Monday, November 23, 2015

Guest Post by Sophie Perinot, Author of Medicis Daughter

I am beyond thrilled to have Sophie Perinot, author of Medicis Daughter, on A Literary Vacation today! She has shared a delightful post about the splendid (and long!) royal progress of Charles IX. I'll be sharing my review of Medicis Daughter on Wednesday (hint: it's awesome!) but in the  meantime I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did and be sure to continue for  more information about Medicis Daughter and the rest of the blog tour!


Around the Kingdom in 829 Days:  Charles IX’s Royal Progress


Given the name of this blog—A Literary Vacation—I couldn’t resist talking about one monster of a trip.  In the spring of 1564, the Valois Court began travel through France that would last more than two years.
A brainchild of Catherine de Médicis, this grand Royal Progress was intended to build unity between Charles IX and his scattered nobles.  The sight of the young king riding through the countryside or entering a far-flung city in great splendor was also meant to revive his subjects’ loyalty—a loyalty damaged by a religious civil war.  The King and his mother hoped that the fighting which had concluded the previous year would be last of its kind.  They could not know as they set out on their journey that eventually the war ended by the Edict of Amboise would be merely the first of eight French Wars of Religion.
In addition her domestic agenda, Catherine de Médicis intended to use the Royal Progress for a bit of important foreign diplomacy—a rendezvous with her son-in-law Philip II of Spain.  Relations between Spain (where Catherine’s eldest daughter, Elisabeth was queen) and France were strained because the Spanish King felt the French had been too soft on Protestant rebels, and too lenient in their peace terms.  Catherine believed such hard-feelings would be more easily smoothed over face-to-face.  She was greatly disappointed and angered when Philip declined to come to the eventual meeting at Bayonne.
With all these lofty goals in mind, the Valois entourage departed from the Château of Fontainebleau approximately fifteen-thousand strong.  The royal train was so large that sometimes the first riders reached a new destination before the rear members of the party had departed from the previous one.  It included horses and beasts of burden, a veritable army and, of course, household furnishings.  Needless to say, this Royal Progress did not progress rapidly!  By modern standards it crawled.  The average distance between stops was a mere twelve miles, and the maximum was thirty-six miles.  Imagine traveling over 2,700 miles at such a pace!  The speed of travel was affected by weather.  But also by the King’s health (Charles was ill twice during the journey), outbreaks of plague along the planned route, road conditions, and even Catholic feast days.
The traveling party was as fluid as it was large.  Individuals took short cuts and freely came and went from the train as it moved through the kingdom.  Perfect attendance awards, were they to be give, would have been few.  For example, while the royals made the entire journey, only two foreign dignitaries (the Papal Nuncio and the Spanish Ambassador) managed the whole trip.  Many of the chief nobles of the Court, including for example the Prince de Condé, were absent for chunks of the journey.
Social status dictated mode of travel.  The royal family went by litter, coach or horseback.  Most of the nobles of the Court went on horseback as well.  A large mass of “lesser” travelers walked.  Where navigable rivers were available, boats were employed and who got a seat on which boat (or any boat at all) was based on royal favor and who out-ranked whom.  The task of maintaining discipline over the whole of this city-on-the-move, and making sure everything was in order to receive the King at various destinations fell to Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France.  This was an honor but also a herculean task, and Montmorency was not a young man—in fact he was seventy-one as the Royal Progress began.  Definitely NOT a pleasure trip for the Constable.
All in all the Royal Progress lasted 829 days, 201 of which were spent traveling.  That was a long time to be away from the center of Valois power, and Catherine, ever worried about keeping control of matters in Paris, was in close contact with those left behind.  Of the more than four-hundred letters she sent during the trip, one-hundred-and-ten went to Parisians, including the Governor of the city, the Prévot des Marchands and the Parlement of the city.
If you are interested in exhaustive details of the French Royal Progress, a cook who traveled with the Valois chronicled the trip.  Check out The Royal Tour of France by Charles IX and Catherine de’ Medici.  Festivals and Entries, 1564-6 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979).
If you are interested in getting a flavor for the trip without committing to 829 days, I promise you glimpses in Médicis Daughter including: the exotic gift the city fathers of Troyes gave their king (which, incidentally did not impress Princess Marguerite); a boat trip with His Majesty down the Saone from Chalon-sur-Saône to Lyon; and theatricals performed on the Isle of Aiguemeau to entertain and impress the Spanish.
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover & eBook; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.


Advance Praise


“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” –Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY

“The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!” –Michelle Moran, bestselling author of THE REBEL QUEEN

“Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot’s epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright.” –Erika Robuck, bestselling author of HEMINGWAY’S GIRL


Buy the Book




About the Author


SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great
Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times. Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook.

Medicis Daughter Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 16

Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 17

Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, November 18

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, November 19

Review at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, November 20

Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, November 23

Review at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, November 24

Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, November 25

Review at A Literary Vacation

Friday, November 27

Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 30

Review at

Tuesday, December 1

Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, December 2

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Thursday, December 3

Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Friday, December 4

Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, December 7

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 8

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, December 9

Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Thursday, December 10

Review at The Readers Hollow

Friday, December 11

Review at Reading Lark

Monday, December 14

Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, December 15

Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, December 16

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, December 18

Review & Interview at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, December 21

Review at Bookish

Tuesday, December 22

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 23

Review & Guest Post at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, December 28

Review at Unshelfish

Tuesday, December 29

Interview at Unshelfish

Thursday, December 31

Review at The Reading Queen



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