Monday, August 6, 2007

The Italian Woman, Jean Plaidy

This was my first Jean Plaidy novel, and it wont be my last!

It tells of the exploits of Catherine de'Medici, through the character of Jeanne of Navarre. At 12 years old, Jeanne was told by her uncle, the King of France, that she would be marrying the Duke of Cleves. Jeanne always believed she would be married to Henri, the Kings son. But Henri was already married to Catherine, and being unfaithful to her. Instead, she was to wed the Duke, who was double her age. Jeanne was not happy! She protested, was beaten, and protested more. However, Jeanne was married, carried to the alter, and subsequently put to bed. Luckily, her uncle saw her distress and instead of the 'proper' bedding, once they lay together, the king asked everyone to leave, and the couple to be escorted back to their own appartments. The couple lived seperatly.

At the age of 15, Jeanne was to go to the christening of Catherine's first child. At the christening, she saw Antoine de Bourbon, and fell in love. Her loving uncle, disolved her marriage. Jeanne and Antoine were married.

The novel goes on describing the events of the religeous wars in France, and the political turmoil. The old King died, King Henri had more children, and died. Jeanne had two children, Antoine strayed from her side thanks to the cunning Catherine.

The Italian Woman is a gripping narrative of troubled France. Being told from Jeannes point is a way of Catherine and Jeannes storys merging in a tale of delight. I will certainly read more from Plaidy.

A good read!

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