I speed read Catherine de Medici – Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda last week in order to finish it in time for the Newcomers Club Book Club. It is not an easy read and the author who is Swedish by birth and apparently speaks five languages loves using unusual words like bobbish, chimera and tergiversations. In spite of the fact that reading the book is a bit of a slog, it reads like a text book, I did find it very interesting.
Renaissance France is fascinating. Catherine De Medici lived from 1519 to 1589, during the reigns of 5 French kings. One of them was her husband and three of them were her sons. This was a particularly violent period. There were constantly recurring religious wars (at least six), the St Bartholomew's Day massacre (for which Catherine was blamed), Burnings of protestants, and political assassinations. Catherine survived and perhaps even thrived, shaping French politics through most of this period.
I am glad I read this book. I learned a lot about this period in history in general and French history in particular. It certainly helped me better understand the renaissance and the reformation.
Thanks to my friend Linda here are a few of the obscure words, their meanings and the page references.
Page 337: bobbish – healthy, in good spirits (this word wasn't even in my dictionary. it is in dictionary.com)
Page 337: chimera – an illusion or fabrication of the mind