Madame Serpent: A Catherine de’ Medici Novel Jean Plaidy

Madame Serpent: A Catherine de’ Medici Novel

Jean Plaidy

Touchstone, Jul 3 2012, $16.00

ISBN: 9781451686203

 

In Florence, her father Pope Clement VII arranges for his fourteen years old daughter Caterina de’ Medici to marry the second son of the King of France Prince Henry of Orléans; as she leaves behind her beloved Ippolito.  However, when she meets her fiancé, Caterina quickly realizes Henry has no interest in her as he loves his mistress Diane de Poitiers. 

 

Prince Henry ignores his wife for his mistress even after they have children.  When his older brother the Dauphin and then his father die, Henry becomes the king.  Diane’s influence is even stronger as visiting dignitaries pay her homage by kissing her hand rather than the Italian wife.  However, bitter Caterina accepts the affronts as she stoically plans to insure her offspring one day will sits on the throne while also patiently waiting for the right moment to remind the manipulative Diane just who the queen of France is.

 

This reprint of the first Jean Plaidy Catherine de Medici tale (released in 1951) is an engaging historical that brings to life the French court during the middle of the sixteenth century.  The key triangle is fully developed as fans will understand what motivates the lead to act as each does.  However, the action feels tame compared to contemporary written historical biographic fiction.  Still readers will know why the late Ms. Plaidy is highly revered by the sub-genre as the author enables her audience to get deep into the heads of the three protagonists especially the maligned queen.

 

Harriet Klausner

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