Synopses & Reviews
Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomews Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is brought to life by Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Bride.
Born into one of Florences most powerful families, Catherine was soon left a fabulously rich orphan. Violent conflict tore apart the city state and she found herself imprisoned before finally being released and married off to the handsome Prince Henri of France. Overshadowed by her husbands mistress, the gorgeous, conniving Diane de Poitiers, and unable to bear children, Catherine resorted to the dark arts of sorcery to win Henris love and enhance her fertility—for which she would pay a price. Against the lavish and decadent backdrop of the French court, and Catherines blood-soaked visions of the future, Kalogridis reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband, Henri, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne.
Praise for The Devils Queen
“Kalogridis nails the palace intrigue and lush pageantry of the Renaissance.”—Publishers Weekly
“Kalogridis puts a human face on one of the most reviled women in history.” —Booklist
“A sweeping, dynamic novel of a woman who was both powerful and powerless in the life she lived. . . . Beautifully written and impeccably researched, The Devils Queen is a giant of a novel about a giant of a woman.” —Romance Reviews Today
“I enjoyed the book immensely. . . . It is very well written and well worth the time it will take to read. Be sure to have enough time to sit and actually get into it . . . it will keep you enthralled.”—NightOwlRomance.com
Praise for The Borgia Bride
“From sexual passion to mortal danger, the dramatic shift of real historical events will keep the reader turning the pages.” —Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl
“Entertaining.” —USA Today
Praise for I, Mona Lisa
“Kalogridiss fevered bodice ripper invents a passionate woman behind La Giocondas enigmatic smile.” —Publishers Weekly
In her latest historical fiction bestseller, Kalogridis tells the story of Caterina, a tender young girl who would grow up to become Catherine de Medici, one of the most maligned monarchs in history.
About the Author
Jeanne Kalogridis lives with her partner on the West Coast, where they share a house with two dogs. She is the author of The Borgia Bride, The Scarlet Contessa, and other dark fantasy and historical novels. Born in Florida, Kalogridis has a B.A. in Russian and a masters in linguistics, and taught English as a second language at The American University for eight years before retiring to write full-time.
Reading Group Guide
1. What did you know about Catherine de Medici— either from your own studies, or as portrayed in popular film/television adaptations—before reading The Devils Queen? How, if at all, did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history? 2. What do you see as Catherines most and least admirable qualities? 3. To what extent do you think Jeanne Kalogridis took artistic liberties with this work? What does it take for a novelist to bring a “real” period to life? 4. Discuss the nature of fact versus fiction in The Devils Queen. You may wish to take this opportunity to compare it with other historical novels youve read (as a group or on your own). 5. Catherine was orphaned at an early age, raised by an unaffectionate aunt, imprisoned for years, and misused by her cousin, Ippolito. What possible impact could such traumatic events have had on a childs character? How do you think they affected Catherine? 6. What made Catherine capable of the ritual murder of an innocent? Was she evil at heart, or was her act understandable, if not justifiable? 7. Wicked, bloodthirsty, scheming...many adjectives have been used by historians to describe Catherine de Medicis character. What words would you use to describe her? 8. Take a moment to talk about Catherines roles— as a prisoner, a marriage pawn, a princess, a queen, and later a regent—in Renaissance society. How was Catherine different from other women of her era? Do you think she was a “woman ahead of her time”? 9. As an astrologer and practitioner of magic, Catherine believed in fate. Do you believe that she could have taken a different course of action to avoid the St. Bartholomews Day Massacre, or was it inevitable? If not, what steps could she have taken to stop it? 10. Why do modern readers enjoy novels about the past? How and when can a powerful piece of fiction be a history lesson in itself? 11. We are taught, as young readers, that every story has a moral. Is there a moral to The Devils Queen? What can we learn about our world—and ourselves from Catherines story?