Jeanne Kalogridis,
The Devil's Queen
(St. Martin's Press, 2009)

Jeanne Kalogridis covers 45 years of the life of Catherine de Medici in The Devil's Queen. While it does skip periods in her life, there is always a sense of connection between what happened before and what is happening currently going on in the story. Catherine de Medici narrates the book, and there is a consistency in her voice that makes the telling ring true.

The book ties in nicely to events happening elsewhere in de Medici's 16th century world that have consequences for the her and her family. In this way, Kalogridis demonstrates for readers how interconnected the various courts in Europe were at the time, and how quickly alliances could change. As an example, de Medici's connection to Pope Clement shifts dramatically while she is living in Florence.

As important as political intrigue is to the story, it is the portrayal of Catherine de Medici that makes the book. Kalogridis has written a powerful novel, leaving readers with the story of a very human woman in a position of great power who tried to do what she thought was best. The results of those actions are mixed, and it also serves reminder that in some ways the world has always been a very small place.

review by
Paul de Bruijn

19 June 2010

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