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.
I found Medicis Daughter to be a riveting exploration of the life of Marguerite De Valois, or Margot, as she is called in the book. Her mother, Catherine de Medici, is a power to be reckoned with. At first, Margot is simply a political pawn in the elaborate and violent political strategies of her mother and brothers, King Charles and Henri, Duke of Anjou. But as the novel progresses, and as Margot grows up and starts to figure out what kind of person she wants to be, she grows as a human being and as a woman. I don't know if Margot really grew into the woman portrayed in the novel, but I hope she did.
At first, I found Margot to be what I tend to think of as a typical young woman at court - concerned with the handsome young men and easily persuaded to behave in certain ways that may be advantageous to the powerful people around her. I didn't understand the appeal of Guise, except that he was a handsome face. However, Margot is smitten and much of her actions and loyalties concern him. Growing into adulthood surrounded by the powerful and unscrupulous people at court and especially her own family certainly must have been difficult.
I found the portrayal of Margot to by sympathetic and I enjoyed the details of life at court and the insights into Margot's thinking. I think Perinot did a nice job of providing enough background history for the volatile period in history. I have long been interested in the French Wars of Religion and Medicis Daughter fits nicely into the timeline. I love that Perinot chose to write a novel about Margot - I think she is an interesting historical character and isn't given much attention.
There are some interesting events that are conjecture on the part of the author -- but I think they work well within the historical record and in the plot line of the novel. I won't mention them, because at least one is a huge spoiler - but I thought it fit with the reputation of the family and the period.
I would happily suggest Medicis Daughter to any readers who enjoy historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy historical fiction about France. This was definitely a worthwhile read and as with all good historical fiction, it inspired me to continue reading about the period and people.
Advance Praise“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” --Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY
"The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!" --Michelle Moran, bestselling author of THE REBEL QUEEN
"Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot's epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright." --Erika Robuck, bestselling author of HEMINGWAY'S GIRL
An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times.
Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook.
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