Nine novels about two French Renaissance Queens! What a delightful array to choose among when you next want something to read. Especially when they’re about the two most notorious queens of the period Catherine de Medici and her daughter, Marguerite de Valois. So it should be no surprise they dominate historical fiction in English written about the period, although two other women are catching up: Diane de Poitiers and Anne of Brittany.
Below you will find a brief summary of each and a link to Amazon* where you can buy it, if it appeals.
Queen Catherine de Medici
These four historical novel tell the story of Catherine de Medici,France’s most reviled queen. Jean Plaidy’s books are older but she remains one of the Grand Ladies of historical fiction so I am delighted to find her books available again and as ebooks moreover. Jeanne Kalogridis is a more recent writer who sees a ruthless queen.
The Devil’s Queen A Novel of Catherine de Medici, by Jeanne Kalogridis is available as an ebook. Kalogridis reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband Henry, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne.
Madame Serpent: Catherine de Medici Vol 1, by Jean Plaidy, is once again available as an ebook. Sullen-eyed and broken-hearted, fourteen-year-old Catherine de’Medici rode into France. She was to marry Henry of Orleans, second son of the King, at the most immoral court in 16th century Europe
The Italian Women: Catherine de Medici Vol 2, by Jean Plaidy, is once again available as an ebook. Henry II is dead, and Catherine is now QueenRegent. But this spirited, somewhat morally decrepit woman is loved by few, if any. Although her children are terrified of her, Catherine will scheme – and kill – to keep the Medici line on the throne
Queen Jezabel: Catherine de Medici Vol 3, by Jean Plaidy, is once again available as an ebook. Catherine flitted from side to side in every issue, supporting whoever could best suit her needs and ambitions. Now in the twilight of her life, Catherine is not even trusted by her children
Queen Marguerite de Valois
Marguerite the Valois is one of France’s most gossiped about queens. Both these authors are excellent writers and take the time to research their characters. I love their books.
Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois, by Sophie Perinot, Thomas Dunne Books (2015) is available as ebook Beautiful Princess Margot walks the knife-edge between the demands of her dangerous family, and the demands of her own conscience. The novel is a “coming-of-age” tale. In it, the princess learns to slay her own dragons.
Hostage Queen (Marguerite de Valois Book 1), by Frieda Lightfoot [Marion Carr], Noiram Press (2012) is available as an ebook Marguerite de Valois, the most beautiful woman at Court, is the subject of great intrigue. She loves Henri of Guise. Instead, her mother marries her to Henry of Navarre to bring peace to the realm.
Reluctant Queen (Marguerite de Valois Book 2), by Frieda Lightfoot [Marion Carr], Noiram Press (2012) is available as an ebook. In 16th-century France, Gabrielle d Estrée wishes to marry for love. Instead, her mother sells her as a mistress to three different men. Then she catches the eye and the heart of King Henry IV of France. Henry promises to marry her, but Gabrielle discovers it’s not easy. Henry’s wife will only divorce him if he promises not to marry Gabrielle.
The Queen and the Courtesan (Marguerite de Valois Book 3) Frieda Lightfoot [Marion Carr], Noiram Press (2012) is available as an ebook. Henriette d’Entragues isn’t satisfied with being King Henry IV’s mistress. She wants a crown too. King Henry promises to marry her but must face political necessity. He allies himself with Marie de Medici, an Italian princess. She brings riches to the treasury. But Henriette doesn’t give up easily.