Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Queen Jezebel by Jean Plaidy

Description (from cover):

'The final novel in the classic Catherine de' Medici trilogy from Jean Plaidy, the grande dame of historical fiction.

The aging Catherine de' Medici and her sickly son King Charles are hoping to end the violence between the feuding Catholics and Huguenots. When Catherine arranges the marriage of her beautiful Catholic daughter Margot to Huguenot king Henry of Navarre, France's subjects hope there will finally be peace. But shortly after the wedding, when many of the most prominent Huguenots are still celebrating in Paris, King Charles gives an order that could only have come from his mother: rid France of its 'pestilential Huguenots forever.' In this bloody conclusion to the Catherine de' Medici trilogy, Jean Plaidy shows the demise of kings and skillfully exposes Catherine's lifetime of depraved scheming.'

My thoughts:

I usually adore Jean Plaidy, but for some reason, this book really was just okay. I love the historical figure of Catherine de' Medici in all her evilness, but this book, while it focuses a little on her evil deeds, just seemed like a lot of political rambling. Torn between hatred of her son Charles and her favorite Henry, she makes some choices that change the political future of France. I felt it hard to believe that a mother could despise her own children so much, but perhaps that is what it really was like. Catherine lacks compassion that normally comes from motherhood and to wish her own child dead, or even help murder her children, seems so heartless. Perhaps that is how the author wanted such an evil personage to be portrayed, but it really makes me wonder if this is historical fact or just speculation.

Jean Plaidy has a unique way of creating historical fiction masterpieces. That is why she is so famous in this genre. She was a remarkable legend, but at times, it seems that she doesn't do a very well job of distinguishing between fiction and fact. This story, or at least this edition, does not have a historical conclusion like most historical fiction, that describes what liberties the author took with the story and this historical record. I would have liked that immensely with this book. It would have been nice to see what happened after her death, with all the political turmoil surrounding the throne of France.

A good read if you take it at face value. However, in my historical fiction, I prefer a little more and expect something of an accounting of true history. I understand that authors have to take liberties in order for the story to flow, but usually there is a note of what really happened and what is the author's pure speculation. I was disappointed in that fact. It's been some time since I've read this author, but for some reason, perhaps I have changed in what I expect, but this book really didn't do all that much for me. I'm glad that I read it, but it seems to be one of those books that will pass into oblivion. Nothing makes this book stand out.

Overall Rating: 2

Title:  Queen Jezebel
Author:  Jean Plaidy
Series:  Catherine de' Medici #3
Publisher:  Touchstone
Publication Date:  March 12, 2013 (Reprint)
Pages:  464
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from Booksfree.com by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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