The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel

Kobo ebook | May 25, 2010

byC. W. Gortner

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BONUS: This edition contains a The Confessions of Catherine de Medici discussion guide and an excerpt from C.W. Gortner's The Queen's Vow.

The truth is, not one of us is innocent. We all have sins to confess. So reveals Catherine de Medici, the last legitimate descendant of her family’s illustrious line. Expelled from her native Florence, Catherine is betrothed to Henri, son of François I of France. In an unfamiliar realm, Catherine strives to create a role for herself through her patronage of the famous clairvoyant Nostradamus and her own innate gift as a seer. But in her fortieth year, Catherine is widowed, left alone with six young children in a kingdom torn apart by the ambitions of a treacherous nobility. Relying on her tenacity, wit, and uncanny gift for compromise, Catherine seizes power, intent on securing the throne for her sons, unaware that if she is to save France, she may have to sacrifice her ideals, her reputation, and the secret of her embattled heart.

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BONUS: This edition contains a The Confessions of Catherine de Medici discussion guide and an excerpt from C.W. Gortner's The Queen's Vow.The truth is, not one of us is innocent. We all have sins to confess. So reveals Catherine de Medici, the last legitimate descendant of her family’s illustrious line. Expelled from her native Florenc...

Format:Kobo ebookPublished:May 25, 2010Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345521943

ISBN - 13:9780345521941

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Customer Reviews of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A phenomenal read.
Date published: 2013-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Confessions of Catherine de Medici THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, by C.W. Gortner is by far the clearest, out-of the box-take on this usually overly vilified queen of France. This in depth biography-type novel reveals a Catherine that not many people know- and that in itself is incredibly original as well as refreshing. The Catherine in Gortner’s book has been researched to the max- and although the author took the liberty of slightly altering names and events for creativity and flowing purposes (this merely avoided the encumbrance of an historical index of names appearing just for the sake of accuracy- and I appreciated that!), the history is impeccably spot-on. Bravo for a novel that stuck to its essence while bringing us so much more! How can this Catherine be so different? Well, for one, THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI, portrays an all-around complete Catherine; woman, mother, queen, lover, friend , ruler, patriot, and ultimate monarch. The emotions alone, that each of these roles entail are enormous and not always easy to convey in a novel; especially when written in the first person. Magically, Gortner achieves this to perfection. Is it possible to love Catherine, when history has done everything possible to morph her into an absolute monster? When you read the how’s and why’s of Catherine’s actions, you begin to understand the person behind the story. It’s often easier to hold on to shock images that create an impact effect rather than to delve into the intricacies of the history itself. After reading Gortner’s magnificent novel, I understood the history so much better. The details in Catherine’s life, France, her children, the political situation, the religion!- all in flawless account, like layers of a collage with Catherine woven into its web, this story opens up a whole new dimension into France’s ruling family of the time. And, if after reading this novel you still can’t find it in you to love Catherine- I guarantee you’ll begin to sympathize with her in ways you’ve never imagined. So many facets to this woman: Catherine was headstrong for her nation, yet showed vulnerability in the face of love. She kept strong for her husband and endured the belittlement and embarrassment caused by his mistress and that whole awkward situation. She arranged marriages for her offspring with the nation in mind- yet had immeasurable love for them and an acceptance of their choices which was unparallel of her time (Her love for her son, Henri, poured unconditionally-beautiful!). Catherine had an uncanny foresight for great things, but sadly never had anyone to completely share her own doubts, needs, fears and- love. The enlightenment that no religion should divide a country and that France was all her people, not only Catholics-this too was grand. I have to admit that I never truly believed the Jezebel portrayal, so I was especially glad to read this fantastic novel which revealed Catherine as a woman of immense substance. I now see Catherine as a woman and ruler who sacrificed all for the ultimate good of France- a huge responsibility which she took charge of with all her might. Her focus never deviating from her purpose –no matter the cost. I happen to love this quote from the book; Catherine while on her deathbed: “...I’ve had ample opportunity to reflect on this unseen entity who guides our path and to ponder why he has seen fit to test me so. Have I not struggled as much as any other for my blood? Others live fewer years; accomplish a mere fraction of what I have; and yet they sit enthroned with halos about their brows, while I sink like a villain in my own calumny. As I wait the inevitable, I see the sometimes enemies and accomplices, each martyr to their cause. Important as they were in life, through death they have become legend. And I ask myself, What legend will history inscribe for me? Read Catherine as you’ve never read before – It’s time history got a dusting-Thank you C.W. Gortner for polishing it to a shine. EXCELLENT!
Date published: 2012-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from History and Fiction mix for a great tale~!! The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is an historical fictional account of one of France's most notorious Queens. Catherine is a very loyal child, she understands her role in the political aspirations of her Medici family name. Even at a young age, she realizes that her destiny is one of greatness. Having the gift of 'sight', she becomes a very superstitious person, who sees signs and portents and dabbles in magical arts. Her uncle, Pope Clement, has betrothed her to the King of France's second son, Henri d'Orleans. She has no love for this man, but her duty requires her to stand strong in faith and with much determination, she makes the best of her situation. Ingraining herself into France's culture, she emerges as a champion of the countries soil. Amidst strife, and massacres like the one of St. Bartholomew, she must find her way. After several years of unsuccessfully producing an heir, Catherine becomes afraid for her future, however, King Francois I, has a special place in his heart for her, in another time, they may have been man and wife. He assures Catherine that she will produce him many fine grandchildren and Catherine is determined to fix her place in the royal family. Prince Henri believes he has married beneath himself and for many years, successfully ignores his marriage duties. His long time mistress, Diane de Poirtiers, keeps him away from court, and no matter what Catherine does to entice her husband, she fails. Ordered by his father to perform his marital duties, he dispassionately rapes her. However, no heir was produced and the two struggle to remain faithful to their duties. When Diane realizes her only hope to remain mistress is to encourage Henri of impregnating Catherine, the two begin to successfully produce the heirs that France so desperately yearn for. Catherine turns to magics to help her produce an heir and keep her husband coming to her bed, tired of court discussing her barreness. Whether they were successful or not, after eight years of non-production, Catherine goes on to birth six children. They are her life's passion and in her mother's undying love, she fails to see the jealousy and hidden innuendos amongst her own children. Diane continues to add strife to Catherine's life by having a hand in the raising of her children, sometimes adding fuel to the fire, discouraging Catherine's children from fully loving their mother. Catherine de Medici is a woman of many mysteries and C. W. Gortner has given her a different portrayal, of the woman beneath the rumours. Beginning from when she is a child, we read her thoughts and positions as she grows into womanhood and as she ages with time we learn of another possibility behind what made Catherine motivate herself to do the things she did. I truly enjoyed the book, the flow was excellent, the characters believable in their mannerisms and dialogues. I thought the passages descriptive and easily found myself envisioning the surroundings being described. I enjoyed C. W. Gortner's portrayal of Catherine, so much in history has her painted as an evil witch who poisoned those at her fancy, who controlled and manipulated everyone to her will, even when her judgements were lacking. Seeing her being portrayed as neither victim nor heroine but as a woman who has accepted what life has offered her and making the best of what is being presented to her. I was equally impressed with the graphic nature of some scenes, the author doesn't coat the facts when it comes to histories account of situations involving the players mentioned throughout the books pages. The references to the historical data being shared was interesting to read, such as Nostradamus, the religious persecutions of the Huguenots happening in France at the time, or the hostilities between Catherine and her daughter. Catherine de Medici becomes endearing to the reader through C. W. Gortner's portrayal. We learn that even though one wishes for the best outcomes, judgement and the machinations of those around you sometimes play a hand in even the best of plans. I found the story to be gripping, filled with mystery and magic and even though we know the outcome through history, I couldn't help turning the pages to see what happened next.
Date published: 2011-06-22