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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She was determined to be on good terms with Elizabeth, and wanted to cement their relationship by proposing, in turn, Charles, Henry and Francis as husbands for her. Many would think Elizabeth's equal would be Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, but from this book, Catherine de Medici is her true equal of a female put with royal power. The sources of some of the speeches and letters are footnoted, but most are not, and in those cases it seems to me that the author has invented dialogue, pauses, and facial gestures like smiles; and then the book reads like a novel.

It is an example of how each queen viewed diplomacy and the dance they had to do to keep their respective dynasties on the thrones of England and France. 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. Paranque seems to find a calmer flow/style and leans more toward a scholarly style (although this doesn’t mean a complete absence of the previous complaints – just slightly less in number). She acknowledges both women for their strengths and their faults, pairing their ruthlessness with a deep understanding of the environment in which they lived and ruled.

conveys the relationship between these two remarkable women with zest and insight and with sympathy. This is followed by a difficult to read section on diplomacy which relies on quotes (not all are documented) in the tortured language of the day.

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). The same is true for Elizabeth, who had to decide on the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (not to be confused with her half-sister). However, Blood Fire and Gold piqued my interest as the French angle and the comparison with Catherine de Medici felt new and exciting. Paranque did take written styling from Erik Larson which she indicates in the Author's note at the end of the book.

Or is the news a vital tool, enabling worldwide activism movements such as `BlackLivesMatter and enforcing necessary scrutiny of the ethics of those in power?

The author has a lot of talent and I will keep an eye on her to see if she publishes any more novels.In Blood, Fire, and Gold, historian Estelle Paranque offers a new way of looking at two of history's most powerful women: through the eyes of the other. She then peppers the pages with dialogue narratives a la historical fiction (this point will be addressed again later in this review). Perhaps most importantly, it gives us unrivalled access to a landscape in which female power and agency was experienced and exercised in early modern Europe. Speaking of Elizabeth and Catherine, Paranque treats her subjects with equal parts criticism and empathy.

I thought that Paranque showed a persistent and pervasive bias toward Elizabeth to the detriment of Catherine. She never makes it a competition, on who was the "better" and never degrades the other so she uplift the other one.Throughout the years, the would go from enemies, to friends, to potential family through marriage, and then to enemies again. The first third or so of the book is a standard recounting of the early years of Elizabeth and Catherine - rather rushed and condensed.



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

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