Queens, queens and more queens
No, not this kind of queen, silly.
This queen. You know, Jeanne Kalogridis' new novel about the infamous French Queen Catherine de Medici, aptly titled The Devil's Queen.
Are you up to speed on ol' Cate? If not, we'll give you the Reader's Respite Version: Catherine de Medici was the wife of French King Henry II (that's pronounced On-REE for you non-French types out there). In the mid-1500's, On-REE kicked the bucket early and Cate stepped in to rule France until her son was old enough to screw up the country without adult supervision.
France in the 16th Century wasn't the best place to be for those who didn't completely agree with the Catholic faith and ol' Cate found herself at odds with the local Protestant gang (in France they were called Huguenots. We won't take the time to explain why, it's in the book.) When a whole mess of Huguenots were slaughtered, Cate took the rap for it, historically speaking that is.
Like most historical figures, Catherine de Medici is either lionized or demonized, depending on the historian (or novelist) doing the talking. Kalogridis takes a pretty intermediate stance in this book, although it does focus heavily on Cate's alleged involvement in witchcraft.
Told from Cate's point of view, the novel covers her life from childhood through her reign of France. While we wouldn't call it a definitive historical piece, it is a good introduction that will serve to whet your appetite about this brilliant, yet oft-demonized, queen. Kalogridis kept our interest throughout the story, chiefly by never really committing to "good queen" or "bad queen." She falls somewhere in the middle around "misunderstood queen."
All in all, an adequate novel.
Interested? Leave us a comment and then check back here on September 30th to see if you are our randomly-chosen winner! (International readers always welcome to enter!)