Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DUCHESSINA by Carolyn Meyer


A Novel of Catherine de’ Medici

by Carolyn Meyer

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-15-205588-2
Publisher: Harcourt

Catherine de’ Medici as oppressed little rich girl? Anyone familiar with Catherine’s life would be hard-pressed to embrace this sanitized version of the intrigue (sexual and political) that surrounded Catherine, but Meyer does a creditable job of using the slim historical information to craft a sympathetic first-person narrative childhood, while neatly avoiding the later events that cemented Catherine’s status as one of the more reviled rulers of France. A line on the verso page admits that history has been “altered,” but the book lacks references or suggested further reading; changes include a Turkish slave-girl advisor in place of Catherine’s astrologer and a chaste romance with a much older cousin. The final chapters jump from Catherine age 14 to age 40 and deal with mature and controversial material (drinking mule’s urine to conceive; spying on her husband and his much older lover), which make this unlikely to find a wide audience. Still, fans of the Young Royals series who can handle the content will be interested in this tale. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 13+)