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Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici…
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Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici (Young Royals)

by Carolyn Meyer

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Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

Catherine de'Medici, Duchessina, grows up in a palace in Florence where her family rules the city. When her family falls out of power, she must flee. She becomes imprisoned within the walls of convents for her protection against the angry mob that calls for her death. At the first convent, the nuns make their hatred of her family no secret.

The Duchessina lives in misery, enduring the pain as best she can under the circumstances. Finally, the tides change and her family once again controls not only Florence but the papacy as well. The Pope, her old guardian, calls for her to live in Rome until he can make arrangements for her future.

As one of the richest woman in Europe, the Pope intends to make an advantageous marriage. He marries the Duchessina off to the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin cares little for his new wife and Catherine's misery continues, but she creates advantages to help ease her pain and eventually finds contentment.

A wonderful outlook on the creation of Madame Serpent, remembered in history as the "girl who endured." Carolyn Meyer takes another historical princess and adds strong characters and rich details to spin a delightful tale. ( )
1 vote | GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
Orphaned at a young age and heir to a vast fortune, Catherine de' Medici was one of the wealthiest young women in 16th century Europe. But that did not make her childhood happy. For her own protection, she was kept locked in her home or secluded in a convent for most of her early years. After three years at the convent, she is finally set free, only to learn she is to be married to Henri II, prince of France, in a political union.

Married at the young age of fourteen, Catherine’s marriage is not happy. Her husband is not interested in her, preferring his much older mistress. Catherine knows that in order to secure her future, she must produce a male heir. In order to survive in the world she must live in, she determines that she will use her skill and cunning to outwit, out scheme, and outlast her enemies, shaping her future as one of the most powerful and feared queens in history.

Although Catherine de' Medici is not the most likeable of historical figures - she was known as a cruel and manipulative queen who ruthlessly eliminated her enemies - author Carolyn Meyer manages to make her a sympathetic young woman in this novel, telling of the events that helped shape her later character. I highly recommend this novel to teen readers who love historical fiction. It is a very fascinating look at a famous queen who is not often written about in young adult fiction. ( )
1 vote rebecca191 | Oct 2, 2009 |
This was surprisingly good. Carolyn Meyer's books about the Tudors were all marred with superfluous descriptions of people's clothing and characters that were not characters so much as plot devices. Duchessina is much better written than that. Caterina's story was intriguing and I found myself wanting to know more about her; I knew almost nothing of her childhood when the story started. I might check out a few biographies of her; she sounds like a fascinating woman.

My only complaint here is Meyer didn't really know when to quit. She had very detailed descriptions of Caterina's childhood, then after her marriage she zipped through the next several decades of her life and only ended it after the death of the king some thirty years later. I think the book should have ended around the time of the marriage and the rest of the story could have been included in an epilogue. ( )
  meggyweg | Mar 6, 2009 |
Not as good as Meyers other Young Royals books, but still a good historical fiction book ( )
  hezann73 | Jul 11, 2007 |
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For Ramona,

and in memory of George
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"You are a Medici," Aunt Clarissa used to tell me. "And you are destined for greatness. Never forget that."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152055886, Hardcover)

Young Catherine de' Medici is the sole heiress to the entire fortune of the wealthy Medici family. But her life is far from luxurious. After a childhood spent locked away behind the walls of a convent, she joins the household of the pope, where at last she can be united with her true love. But, all too soon, that love is replaced with an engagement to a boy who is cold and aloof. It soon becomes clear that Catherine will need all the cunning she can muster to command the respect she deserves as one of France's most powerful queens.

Includes a family tree.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

While her tyrannical family is out of favor in Italy, young Catherine de Medici is raised in convents, then in 1533, when she is fourteen, her uncle, Pope Clement VII, arranges for her marriage to prince Henri of France, who is destined to become king.… (more)

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