Blood, Fire and Gold: The story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici

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Blood, Fire and Gold: The story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici

Blood, Fire and Gold: The story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici

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In England, Elizabeth I was the daughter of Anne Boleyn and the notorious King Henry VIII; their relationship was the most infamous of the 16th century for obvious reasons. She has participated in several international historical documentaries on TV, including BBC Two's The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family (aired in August 2021), where she shared her knowledge of Anglo-French relations under Henry VIII's reign. But politics, religion and a bitter personal rivalry set them on a collision course that would dominate Anglo-French relations for three decades. She has extensively published on the Tudors and the Valois and is the author of Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

This also allowed me to learn more about Catherine life and what was going on at the same time in their respective lives. Francis II was married to Mary, Queen of Scots, who had a claim on the English throne, and the young couple sported the arms of England. Mary is often portrayed as a poor innocent wrongfully murdered, but Paranque shows her as a schemer constantly trying to grasp more and claiming innocence when caught. It’s astonishing that Catherine lived until she was 69 years old, That is quite ancient for the 16th century, especially as she outlived most of her children. Dr Estelle Paranque masterfully draws together the strands of narrative of two of the most powerful Queens of Europe, engaged in a relentless and delicate balancing act of rivalry and common cause.The argument it proposed threatened to topple the government, but sedition sold well in the coffeehouses of Fleet Street and the woman promised protection. Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes or filled with bean bags and children’s drawings – the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident. This blending of history and fiction simply confuses new readers and is not the method suggested to achieve such an aim (at least Paranque admits the usage, though). During the tournament to celebrate this treaty, Catherine’s husband, Henri II, was killed; and Catherine was now the mother of four young brothers, one of whom, Francis II, now became king; two of his brothers, Charles IX and Henri III would succeed him.

There are areas where the author has built dialogue between key historical figures, based on records of their meetings and the outcomes of them. But omitted some relevant pieces of the story of Mary Stuart, in one part omitting information, or maybe just trying to simplify it, to such an extent as to make it incorrect - but then this is not a history of Mary Stuart, so maybe it was done deliberately. Making up dialogue is not the way to do so unless it's in a novel - in which case, I'll read a novel, not historical non-fiction. Dr Panaque, wrote and explained about the death's of Mary Queen of Scots and Catherine de Medici in detail but only wrote a 1 liner on the death of Elizabeth I?

Exciting and compelling, packed full of tantalising details of diplomacy and court life, Paranque succeeds both in bringing history to life, but also in putting flesh on the bones of these two extraordinary women and rival queens. For most of her life, Elizabeth would fight to maintain her legitimacy, her right to succession and her religion. This book gets a little hard to follow in audiobook format as you try to keep track of the various English and French diplomats and their conversations with Catherine and Elizabeth, but it is otherwise a worthwhile and enjoyable read/listen.

Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts. The author doesn't shy away from exploring the negative side of her subjects and it is utterly refreshing to see that these powerhouse women are not pitted against one another but simply respected for their importance they gained in their own right.I learned so much about Elizabeth I that I hadn't learned in other biographies, and it also sparked my interest in Catherine De Medici and her children. This is not the Catherine of Nancy Goldstone's The Rival Queens: Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom or Jean Plaidy’s fictional treatment in Madame Serpent. There is also a lot of space devoted to the personal lives of each of the queens, with enough sensitive detail to offer a genuine feel for the personalities of each woman—something that is often hard to achieve in biography, especially for people long dead. But nothing has been said of their complicated relationship: thirty years of friendship, competition and conflict that changed the face of Europe. Political intrigue is the emphasis, so, for example, Shakespeare doesn't play a role, nor do other social developments.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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