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Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici [Paperback]

Carolyn Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 27 2009 Young Royals

Young Catherine de' Medici is the sole heiress to the entire fortune of the wealthy Medici family. But her life is far from luxurious. After a childhood spent locked away behind the walls of a convent, she joins the household of the pope, where at last she can be united with her true love. But, all too soon, that love is replaced with an engagement to a boy who is cold and aloof. It soon becomes clear that Catherine will need all the cunning she can muster to command the respect she deserves as one of France's most powerful queens.

Includes a family tree.


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From Booklist

As in Mary, Bloody Mary (1999), Meyer's latest entry in the Young Royals historical-fiction series creates a sympathetic, engrossing portrait of a noble girl who, later in life, became a feared, notorious queen. Meyer focuses on Catherine de' Medici's sixteenth-century youth and early marriage, closing with her coronation as queen of France. Political treachery is a constant threat, and Meyer creates thrilling suspense from sinister court intrigues and family secrets, all set against thoroughly drawn backdrops, from stark convents to opulent palaces. Women's limited power during the time period is a strong, recurring theme, realized with particular grimness in references to rapes and the realities of Catherine's arranged marriage, plotlines that suggest an older audience. With meticulous historical detail, sensitive characterizations, and Catherine's strong narration, Meyer's memorable story of a fascinating young woman who relies on her intelligence, rather than her beauty, will hit home with many teens. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This captivating tale of the rise of this Italian merchant family is seldom portrayed, and it plays out delightfully in this well-written novel."--"School Library Journal ""A sympathetic, engrossing portrait of a noble girl who, later in life, became a feared queen. . . . With meticulous historical detail, sensitive characterizations, and Catherine's strong narration, Meyer's memorable story of a fascinating young woman who relies on her intelligence, rather than her beauty, will hit home with many teens."--"Booklist

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"YOU ARE A MEDICI," Aunt Clarissa used to tell me. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 22 2011
Format:Paperback
Catherine de'Medici, Duchessina, grows up in a palace in Florence where her family rules the city. When her family falls out of power, she must flee. She becomes imprisoned within the walls of convents for her protection against the angry mob that calls for her death. At the first convent, the nuns make their hatred of her family no secret.

The Duchessina lives in misery, enduring the pain as best she can under the circumstances. Finally, the tides change and her family once again controls not only Florence but the papacy as well. The Pope, her old guardian, calls for her to live in Rome until he can make arrangements for her future.

As one of the richest women in Europe, the Pope intends to make an advantageous marriage. He marries the Duchessina off to the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin cares little for his new wife and Catherine's misery continues, but she creates advantages to help ease her pain and eventually finds contentment.

A wonderful outlook on the creation of Madame Serpent, remembered in history as the "girl who endured." Carolyn Meyer takes another historical princess and adds strong characters and rich details to spin a delightful tale.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 27 2007
Format:Hardcover
Catherine de'Medici, Duchessina, grows up in a palace in Florence where her family rules the city. When her family falls out of power, she must flee. She becomes imprisoned within the walls of convents for her protection against the angry mob that calls for her death. At the first convent, the nuns make their hatred of her family no secret.

The Duchessina lives in misery, enduring the pain as best she can under the circumstances. Finally, the tides change and her family once again controls not only Florence but the papacy as well. The Pope, her old guardian, calls for her to live in Rome until he can make arrangements for her future.

As one of the richest woman in Europe, the Pope intends to make an advantageous marriage. He marries the Duchessina off to the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin cares little for his new wife and Catherine's misery continues, but she creates advantages to help ease her pain and eventually finds contentment.

A wonderful outlook on the creation of Madame Serpent, remembered in history as the "girl who endured." Carolyn Meyer takes another historical princess and adds strong characters and rich details to spin a delightful tale.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too May 31 2007
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Catherine de'Medici, Duchessina, grows up in a palace in Florence where her family rules the city. When her family falls out of power, she must flee. She becomes imprisoned within the walls of convents for her protection against the angry mob that calls for her death. At the first convent, the nuns make their hatred of her family no secret.

The Duchessina lives in misery, enduring the pain as best she can under the circumstances. Finally, the tides change and her family once again controls not only Florence but the papacy as well. The Pope, her old guardian, calls for her to live in Rome until he can make arrangements for her future.

As one of the richest woman in Europe, the Pope intends to make an advantageous marriage. He marries the Duchessina off to the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin cares little for his new wife and Catherine's misery continues, but she creates advantages to help ease her pain and eventually finds contentment.

A wonderful outlook on the creation of Madame Serpent, remembered in history as the "girl who endured." Carolyn Meyer takes another historical princess and adds strong characters and rich details to spin a delightful tale.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic potrayal of the young Catherine de' Medici. Sept. 26 2009
By Rebecca Herman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Orphaned at a young age and heir to a vast fortune, Catherine de' Medici was one of the wealthiest young women in 16th century Europe. But that did not make her childhood happy. For her own protection, she was kept locked in her home or secluded in a convent for most of her early years. After three years at the convent, she is finally set free, only to learn she is to be married to Henri II, prince of France, in a political union.

Married at the young age of fourteen, Catherine's marriage is not happy. Her husband is not interested in her, preferring his much older mistress. Catherine knows that in order to secure her future, she must produce a male heir. In order to survive in the world she must live in, she determines that she will use her skill and cunning to outwit, out scheme, and outlast her enemies, shaping her future as one of the most powerful and feared Queens in history.

Although Catherine de' Medici is not the most likeable of historical figures - she was known as a cruel and manipulative queen who ruthlessly eliminated her enemies - author Carolyn Meyer manages to make her a sympathetic young woman in this novel, telling of the events that helped shape her later character. I highly recommend this novel to teen readers who love historical fiction. It is a very fascinating look at a famous queen who is not often written about in young adult fiction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Duchessina June 18 2013
By Piggy Connoisseur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Duchessina was the first book I'd read by Carolyn Meyer. I had read many of Ann Rinaldi's books, but hadn't found an author that wrote such interesting historical fiction as her. There really isn't much out there for young adults/ teens in that genre. However, when I found the Young Royals series in the library, I was ecstatic!

I was very pleased with this book. The pacing was pretty well done, albeit slower than Ms. Meyer's other books, until the end. The last few chapters were very VERY rushed. After the lovely description and detail of before, it wan't enjoyable. I felt as if I was skimming, even though I wasn't. This is the primary reason I took a star off. As for the rest of the book, the detail was enough, but not too much that the story started to become boring.

I found this book highly informational for someone new to the subject. Some topics I knew very little about that I got a good amount of information on from this book were the life of Catherine (Caterina) de' Medici, the way Italy was governed in the 1500's, a little about Catholicism in the 1500's, the renaissance, and more.

I would recommend this book to fans of Ann Rinaldi, Susan Dunlap, and Carolyn Meyer's other books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning June 2 2013
By Julia Annaliese - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book really moved me into feeling completely sympathetic to her situation. This book is very well written and is great for anyone from 13 years old to 53 years old. There are rarely any books that cross age barriers like this one does.

PS. When I went to France this past summer I actually visited the castle that is mentioned at the end of the book, Chenoceaux.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book Jan. 14 2008
By Jordan Jensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I was finished with this book, I hated it. I thought that the author made Catherine seem like a heroine, when in reality (from what i have read) she was more of a "bad girl"! But after reviewing the book in my head after a few days, i realized how much i liked the book. It's a very fast read-things certainly don't turn out the way you would hope. so if you are a hopeless romantic reader...don't read it. but i learned a lot about that era in time. I liked it.
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