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La Regina Maledetta (2008)

by Jeanne Kalogridis(Favorite Author)
3.89 of 5 Votes: 4
8830426865 (ISBN13: 9788830426863)
review 1: I've really been into historical books lately, and it might be just a funny coincidence that my latest reads in this genre both regard the same queen: Catherine de Medici. Known under a lot of different names, including Devil's Queen, why not, she is the one behind the massacre on Saint Bartholomew's Night, that ended up in thousand of deaths and with a change in the french dynasties.I really liked this book, and I especially like the fact that here is depicted her whole life, from the moment when she was just a young girl living in Florence, under the protection of her aunt (which I loved terribly), but never out of danger, as a civil war had her imprisoned for a big part of her childhood. You see all the steps of her evolution, the way she had to come to terms with what ... moreothers decided for her future, the way she grew cold and ready to sacrifice anything for what she thought was right. You see her becoming the queen that had to be fierce enough to make others listen to her, but kind enough to receive the love and adoration a monarch needed for a peaceful reign. I like Catherine de Medici as a historical figure in general, but I especially love when she is depicted in books, when it's used the first person narrative. I feel close to a person that otherwise is nothing but a cold portrait in a long row of rulers. I admire her for her determination, for her desperate search to love and to find happiness. She was the most human of all, in her sometimes purely egoistic needs or wise decisions. I love her both as a ruler that did her best, as well as a woman who had to survive in a world that listened only to the word of the men. But this book is more about the mystic Catherine, the astrolog and believer in magic Catherine. Here, the history is closely related to "devilish" practices, to blood sacrifices, to magic charms. Here, life can be bought by demons and given to those who are brave enough to make the "right" thing. I still don't know if I liked this aspect of the book, or not, but it felt weird to me. The story, real story, suddenly lost its realism by adding this detail, and unfortunately, I am looking for that realism in the books I am reading. But 'The Devil's Queen' made me feel something, made me think of the characters' situations and analyze them closely. It sucked me in, left me breathless and desperate to know more, even if the main ideas were already known by me. It felt like a race against time, in hope I will get to the ending faster than the story itself, so maybe I could bring a change. It was that kind of intense reading, that makes you forget you're actually reading, and deems you unable to do anything else besides thinking of what's next, when you're not reading.The author's style is also very fitting for these kind of books. Maybe a little simpler than I expected, it was obvious that the writer made their homework, as the terms regarding astrology and royal matters were impressive. Also, for some of the sadder scenes (because unfortunately, such a few rulers managed to be happy during their lives!), I felt the pain just as strongly as the first time I found out about them, for even with a simple style, the writer still managed to stir something inside me. I could feel the exact same raw feelings as the characters; somehow a link between me and the story & characters was created. And even now, after I finished reading the book, I am still stuck in that world. I disliked a few of the details at the end of the book, and this might be the greatest disappointment this book brought me: the ending. There are a few things that I could complain about, but these aren't as important as the good things this book managed to bring to the world.Catherine de Medici still has my love and admiration, and so does this book, for it managed to portray the queen pleasantly.
review 2: (3.5 stars) This historical fiction is about the life of Catherine de Medici. As a child, her astrological chart indicated a difficult and dangerous life. Throughout her life she is supported by the astrologer, Ruggieri who is willing to do anything to protect her, including the dark arts. Catherine survives political imprisonment in dire conditions until the tides turn and her supporters are back on top. But instead of ruling her beloved Florence, she is sent to marry Henri, a prince of France. She is challenged by Henri's lack of interest in her and her inability to produce an heir. When Henri acquires a mistress, Catherine steps up to secure her position within the royal family. As time moves forward she gains in her power, and we see the historic clashes between the Catholics and the Huguenots begin to come to a head, leading to tragedy. This was an interesting perspective on the historical period. In comparison to The Scarlet Contessa, this one had less bodice ripping and more mystical content. less
Reviews (see all)
A novelization of Catherine Medici's life, this was a fun read. I forget how much I enjoy historical fiction until I read one of them. The narrative, which starts in Florence at Medici ground zero takes the reader through papal intrigue and rebellion in Italy to Catherine's marriage to the eventual dauphin of the French crown and into her rein as both Queen and mother to future kings. She's a modern-day feminist with some occult thrown in for good measure. It's been a while since I read a book that I had a hard time putting down. This is definitely one of those.
This is a fascinating, easy to read, fictionalized account of one of the most powerful women in history. The evil seems to swirl around this woman who at times could be humble and self effacing. The book is a good look at the intrigue and duplicity involved in the court of France as well as the wars that ravaged the papacy and France. It also provides a good look at the intelligence of Catherine, her belief in horoscopes, and her tainted offspring.
Enjoyable read: racey moments, inhumane characters, history of French rulers.
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