Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review - Médicis Daughter


Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

By: Sophie Perinot
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: December 2015
ISBN: 978-1-250-07209-2
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 7, 2016

Sophie Perinot focuses on the house of Valois and pens an intriguing and historical account of sixteenth-century France in her latest novel, Médicis Daughter.
The year is 1564 and Princess Margot is called to the court of France by her overbearing and burdensome mother, Madame la Serpente, also known as Queen Catherine de Medicis. She is a force to reckon with in a land rife with religious war. Margot’s role is to be the subject of marriage in her formidable mother’s plan. While her love and life belongs to the Duc de Guise, her hand in marriage will be brokered to Henri of Navarre. He is a Huguenot leader and they are at the headwaters of what will deposit their legacy into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

How is it so difficult for Queen Catherine to recognize the undeniable devotion and loyalty Princess Margot has for her? Perhaps the reality is Margot has spent her life vying for the attentions and approvals of a woman barren of emotions unless personal gain were the prize to acquire. Peace may be the goal in these tumultuous times, but it is all it will ever be; a desire for tranquility and the reality, a mirage in the middle of the Dessert Sahara. When Margot begins to connect the dots and realizes the evil that exists in the very souls of her brothers and Queen mother, perhaps it is not too late to achieve what it is she most desires in life. Of course, there will be much bloodshed and loss along the way and perhaps at the end of her journey, it all would have been for naught.

This was an interesting read for me. There is an endorsement of Médicis Daughter comparing it to the likes of Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones and I must confess before I turned to the first page, I was reluctant to want to read this tale given such testament. This is not to say I have an aversion to Game of Thrones. Rather, it is a series that seems to have usurped the general population at best while I have never seen one episode. However, I continued forward, opened the book to page one and from that point forward, was consumed with this story. Ms. Perinot has delivered a beautiful blend of history with an intriguing story line that escalates and consistently gains momentum with the turn of each page. The dialogue is credible to the period of time and her historical facts play out beautifully as the chapters grow in number. There is a terrific cadence throughout that translates to a desire for her audience to naturally engage. I have often associated the importance of the necessity of an author to not only know his or her intended audience, but to also know how to deliver to that same audience as well. Ms. Perinot accomplishes this ten-fold. While the aforementioned is essential in writing a ‘winning tale,’ it is also vitally important that the package complements the contents. Ms. Perinot gets an A+ on all fronts: the formatting is superb, the length spot on and the care, focus and attention to delivering all of the above in true class fashion is evident. Bravo Ms. Perinot. I look forward to the next of (hopefully) many reads to come.

Quill says: While Médicis Daughter is rich and appeals first and foremost to Renaissance historians, it is a title that offers hours of enjoyable reading for anyone who seeks a solid, darn good book to read!