Médici's Daughter Blog Tour Schedule
Title: Médici's Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois
Author: Sophie Perinot
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)
Release Date: December 1, 2015
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.
This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” –Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of Lady of the Eternal City
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
Research is a necessary part of writing historical fiction. Sometimes it is also a heck of a lot of fun. Often it leads to strange discoveries. Go to lunch with any collection of historical novelists, and the conversation almost inevitably turns, especially if wine is flowing, to the wonderfully weird things everyone has stumbled upon—the stuff you could never make up in a thousand years because if you did readers would roll their eyes
So, without further ado, here are ten fascinating—or just plain weird—things that I learned while researching my latest novel Médicis Daughter:
#10: A building project underway for eight years was halted based on an astrologer’s prediction In 1564 Catherine de Médicis decided to have a palace built near the Louvre on the sight of some old tile works—the Palace des Tuileries. Its central pavilion and two wings for her own residence were quickly begun. Early in 1572, however, work stopped after one of her astrologers— Cosimo Ruggieri (also known as Roger the ancient) who had arrived in France with Catherine many years before— predicted the Queen would die “near St Germain.” As the Tuileries was part of the diocese of St Germain l'auxerrois, the ever superstitious Catherine decided to live elsewhere, ordering construction of what became the Hôtel de Soissons into which she subsequently moved.
#9: Catherine de Médicis was proud of her beautiful hands Yes, the women who, even when young, nobody (other than a courtier sycophantically seeking favor) would have called attractive, a woman with the bulging eyes of a pug-dog, believed her hands were her best feature. Hey, that actually makes some sense. And she carefully protected and maintained them until her death.
#8: King Charles played horsey During the negotiations of Marguerite’s marriage to her dreaded cousin, Henri of Navarre, the Valois entertained Jeanne d’Abret (Queen of Navarre and Henri de Bourbon’s mother) at the Chateau of Blois. Among the unusual things she witnessed there—King Charles cavorting on his hands and knees with a saddle on his back and his face blackened, playing horsey.
#7: Don Carlos may have been eating disordered Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias (son of King Philip II of Spain and the first groom seriously proposed for Marguerite de Valois) had many behavioral oddities. Among them: he engaged in bouts of self-starvation alternating with binge eating.
#6: Queen Catherine would never have seen Hamlet—and NOT just because it was written after her death. At some point in the mid-1550s when Princess Marguerite was a toddler, Catherine de Médicis got it into her head that tragedies were unlucky for affairs of state and banned them outright. In retrospect, and given the endless French Wars of Religion and death of all of her sons without heirs, it doesn’t look like her theatrical prohibition was effective.
#5 Margot’s husband Henri de Bourbon, Roi de Navarre went from awkward boy to the ultimate ladies’ man. French gentlemen are known for their amorous adventures. But Henri de Bourbon (eventually Henri IV of France) may well lead the pack. One of the books in my research collection—The Favorites of Henry of Navarre by “Le Petit Homme Rouge” (now THAT’S a penname)—names SIXTY lovers for the Bourbon Prince/King. And that list begins in the year of his marriage! It also excludes women not worth mentioning (in other words, servants or women of the lower classes). According to “Petit Homme,” Henri’s love-affairs were “probably more numerous than those of any other King of France, not even excepting Louis XV.” So much for Henri’s breath smelling like garlic.
#4 Most people in France did not speak French. Go ahead and read that again, I’ll wait. At the time the Edict of Villers-Cotterets (1539) made French the language for all legal and official documents, it was the minority spoken language in France. It remained so throughout the reign of the Valois and beyond (until the 1700s as a matter of fact).
#3: The Princesse de Porcien believed crucifixion was a fitting end for her former lovers. Well at least in art. This lady, who eventually became the Duchesse de Guise, cuckolded her first husband repeatedly and then had the bizarre habit of having former lovers portrayed in her devotional book (her Book of Hours) crucified. I find that both daring and hysterical. If I had been a gentleman of the French court I think I would have steered well clear of the Princess.
#2: Henri, Duc d’Anjou (eventually Henri III of France) married a woman who looked like his deceased former lover. One of his female lovers that is, as Henri was a man who enjoyed lovers of both genders. Although he’d known the Princesse de Condé (Marie de Clèves) for months without taking much notice of her, the Duc d’Anjou fell violently in love with Marie during celebrations surrounding his sister Marguerite’s marriage. Henri hoped that either Marie would be widowed (after all her husband was a heretic and in the 1570s they were dying like flies), or that he could divorce her from her husband, so that he could marry her himself. But Marie died before any such plan could be implemented. The woman Henri finally married, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudemont, bore a marked resemblance to Marie. But that is not creepy—no, not at all.
#1: Neighborhood hit lists come in really handy once a massacre starts. While historians debate whether the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was premeditated (and I agree with those who do not believe it was planned prior to Marguerite’s wedding), one thing is certain: lots of Parisian citizens had a pretty good idea who they wanted to kill once things got rolling. Secret censuses of Protestant inhabitants had been compiled from tax roles in each of the sixteen districts (some Catholic fanatics clearly had too much time on their hands). Beyond this, every citizen with a grudge against a Protestant neighbor (or in many cases a Catholic one) set out to settle the score. Pure avarice played a role as well. The gem dealers and jewelers f Pont Notre-Dame were slaughtered nearly to a man. Their shops sacked as their fellow citizens (a healthy number of troops under the command of the Duc d’Anjou also got in in the action) treated money-changers and goldsmiths as heretics whether they were or not. Ultimately, at Pont aux Meuniers where the victims from the quarter of the Louvre were hurled into the river, it became possible to cross the Seine upon the corpses of the dead without wetting one’s feet.
Intrigued? I hope so. Because there’s a lot more drama (both family and political) where that came from! I believe when you’ve read Médicis Daughter, you will walk away convinced, as I am, that the Valois Court—riven with family dysfunction and battered by the violent drama and partisanship of the French Wars of religion—can give the Tudor or Elizabethan courts a run for their money. Or so says the woman who drinks her morning coffee from a mug boldly emblazoned with “Valois France: sexier than the Tudors.”
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About the Author
SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.
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 on Facebook.
Blog Tour Schedule
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, November 18
Review at The Maiden's Court
Thursday, November 19
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Friday, November 20
Review at The True Book Addict
Monday, November 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, November 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Literary Vacation
Friday, November 27
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, November 30
Review at leeanna.me
Tuesday, December 1
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Wednesday, December 2
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, December 3
Review at The Book Binder's Daughter
Friday, December 4
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, December 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, December 8
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, December 9
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Thursday, December 10
Review at The Readers Hollow
Friday, December 11
Review at Reading Lark
Monday, December 14
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, December 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, December 16
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Friday, December 18
Review & Interview at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, December 21
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, December 22
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, December 23
Review & Guest Post at Historical Fiction Obsession
Monday, December 28
Review at Unshelfish
Tuesday, December 29
Interview at Unshelfish
Thursday, December 31
Review at The Reading Queen