our library hasn't gotten it yet). I am happy to read your review and hear that it's nearly flawless. :-)

  2. I think his next book is supposed to be about Isabella of Spain - that was what I last heard.

  3. I am excited abour the prospect of reading this book! I am hoping to get to it in the next couple of weeks.

  4. I just finished reading this book and it was fabulous. C.W. Gortner did treat Catherine fairly in his book, but I do think she wasn't all that innocent.

  5. Hi, Teddy!

    I finished this up about a week ago. Great book! I'm wondering about Michele Moran's newest. Any idea when that is supposed to be out?

    I hope things are fabulous for you!

  6. I really loved this book and I was intrigued by his portrait of Catherine. I will definitely buy his next book about Isabella when it comes out.

  7. Stephanie and Marg, I think you will really enjoy it.

    Dollygurl, yes I just found that out as well. Should be good.

    Beachreader, I agree.

    Lezlie, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Madame Tussaud is her next novel and it is scheduled to come out in March 2011. It is so good to hear from you. Bill and I are having a lovely summer. BTW, I will be in MN again in November. Hope we can get together again.

    Elizabeth, I can hardly wait for Isabella!