Author Jeanne Kalogridis puts her own spin on the life of the infamous Catherine de Medici in The Devil’s Queen. Left orphaned and extremely wealthy, Catherine’s early life was marred by revolts among the Florentines against the de Medicis. Once the revolts are over her hopes to rule Florence are forever dashed when her uncle the Pope marries her off to Henri, the second son of the French King. Disenchanted with Catherine, Henri soon turns to the older Diane de Poitiers for comfort and the childless Catherine becomes increasingly desperate to conceive a child before she is cast aside – and that includes resorting to charting the stars and casting spells. Henri’s older brother dies leaving him heir to the crown and Catherine destined to be Queen, although de Poitiers is the one who will remain the power behind the throne. Despite success at finally conceiving (thanks to the black-arts), the predictions of Nostradamus and Ruggieri of the fate that awaits Henri and her children continue to haunt her dreams and she will take any steps to protect them no matter what cost, and the story finally culminates with her daughter Margot’s marriage to Henry of Navarre and the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.
Also and anyone correct me if I’m wrong but according to other books I’ve read and Wik, there were four sons who ruled – where in the hell was Henri the third son? Did I read a different book again? For the most part Kalogridis appears to stick to known history, although there are two plot twists (which I will not divulge) that are rather far fetched IMHO, and unfortunately the author does not address them in her meager 1 1/2 page author notes as to what historical basis she has for including those in her story. Get it from the library if you must, I’m glad I did. A very very generous three stars. Honestly I think you’re better off with Dumas – try The Two Dianas and La Reine Margot.