Genres: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
The Devil’s Queen tells the story of Catherine de Medici, a controversial figure whose reign marked her as a bloody and heartless queen. From her early orphan years to the fateful St. Bartholomew’s Massacre, this book is a fascinating fictionalized telling of a most fascinating queen who loved astrology.
I saw this book in a museum bookstore, right after having my brain hammered with Renaissance paintings and thought – this is great?! I love a good historical drama, and so far I’d mostly read Tudor and World War II stories – and I’m always on the lookout for other interesting times in history. So I simply had to have this.
I adored this book so much. Catherine has a darkness within her since her early years, a fascination with the stars, mathematics and also death. She is such an intelligent character and is so interesting to see her struggle with being a good person and also wanting what is best for her family, her country and herself. How she will do anything to accomplish this.
I initially thought the whole astrology and dark magic part of the book would throw me off – but it didn’t, and added an interesting touch to the book. It’s always wonderful to see main characters who aren’t our usual brave, righteous and morally black-and-white. Catherine is fiercely loving, scared of her own darkness and also fascinated by it. I don’t think at all that the book portrays her as a bad person, but as a smart woman who tried to do the best out of the awful situations she was put in. Reading this was delicious and I look forward to re-reading it!
Of course there is quite a lot of liberty with historical facts, but not as much (I think) as Philippa Gregory does in her books, for example. I loved to see the intrigue of the French court, the lies and misplaced trust, and how Catherine’s unwavering dedication to her family led her to be (unfairly) known as a wicked queen.