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Blood, Fire and Gold: The story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici

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The same is true for Elizabeth, who had to decide on the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (not to be confused with her half-sister).

The first third or so of the book is a standard recounting of the early years of Elizabeth and Catherine - rather rushed and condensed. This story of the two queens was very readable and told in such a way I did not want to put the book down! Although it is understandable that Paranque desired to weave an illustrative tapestry and make the history come alive; this literary device discredits the text for staunch history lovers and confuses novice readers to assume these are factual. 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. I'm not someone whose drawn to the Tudors or Elizabeth I as this period often feels repetitive in UK historical discourse.

She has extensively published on the Tudors and the Valois and is the author of Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

To execute such a person would go against the Divine Right of Kings doctrine and her own legitimacy. Elizabeth was horrified by the St Bartholomew massacre of the Huguenots which took place later that year during the celebrations of the wedding Catherine had arranged between her daughter Margaret and the Huguenot Henry of Navarre; but the French ambassador assured her that Catherine and Charles IX had had nothing to do with the massacre, and she maintained the alliance she had just made with France. In ‘The Century of Deception’, Ian Keable tells the engrossing stories of eighteenth-century hoaxes, and those who were duped by them. Catherine’s 20 year negotiations to marry one of her sons to Elizabeth and 3) Elizabeth’s house arrest of Mary Queen of Scots and the later prosecution and execution. Paranque among them, are ready to grant themselves the novelist's freedom--though not with facts, thank goodness.

It is also a tale of ceaseless calculation, of love and rivalry, of war and wisdom - and of female power in a male world.

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