Duchessina: Young Royals
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)
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Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
always enjoy Carolyn Meyer's historical novels about the lives of famous women. She has a number in her
is the first that I have read. This is the story of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France.
aterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici's parents died while she was a little girl, leaving her the title of Duchess of Urbino. Because of this, her family and friends called her
, Italian for
. Raised first by Pope Leo and then by Pope Clement VII, Catherine is eventually sent to live in convents when Clement angers the Italians by trying to exert too much power. At the first convent, Catherine is despised for being a Medici, but soon is transferred to a friendlier one, where she meets and befriends three other girls. When the civil unrest settles, Clement arranges Catherine's marriage to Prince Henri of France. As her new life begins, Catherine learns that things are never fair.
ost of Meye's heroines are easy to get to know, but Catherine is not. From the start of the story, it is hard for the reader to get into her life, and thus she seems more distant than Meyer's other protagonists. Also, at the very beginning, the narration mentions that Catherine started life as
and ended as
, but nowhere does the reader get to see that change (there's only a mention in the Historical Notes at the end). Though
is a good introduction to the Medici family, it is not as readable as some of Carolyn Meyer's other works.
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