Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Medicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

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.


What Did I Think About the Story?

As much as I love history and historical fiction, my knowledge of French history is just dreadful. It's not that I don't enjoy it, I actually find it quite fascinating, I just haven't read very much about it. Because of this I know only the very basics about the most infamous figures, including Catherine de Medicis, and so was eager to see what delicious new information I would learn within the pages of Medicis Daughter. I am so happy to report that Medicis Daughter not only ignited my fascination of the complex and manipulative Medicis but completely immersed me in a time and place I won't soon forget.

Medicis Daughter begins with our young heroine, Margot, coming to the court of her brother, Charles IX, and continues until shortly after the vicious massacre of many of the Huguenots who had come to Paris to celebrate Margot's wedding to her cousin, Henri of Navarre, in what is now known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. While this time period only covers about eight years those years are chock full of manipulation, political intrigue and a rollercoaster of appeasement and fighting between the Catholics and Huguenots of France. Laced between these is the luxury of the court, its bed-hopping courtiers and the heady games of power and influence. With all this going on (and there is a lot of action and intrigue to delight in, perfectly presented by the author) the real heart of the story, to me, is much smaller: that of a beautiful, intelligent girl long held prisoner to her family's demands, threats and machinations finally learning how to break free, at least in part, from their control to become the woman of honor she longs to be.

I think one of my favorite thing about Margot (and really all of these characters) is that she isn't perfect, not even close. Sophie Perinot did an astounding job of making each character so well rounded and complex that they felt wholly real to me, not just glitzed up or vilified representations of what someone might want them to be. Not one character is completely good or bad, thought some fall pretty far towards the dastardly end of the spectrum. In Margot's case, when we first meet her she's quite naïve and pretty full of herself. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor, disheveled and ill mannered Duc of Navarre as she was just so mean to him when they were young and, truth be told, never seemed to care for him much throughout the story, even when she (seemingly begrudgingly at times) came to his defense and saved him from an almost certain death. Even the passionate romance between Margot and the Duc de Guise wasn't over romanticized, but was real and raw and painful at times like real love can be. And, best of all, we get to witness not only Margot's voice but her very character shift and grow as she learns that even those she thought she could trust could let her down and she needed to look within her own heart and mind to determine what actions she would take and what sort of person she wanted to be.  This very human element within these larger elements of historical fact is what really grabbed me and kept me glued to the pages.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my two favorite characters within the novel, Margot's two best friends, Henriette, Duchesse de Nevers and Charlotte, Baronne de Sauve. They both added a wonderful note of levity throughout the story and were always ready with a sardonic comment or observation to entertain Margot as well as the reader. Both were quite adept at seduction and taught Margot how to maneuver her way through the lascivious yet religious court and ultimately get what she wanted even within the barriers set up by her family. They also gave her two people to turn to and lean on when she had no one else she could safely turn to. I would love to see one of them, especially Henriette, get her own story as I think both have a slew of potential as main characters.

Medicis Daughter is a delightful yet heartbreaking story of what one must do and sacrifice in order to survive a court like that of Charles IX, especially with the vice-like influence of a conniving woman like Catharine de Medicis. I feel a need to read  more about this court, the Medicis and Margot herself as I'm not quite ready to let them go just yet.  Thank you to Sophie Perinot for introducing me to a whole new section of historical fiction to now become obsessed with (move over Tudors)!


What Did I Think About the Cover?

I...Love...It!! If you haven't noticed from the blog's color scheme, I love pink so covers with soft pinks, golds, etc. always draw me in. This combined with the splash of red in the dress makes for one eye-catching cover! The fact that it also has the gorgeous French chateau and greenery makes it perfectly capture the setting of the story. I can't really think of anything I would like better for this cover.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Medicis Daughter in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book and the rest of the blog tour.

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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