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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Dr Estelle Paranque masterfully draws together the strands of narrative of two of the most powerful Queens of Europe, engaged in a relentless and delicate balancing act of rivalry and common cause. accessible and unpretentious' The Telegraph' A stunning portrayal of two of the most powerful women in European history' Tracy Borman'Exciting and compelling, packed full of tantalising details of diplomacy and court life, Paranque succeeds both in bringing history to life, but also in putting flesh on the bones of these two extraordinary women and rival queens' Kate Mosse'A smart and stylish portrait of two of Europe's most remarkable rulers, a compelling profile of female power and - that rarest of things - a truly original book about the Tudor period' Jessie ChildsIn sixteenth-century Europe, two women came to hold all the power, against all the odds. The author does a good job of asessing the queens in a fairly balanced way, as well as not making them rivals or good/bad, but rather women as well as rulers living in a 16th century world. It was further weird because the author did include (albeit modernized) real quotes from letters/reports, and it was so confusing to have the made up stuff interspersed with this.

The problems lay therein the execution which is inconsistent, speculative, blurred between history and fiction and with the absence of new information as so adamantly claimed. I'm not someone whose drawn to the Tudors or Elizabeth I as this period often feels repetitive in UK historical discourse. But unfortunately Religion and Religious fanatics said No we are going to put a stop to that ridiculousness and lets create a long lasting bloody massacre (St.I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of these two monarchs' lives (it was really more like three monarchs because Mary Queen of Scots plays a big role, too). 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. She then peppers the pages with dialogue narratives a la historical fiction (this point will be addressed again later in this review). It also recounts Elizabeth's and Catherine's letters to each other, addressing topics such as Catherine's efforts to marry Elizabeth off to one of her sons as well as Catherine's efforts to get Elizabeth to spare the life of Mary Queen of Scots (Catherine's former daughter-in-law).

She deals with wars, on global and personal scales, as well as how families (or would-be families) interact when they operate on an international stage. It would've been such a complicated relationship between them to untangle and the author has done a very good job of doing this. Francis II died of an ear infection at the end of that year, and Mary left France for Scotland in 1561. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.Although Catherine de Medici got the same amount of time in the book somehow Elizabeth dominates it. Estelle Paranque succeeds in bringing a fresh narration to the complex and extraordinary lives of two incredibly powerful women. Bouncing back and forth between the lives of Catherine and Elizabeth, readers are treated to a great deal of history, particularly second-tier information that helps answer why things actually happen. Parliament was soon in turmoil and government minister Robert Harley launched a hunt for all those involved.

But she supported the Huguenots in the eight religious civil wars in France between 1562 and 1593, which of course put a strain on the relationship between the two women. I cannot stress how much I loved this book and how Paranque was able to weave the stories of the two most powerful women in 16th-century Europe. Catherine and Elizabeth also had to deal with other nations, like Spain, getting in the way of their relationship, as well as the issue of religion; Catherine was a devout Catholic, and Elizabeth was more Protestant. I thought that Paranque showed a persistent and pervasive bias toward Elizabeth to the detriment of Catherine.Instead, 'Blood, Fire and Gold' offers an insightful and colourfully fleshed out account of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, which altered the course of European history. I’ve read extensively about Elizabeth I, and one or two books on Catherine de Medici, so the first half of this book was essentially a review. I really do recommend this book to anyone just wants an exciting read about real women, their lives, and how they changed the landscape of early modern Europe!



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  • EAN: 764486781913
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