HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
I wish you the happiest and healthiest of New Years!!
May you always have a book in reach, family and friends surrounding you and nothing but the best in everything.
May wealth find you and may your health be perfect.
And most importantly, I hope you are HAPPY.
Thank you so much for supporting me here the last year–here’s to 2016 and to many more years! ❤
My favorite site to buy books, Better World Books, is issuing a challenge for 2016, which we are mere hours away from. I thought it’d be fun to share this out to you guys. I think I’m going to try and do it. My track record isn’t that fantastic with challenges, but I’m willing to try again. You never know, I might actually do it! 🙂
What challenges are you looking to take up? Send a few my way and maybe we can do them together; cheer one another on if we fall off track. I’m exicted for 2016; I hope to read even more but I also have hopes of my family moving and reconnecting with my friends. I’ll also be the big 3-0 this year…so I guess we’ll see what’s going to happen. Drop a comment below and let me know what your ‘resolutions’ are! ❤
I’m pretty certain that I read more than 51 books and I just forgot to post them on Goodreads. However, I’m pleased with that anyway. It’s kind of wild to see how many pages I read. How many books have you guys read this year? How many are you planning to read in 2016?
You guys should friend me there! I’d love to have you there as well.
I know! A post not about a historical fiction book? Are ya’ll shocked? I admit, I never thought that I would write about adult coloring books, but well, here we are. When I had first heard those three words together, I admit, I thought it was stupid. What grown person is going to sit down and color? Of course, my thought process was that it was going to be like a child’s coloring book. I never thought they’d be made into intricate, splendid designs that would prove challenging and delightful. I’m not known for my patience–in fact, I’m pretty impatient.
I have anxiety and I suffer from the beast called depression. So, they say that these will actually help with that. Let’s put it this way, I don’t know how it does with depression, but I do find that I can lose myself for hours and forget my stress if I’m feeling anxious, which is a lot of the time. You know, I spend A LOT of time on my laptop and somewhere along the way, I’ve lost interest in a lot of things that I liked doing. I found myself doing meaningless, boring crap and my mother would be yelling at me that all I think about is my computer. I dismissed her all the time, but I realise, it is true. She tells me that I need a hobby. (I really need a social life but I digress.)
So, I began to look for something else to do. A voracious reader already, I admit, I get a little bored with it sometimes and I need to step away. I got an XBox 360 shortly after my birthday and that keeps me off my computer, but of course, that’s also computerized. I can’t play for hours like I used to though, my hands start to ache. (My ten year old self is cursing me right now.) Insert Adult Coloring Books. I am presently at six–my interests are all over the place, so I like variety.
Christmas to Color, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones (which I find a bit disappointing, things are so beautifully sketched, there’s not much I can do to add to it; adding color might ruin them), Bollywood (SO intricate but fun), Enchanted Forest and Christmas Magic, which is a lot of fun. They’re intricate as well, however, not as intense as Bollywood. My mother seems to think that they’re amazing since they keep me off my computer. I keep my phone nearby to talk with my friends but that’s it.
Crayola has gotten quite a bit of money from me, I now own the 50 pack of Super Tips Washable Markers, the massive 120 box of crayons and the box of 36 colored pencils. I’m looking to get the Watercolor pencils, skin tone pencils and of course, more books. I’m obsessed ya’ll and I’m not sorry. I loved coloring when I was a child and hey, it’s FUN. So, don’t knock it till you guys try it and I really do recommend it!
It’s hours of fun and it’s relaxing. It’s a great way to “unplug”. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology but I am seeing that there ought to be more to my life than being in front of my computer screen 24/7. I also notice that my mood is a little better, so that’s a good thing, right?
Go forth and color, my friends! ❤
MEDICI’S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF MARGUERITE DE VALOIS
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.
“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
I’ve been beyond excited to post this review because I absolutely loved this book. It is most definitely one of my favourite reads this year. In the very capable hands of Sophie Perinot, Marguerite de Valois, daughter of Henri and Catherine de Medicis. The story was everything I had hoped it would be. It was chock-full of intrigue, romance, drama, war, battle, coming of age and many wonderful–and shocking–things. There were moments where my breath was taken away and other moments where I felt my eyes welling up with tears. (There is a scene where a child is in the streets, reaching for it’s mother.) There are also plenty of moments where you’ll chuckle and smile.
I think what I loved most was seeing Margot grow into the strong woman that history knows her to be. When we begin, she is a child, longing for the attentions and love of her mother but by the end, she is a woman forged in strength–strength one needed to survive the intrigues of the French court. Granted, there are moments where you wish you could yell at her, to shake her lightly, but those moments fade away. Whilst I wish she could have had what she really wanted, reality sets in and you know that ultimately, she is going to go to whomever bids the highest. Or to whomever proves most useful to the crown.
There’s a quote from Game of Thrones that I feel applies to Margot: “My skin has turned from porcelain to ivory to steel.”
When your mother is Catherine de Medicis, your brother the king, Charles IX, your lover the Duc de Guise and your other brother the very jealous Duc d’Anjou, there is no possible way that weakness would be tolerated and in that same respect, if you had a desire to live your own life, being weak and mealy mouthed wouldn’t get you there either. Margot is an excellent main character in that Ms. Perinot has fleshed her out so well. You feel her emotions and see her frustrations; as I said in my opening paragraph.
All of the characters are given enough life that you come to know them; not just as one dimensional figures but as the figures they were in history and the rich descriptions of court life were beautiful and enriched with little nuggets of facts that one could only know if they’ve been to visit. Our author has done a stunning job in turning her research into a rich, fascinating backdrop for her story.
I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book; it can be slightly graphic in its descriptions of things, but if you want a vivid, enthralling read–this is most certainly that.
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 onFacebook.
Blog Tour Schedule
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
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, November 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Literary Vacation
Monday, November 30
Review at leeanna.me
Tuesday, December 1
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Wednesday, December 2
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
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
Okay bookworms, I told you all last month that you were in for a treat and I am delivering! I am very excited to be hosting Sophie Perinot today; not only will a review be posted, but she was gracious enough to grant me an interview! I am very excited to be hosting her and without futher ado…here’s is the lovely lady herself, Ms. Sophie Perinot!
Firstly, thank you for your time! I’m excited to be hosting you on With Her Nose Stuck In A Book. I absolutely loved Médicis Daughter; it was a fascinating story of a young woman who had to figure out who she was; a challenge considering who her mother was and the time she lived in. A lot of people (myself included) think or thought of Tudor England as being scandalous but they’ve got nothing on Valois France! Is this your favorite period of time?
It certainly is one of them. I’ve been drawn to the Valois since I was in my teens thanks to Alexandre Dumas. And given the amount of research that I’ve devoted to this royal family I would say I feel completely at home in 16th century France. If you knocked me out, transported me by time-machine, and I woke up at the Valois court I am convinced I could pass credibly, though I might be eyed suspiciously because I’d have a very uncanny ability to accurately predict the future. Then again, perhaps Catherine de Médicis would take me into her household for just that reason—she believed in premonitions, loved astrology and employed other sorts of “seers.”
Catherine and Henri II had a great number of children together; what was it that spoke to you about Marguerite? How were you first introduced to her?
Although it took Catherine a decade to get pregnant for the first time (a situation that made her position at the French court highly tenuous), once she finally began to bear children, the French royal couple went on to have ten. The seven who survived past early childhood are each arguably book-worthy. So why did I chose to focus on Marguerite? Well, I must either blame or bless Alexandre Dumas for that. I am a huge Dumas geek (if he’s written it, I’ve read it). When I first read his novel Marguerite de Valois (more popularly known as Reine Margot) I was sucked into the Valois world completely, and fascinated by Margot. I not only re-read the novel, I also began delving into the historical facts of the characters’ lives. And I became convinced that Marguerite deserved a fuller and more historically based depiction (Dumas was quite open about playing fast and loose with history). Médicis Daughter my attempt to give Marguerite just that.
The rumours of incest…are those factual or is it fictional? It seems like in history they think to defame a person by suggesting there was incest.
As I discuss in my author’s note, there were certainly plenty of ugly rumors surrounding the last of the Valois, and many of those rumors had their roots in the politics of the time rather than in reality. Whispers of unnatural relations between Marguerite and one or more of her brothers were among the nasty gossip.
I personally came to the conclusion that Margot did not have carnal relations with any of her brothers. But she was close to them, and particularly to the Duc d’Anjou. Margot and Anjou were considered by all at Court to be very alike in temperament and interests—in other words a well suited pair. They danced together, they debated together, they hunted together. And Margot became her brother’s ambassador to their Mother when he was absent from court, pledged to guarding his interests. And then their relationship ruptured—spectacularly.
I was looking for a convincing reason that Anjou would turn so viciously on his formerly-beloved sister. A dislike of Margot’s beau, the Duc de Guise, driven purely by the two gentlemen’s competition in the military and political realms did not seem sufficient. So I chose to accept the idea that Anjou came to feel a romantic attraction to Margot. After all, hell hath no fury like a man spurned, and if Anjou saw Guise as a rival for his sister’s love his violent reaction to Marguerite’s attachment to the Duc becomes understandable, as does the antagonism between brother and sister that replaced their former amitié.
As you wrote in first person, did you find in moments that you truly felt the emotions Marguerite would be feeling? Such as anguish and disappointment in Catherine’s never fully bestowing her love on her and the frustration as being a pawn in a very large political game? Did you find leaving her on the pages to be a challenge at times?
You have absolutely put your finger on it!
In order to write in the first person effectively, you have to first immerse yourself in research to a point where you can live and breathe the facts, and then you have to allow your character to possess you. I wait to begin writing until the point-of-view character speaks to me, and I am almost always caught off guard by his/her voice when I first hear it because it is never quite how I would have imaged it had I forced the issue. I think no matter what the authorial point-of-view, writers get incredibly close to their characters. At least I do. So scenes that are heartrending to my characters are painful for me. In Médicis Daughter there were several scenes that were just devastating—including the one in which Margot and Guise finally realize and force themselves to accept the reality that they will never be married. That moment had me in tears even though I personally would not choose the Duc for myself. When I finish writing a book it is not uncommon for me to experience a period of grief (elation, yes—that too, it is a big accomplishment). It is as if someone you’ve lived with for a long time has died. I recently completed a new manuscript, and when the voices from that story fell silent I missed them so much it was actually painful.
The research presented in your novels is always detailed and fascinating; it definitely shows how much you love what you’re writing. Do you have a particular method of doing it? Is there a favorite way to do so?
I think I have a definite advantage in that I was a history major who produced a thesis, so I know how to research. And over the years the task has gotten much easier because so much is available on-line. I remember the old days—microfilm, having to send for obscure volumes (I once borrowed something from a seminary half-way across the country). And now JSTOR is right on-line, right at my desk. It’s like Christmas all year round. So many primary sources are also being scanned and put on-line in their entirety. But I do try to travel to some of the locations in my books (e.g. I’ve been to Paris on numerous occasions, to Amboise, to Chenonceau, to Blois (including Catherine’s gold paneled study), even down to Henri of Navarrre’s Pau) because such visits give me an intangible understanding of place and atmosphere that I can transmit to readers in turn.
Okay, I love to fancast books and such–who would you cast to play in the movie version of ‘Médicis Daughter’?
I blush to disclose that I must be the only author on earth who doesn’t do this. I always see my characters in my head as I create them—not as actresses or actors. But I would be interested to hear who YOU would cast to play Margot, Catherine, the Duc de Guise, Henri of Navarre etc if you’d be willing to share!
Seeing as the book only covers part of her life, might we see a sequel? Marguerite went on to have a very fascinating life!
I’d love to return to Marguerite at some point. I can see taking on another stage of her life—perhaps the period in which she helped her husband escape Paris and then briefly joined him in the Navarre.
Can you give any teasers as to what your next novel will be about?
I wish I could because I am wildly enthusiastic about it. But my agent has asked me to keep it under wraps for now.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you have the merriest of Christmases and a very happy and healthy 2016! ❤
Happy Holidays to you as well! And to all the readers out there! Oh, and remember, books make great stocking-stuffers 😉