BY SOPHIE PERINOT
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
“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
Catherine de Médicis, Margot's mother, has a fierce political mind. Perinot had a way of exposing the queen's ruthlessness over time and through the eyes of an adoring child and how it began to change.
I admit, the unnatural closeness between siblings made me very uncomfortable, but it suited the story and even was a great explanation for the siblings closeness to be ripped apart so suddenly. It also shaped Margot's view on men and of those she sought to keep in her company, by either friendship or something more. Relating to Margot is an easy thing. Especially in a world where women are often discriminated against. If a man desires a woman, it's because "she's asking for it", and so on. Margot, herself, is intelligent, pretty and a character you can pity one second and root for the next.
There's also an engrossing, and engaging, love story. I was quite taken with Margot's earliest love story, the one that eventually spins a chain of events (though not all because of this union), that comes to a head. The War of Religion is in full force and when the union between a Protestant and a Catholic is suggested, it brings the bloody war to their doorstep. Margot is a pawn throughout most of the story, though she's not a stupid one and its when she fights back that I think she's found her footing. I had to go and research her after reading this book. That's the problem with historical fiction, the spoilers are just a Google search away, but I realized I didn't want to know and read the book in its entirety before spending hours on historical sites.
I think one of my favorite side characters was Henriette, as she provides sound advice and is probably Margot's closest confidant. She was witty, funny and logical. She also seemed to be able to pull off many sneaky feats with all of her eyes and ears around the palace. I also came to really, really hate Margot's family. They were indeed treacherous and they forced Margot to play a game I think she'd rather have avoided if she could. One scene in particular, which is also noted in history, is gut-twisting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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 onFacebook.