The Rival Queens: Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom

Category: Book
By (author): Goldstone, Nancy
Subject:  FICTION / General
  HISTORY / Europe / General
  HISTORY / Renaissance
  HISTORY / Women
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: April 2016
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 448
Size: 8.25in x 5.50in x 1.12in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century.

Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm.

Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control.

When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family.

Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone's narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.
Review Quote*"A highly dramatic dual biography.... If serious history readers believe that Tudor England is the only place where family and religious conflict at the highest level makes riveting reading matter, those folks need to take a close look across the English Channel and see what was transpiring at the same time in the French court.... The French contemporary to Elizabeth I was Queen Catherine de' Medici, widow of King Henri II and mother to three kings after him.... Tudor struggles pale in comparison! Read this along with Antonia Fraser's classic Mary Queen of Scots."
-Brad Hooper, Booklist (Starred Review)
Review Quote*"This is a story of espionage, assassination, intrigue, and chicanery but also one that poignantly reminds readers of the vulnerabilities faced by women of the age....Readers are sure to be captivated by the lush details of these women's lives."-Library Journal
Review Quote*"Goldstone's witty comments make this historical family drama as easy to read as the best fiction, but it's all the more tragic for being true.... Goldstone upends conventional thought with this well-researched and well-written book."-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Review Quote*"A thrilling tale packed with historical details and shocking revelations. Nancy Goldstone writes with cinematic clarity and eloquently brings to life two indomitable women whose ambitions changed the course of European history."-Ivana Lowell, author of Why Not Say What Happened?
Review Quote*"Nancy Goldstone leads her reader with a very sure hand through the most dramatic events of Renaissance France. Her narrative is so gripping that The Rival Queens unfolds like a thriller."-Anka Muhlstein, author of Monsieur Proust's Library
Review Quote*"The Rival Queens is a gripping tale of royal feuds and divided kingdoms. Goldstone has lovingly restored the reputation of Marguerite de Valois; revealing her to be a woman of passion and drive whose fierce loyalties burned bright until the day she died."-Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire and Georgiana
Review Quote*"[Goldstone] spins a tangled tale of rivalry, ambition, and, especially--for the rare women leaders of the time--sheer self-preservation...Goldstone has a remarkable handle on these often Byzantine royal machinations. History brought to vivid life in the characters of these women of purpose."-Kirkus Reviews
Review Quote*PRAISE FOR THE MAID AND THE QUEEN:

"A dual biography of two fascinating medieval women with the descriptive energy of a novel."-USA Today
Review Quote*"Attention, 'Game of Thrones' fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politics---double-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interest-are in abundant evidence."-Laura Miller, Salon