Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review: Medici's Daughter by Sophie Perinot

Happy Tuesday! I have to tell you, I’m so excited about this week’s posts. This week, I’ll be reviewing Medici’s Daughter, Sophie Perinot’s novel about Marguerite de Valois. But wait, there’s more. We’re not just reviewing the book, we’re also doing an Author Q&A with Sophie Perinot (that will be posted tomorrow) and then on Thursday, there will be a special post, but I’m keeping that a surprise. So, why am I so excited about this week? Well, aside from the fact that this book is awesome and the Author Q&A was a lot of fun to do (and, I think, will be fun for y’all to read), this is all part of a special Facebook event. Tomorrow, June 1, Sophie Perinot is hosting a special event: an online party to celebratethe 6 month anniversary of the release of Medici’sDaughter. There will be prizes/giveaways and party favors, and there will be special guest hosts, other historical fiction authors introducing us to other women in history about whom they have written. Names like Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, and more. It’s going to be EPIC! Anyways, since I was already working on the review and the Author Q&A, I figured why not make it all a part of the festivities. So, head on over to the Facebook event and mark your attendance down so you get all the updates, and join us in the party.

On to the review of the book. Like I mentioned last week in my review of Perinot’s debut novel TheSister Queens, I first discovered Sophie Perinot when Michelle Moran (another favorite historical fiction author) posted on Facebook about the release of Medici’s Daughter. Last year, I stumbled upon the tv show Reign on Netflix, and so when I saw the title and cover of Medici’s Daughter, I immediately thought “Hmm, I wonder if this is connected to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France through her marriage to King Henry II of France and mother of King Francis II.” Well… I might have thought it more like “Huh. Related to Catherine de Medici of Reign notoriety?”, but I think the other way sounds better and introduces her a little more. Went looking and yup, she figures prominently into the book. And an awesome book it is.

Medici’s Daughter follows Marguerite de Valois, Queen of France and of Navarre, for a turbulent time of her life. Medici’s Daughter begins with the young princess Margot being summoned to the court of France, where her brother King Charles IX of France is on the throne. As is so often the case in this time period, Margot’s marriage is being arranged for her in the interests of politically benefitting her family and the country. However, Margot falls in love with the charming Duc de Guise, which leads to a tricky web of lust, deceit, and stolen moments of happiness. As Margot learns to navigate the games and politics of her family and of the court, she must also navigate the dangerous waters of forbidden love and a marriage that she is not terribly thrilled with to a man she dislikes, as well as the shifting and treacherous political climate of France.

I loved this book, I could hardly put it down. In Medici’s Daughter, Sophie Perinot yet again brings us a fascinating story of a woman trying to carve out her place in life and in history. There is drama, intrigue, romance, danger, and bloodshed. There are emotions aplenty. Perinot does a good job of keeping you wondering what will happen next. The characters are not cut and dried or black and white, there are shades of gray. The shadows rustle, but do they hold romance or danger? For Margot, does the future hold happiness or heartache?

And while I say I loved this book and didn’t want to put it down, I did find myself wanting to throw it at a wall whilst screaming profanities at a system of inequality that was set up to dehumanize women and reduce them to their worth as marriage pawns and mothers of whatever children they could produce, preferably male children to provide heirs for their families. But that is in and of itself praise for Perinot’s talent as a wordsmith, for it is not everyone who can make the words and characters come so alive as to rouse such strong emotions, nor is it everyone who cares to try to portray royalty as so complicated and the courts as having dirty underbellies beneath the gold, jewels, and furs, but Perinot makes use of her skills to bring us this engrossing tale. If you enjoy historical fiction, I strongly recommend Medici’s Daughter

The big question is what to drink with it? I recommend Riunite Lambrusco. I don’t tend to be a big fan of red wine, but this one works for me. It’s not as dry and sour/bitter as some of the other red wines I’ve tried (Apothic Red, I’m looking at you, gag!). I don’t drink it all that often since I usually tend more towards a Moscato or a Rose Moscato, but if I’m looking for something a little less sweet, this is my go-to, and it worked very well with Medici’s Daughter, which just somehow seems to call for a red wine. Plus, it’s Italian, which obviously ties in well with Catherine de Medici’s roots.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, that you enjoy reading Medici’s Daughter, and that you join us on Facebook tomorrow for the party. You can find Sophie Perinot on her website, on twitter (@lit_gal), and on her Facebook page. Additionally, Medici’s Daughter has it’s own Facebookpage, and of course there’s the Facebook page for the anniversary party. Grab a copy of Medici’s Daughter and a drink and head on over to Facebook and check it out. And make sure to check Drink Read Love again tomorrow for our Medici’s Daughter Author Q&A, and keep an eye on the blog and the blog Facebook page for a surprise post later this week.

Have you read about Margot, Catherine, and their family before now? Have you watched Reign? What do you think of this family and their… adventures… in various forms of entertainment and in history?