Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review-The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by CW Gortner

Title: The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
Author: CW Gortner
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton-division of Hachette Books
Pub Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-340-96296-1
Pages: 389

Book Synopsis from the publisher:
The sixteenth century: the era of queens. Catherine de Medici is an impressionable, mystical girl. She is orphaned and taken hostage by her enemies, and manipulated by her advisors; yet she is to become France's most powerful regent.

History will make her name synonymous with evil, but she is all too human. Humiliated at the hands of her husband and his mistress, and haunted by her gift of second sight, she must rise above her troubles and fight to save her dynasty and adopted country.

From the splendours of the Loire palaces to the blood-soaked battles of the Wars of Religion and haunted halls of the Louvre, this is the story of Catherine's dramatic life, told by the queen herself.

About the Author:
Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. GORTNER was raised in southern Spain, where he developed a lifelong fascination with history. After holding various jobs in the fashion industry, he earned a MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. He has taught university seminars on the 16th century and women in history, as well as workshops on writing, historical research, and marketing.

Acclaimed for his insight into his characters, he travels extensively to research his books. He has slept in a medieval Spanish castle, danced in a Tudor great hall, and explored library archives all over Europe. His debut historical novel The Last Queen gained international praise and has been sold in ten countries to date. His new novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, is now available. He is currently at work on The Princess Isabella, his third historical novel, and The Tudor Secret, the first book in his new Tudor suspense series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

C.W. lives with his partner in Northern California.

My review:
Catherine de Medici is often remembered as a witch and one that used her skills to attain what she wanted. Gortner's book includes those themes, yet he shows a strong woman that often did what she had to do in order to survive and keep her family alive. Her life was one of triumph at times, yet great suffering was most often the case. In this book, Catherine is the narrator and it has the feel that you are sitting by her side as she tells you the story of her life. I liked this about it as it made her more human and made me feel as if I was a part of the story that took place in the sixteenth century, instead of sitting on my couch in the new millenium reading about an historical figure. Some may hesitate as the book is long at 389 pages but the non-stop action keeps it moving at a good pace and leaves the reader wanting more when it is over. I highly recommend this book.

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the second book I have read by CW Gortner and he has quickly become one of my favorite writers. The writing is superb and he captures my attention with the first sentence and holds it until the last one of the book. I minored in History in college and have a high interest in historical reads. However, Gortner's writing and story telling abilities propels me to seek out more on each of his characters. I can't just read the book and be done with it, the stories of the characters stay with me and urge me to dig into their lives on my own. Gortner is an author that should be writing our history books as he brings to life the inner workings and details that would leave a student craving more instead of claiming that this history stuff is boring.


  1. I have this author on my TBR list. I always thought history was boring myself, but I have seen so many great things about his books that I am going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!