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The Confessions of Catherine de Medici:

A Novel

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From C. W. Gortner, acclaimed author of The Last Queen, comes an ambitious and gripping new novel about the dramatic, tragic, and misunderstood life of one of history’s most powerful and influential women: Catherine de Medici.

To some, she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others, she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. In this brilliantly imagined novel, acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power.

From the fairy-tale chateaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.

Editorial Reviews

“The notorious Catherine de Medici emerges as a flesh-and-blood woman in this masterful recounting of her life. C.W. Gortner has an uncanny ability to delve into the intense humanness of his characters.”

Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author

“An intriguing and provocative book about one of history’s most controversial queens and the turbulent world of 16th century France.”

Sharon Penman, author of The Devil's Brood

“Thrilling and original…a dramatic portrait of a brilliant queen and a realm divided by dissension.”

Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet     

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is a dramatic, epic novel of an all-too-human woman whose strength and passion propelled her into the center of grand events. Meticulously researched, this engrossing novel offers a fresh portrait of a queen who has too often been portrayed as a villain. Bravo, Mr. Gortner!”

Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B Trilogy and Mistress of the Sun

“Powerful and determined, Catherine de Medici strides across the treacherous glamour of 16th century France in this breathtaking novel…With an exquisite eye for detail and deep sensitivity, Gortner evokes a woman of immense personality and resolve, who never gave up on her children or country. You will not be able to put this book down!”

Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti

“Catherine de Medici uses her natural and supernatural gifts to protect the French throne in Gortner’s (The Last Queen) portrait of a queen willing to sacrifice happiness and reputation to fulfill her family’s royal destiny…Gortner’s is not the first fictional reinterpretation of a historical villainess, but hers is remarkably thoughtful in its insight into an unapologetically ruthless queen.”

Publishers Weekly

“Cassandra Campbell tells this fictionalized account of Catherine’s life with little embellishment in the dialogue or accents of those who surround Catherine. But it is Catherine’s story, and Campbell focuses her attention on the depth of Catherine’s character and her development from the Italian girl who arrived in France to marry the king’s second son. Campbell imbues her voice with determination and maturity as Catherine learns the ways of the court and its politics. Later, we hear harshness in Campbell’s tone as Catherine sees herself losing everything that reminds her of the girl she used to be.”

AudioFile

“In this meticulously researched novel, Gortner (The Last Queen) gives us a Catherine who is passionate yet sometimes naive…While the Catherine depicted here is in some ways similar to Jeanne Kalodigris’ protagonist in The Devil’s Queen, Gortner breathes more life into his queen. Historical fiction fans will appreciate the vivid details of Renaissance France.”

Library Journal

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    • 4/5

    Fascinating!

    MissSusie November 6, 2012
    This is narrated by, Cassandra Campbell and as big fan of hers, I was a bit apprehensive because she doesn’t have a British accent ( Yes, I have a thing that no matter where it is set all historical fiction should be done in a British accent) that being said she was Fantastic and she has changed my stance on this ! Her slight French just the rolling of some r’s and not a full out French accent was absolutely spot on, I was glad she didn’t go into a full accent I don’t know that it would have been believable but the subtly she showed was wonderful.


    A fascinating look at the life of Catherine de Medici, I knew nothing about her before I started this book and have been googling like crazy to see what is fact or fiction. As usual C.W. Gortner has done his homework, of course I’m sure some liberties were taken but that is why this is historical fiction not non-fiction. This is my third book by Gortner and I must say I really enjoy his style, his writing has a nice flow and as I said the man has done his research.


    The more I read about royals the more I see their lives as something not look up to; these people are the epitome of dysfunction. Daughters, were only born to wed someone who will further their Father, Mother, or Brothers political ambitions. They will kill anyone who gets in their way no matter how closely related. They are so controlled by everyone around them that most of the time they can’t make any decisions’ themselves and if they do well, you went against someone else’s ambition so they will make sure you pay for it.


    There were times I felt for Catherine, more so before her husband died but afterwards she wasn’t near as likable and seemed to get less so as her life went on. Some of Catherine’s decisions were questionable and so was her relationship with her children but this was really a sign of the times and pretty much how all royals were with their children. By the end of her life she was so hated by the French, but with what I know of French history it seems there are few French Royals that were liked by the people. But she did have some powerful enemies and really her family didn’t run France the Guise (*sp audio*) did. I was surprised by the appearance of Nostradamus and how much Catherine believed in his prophecies, but I guess they were right sometimes.



    Great author and fabulous narration, I highly recommend this one especially on audio.

    4 ½ Stars
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Author Biography

C. W. Gortner is an American author of historical fiction novels, including the acclaimed The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, as well as three historical mystery in the Spymaster Chronicles series. He holds an MFA in writing with an emphasis in Renaissance studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a medieval Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half Spanish by birth and raised in southern Sprain, he now lives in Northern California.

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Reader Biography

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.

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