Review: Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

4 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Médicis Daughter will be released on December 1, 2015, and I highly recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction.  Especially anyone interested in the Valois dynasty or Catherine de Medici.

This novel follows the young and beautiful Princess Marguerite, or Margot to her close friends and family, as she makes her way to the court of her brother King Charles IX in 1564.  She quickly learns the unspoken rules of the court and the terrifying machinations of her powerful family.

Margot becomes a pawn, used by her family to create alliances or to bring warring families to heel.  Her mother and her brother, the king, want to bring more power to their family and to increase the power of France.  Margot becomes an unwilling participant in their quest.

The young Princess soon finds herself falling in love with the powerful Duc de Guise, a member of the royal court and heir to the Lorraine family.  But despite their love for one another, he is not powerful enough for the King and his mother.  So Margot is bargained off to Henri of Navarre, leader of the Huguenots and in the eyes of the ruling powers of France, a heretic..

During this time, France is divided and a fragile peace had been achieved with the marriage of Margo and Henri of Navarre.  But this does not last.  The story culminates with the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre where thousands of Protestants were killed by rioting Catholics incensed by the marriage of their Princess to a heretic.  At the head of this revolt, and pleased with the outcome, are Catherine de Medici and the King of France.  Which side will Margot take?

This story is told in first person, from Margot’s point of view.  You are able to see life through her eyes and her emotions as she grows up in the court of her brother and used as a pawn at every turn.  I don’t normally enjoy first person narratives, but I found myself truly enjoying Margot’s voice as she grew from an awestruck young girl to a formidable Queen in her own right.

The research was meticulous and while this is historical fiction, you can tell that the author truly took the time to learn about the people she was writing about and the time that they lived in.  You were given a rich and descriptive display of what court life may have been like for Margot and her contemporaries.

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and anyone who loves a good glimpse into what life was like back in the heyday of the 16th century.

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