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French Historical Fiction


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Initial post: Mar 1, 2008 8:15:02 PM PST
I am looking for historical fiction set in France, in particular during the reign of King Francois I (The Renaissance King) and his son and successor Henri II and his mistress Diane De Poitiers. I have read Courtesan by Diane Haegar and the Serpent and the Moon by Princess Kent. I appreciate the help!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2008 10:52:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 2, 2008 8:51:38 AM PST
Selene says:
Jean Plaidy's wrote a trilogy about Catherine de Medici
1. Madame Serpent
2. The Italian Woman
aka The Unholy Woman
3. Queen Jezebel
Diane de Poitiers features in "Madame Seroent"

Judith Merkle Riley, "The Master of All Desires", about the French queen, Catherine de Medici, and Nostradamus

Mary, Quuen of Scots spent some time at the court of Henri II, and you might like to check out this link
http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/mqshfrct.html

You'll find reference to Antonia Fraser's NF book about Mary, which covers her early life.
Margaret George has written a novel about her called "Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles",though these are probably heading out of your area of interest.

Alexandre Dumas Snr wrote a book called "Queen Margot", which is about Marguerite, the daughter of Henri II and Catherine de Medici.

Nearly forgot Dorothy Dunnett's "Lymond" series. (Mary, QOS reminded me) Lymond spends time at the court of Henri II of France as a spy in vol 2, "The Queen's Play-" brilliant description of life at the court.
The Lymond stories start in Scotland and range all over Europe and the Middle East-- you might enjoy them all. Vol 1 is "The King's Game"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2008 9:19:41 AM PST
Misfit says:
I second Dumas. I haven't read all of his books yet, but my understanding is the complete works cover a wide range of French history. The recently discovered The Last Cavalier (never finished) covers the age of Napoleon and according to the book notes was the "missing link" in Dumas' history of France.

The Lymond Chronicles are fabulous (I'm currently on book five) but not easy breeze reads.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2008 10:15:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 2, 2008 10:22:31 AM PST
Selene says:
One interesting fact about Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici is that they were related, both being descendants of the La Tour d'Auvergne family.
So not only was Diane Catherine's rival for her husband's attention, but also regarded as a sort of bossy older cousin!

I'd agree with Misfit that the Lymond Chronicles are not light reading, but they are such a brilliant picture of the Tudor era Renaissance world, that they are worth
persevering with. Once you get into them, you're away!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008 6:05:42 PM PST
Selene says:
Jasmine, seeing you enjoyed Diane Haeger's "Courtesan', I thought that you might like to know that she has a new book coming out in April this year
"The Secret Bride", (biographical novel of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII)
Cheers.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 1:00:02 PM PDT
Susan Rogers says:
The Courtesan is a well-written version of Diane de Poitiers' life, although it is not historically accurate since it takes a side plot from Dumas' Two Dianas. Madame Serpent tells the story from Catherine de Medici's point of view. And Selene is correct, Diane and Catherine were cousins.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 1:02:56 PM PDT
Susan Rogers says:
"A Portrait in Black and White," a newer book about Diane came out last year. It is a fictional journal, although it was marketed as a biography.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 5:28:40 PM PDT
The "Scarlet Pimpernel" and "A Tale of Two Cities" are two goldie-but-oldies. Also, anything by Dumas, who was my favorite author for a spell when I was a child.

Leonardo Noto

Posted on Aug 4, 2012 8:53:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 8:55:05 PM PDT
Marjorie says:
Set in the original poster's period, an oldie but goodie: "The King's Cavalier," by Samuel Shellabarger. A young nobleman becomes embroiled in a conspiracy against Francis I.

Set in the following century: "The King's Path," by Françoise Chandernagor. An excellent fictionalized "autobiography" based on the life of Madame de Maintenon, who rose from poverty and obscurity to become the wife (although unacknowledged) of Louis XIV. She's usually presented as an unlikeable character; in this book she becomes surprisingly sympathetic.

Also set in the reign of Louis XIV: the excellent series of mysteries by Judith Rock starring a young Jesuit teaching in the great Jesuit school of Louie-le-Grand in Paris. There are two so far: "The Rhetoric of Death" and "The Eloquence of Blood," with a new one, "A Plague of Lies," due out in October 2012. Even if you're not a mystery fan, these are good, well-researched historical novels with interesting plots and characters and great period atmosphere.

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 12:28:39 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 5, 2012 12:43:15 AM PDT]

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 6:39:52 AM PDT
Misfit says:
Oooh, old thread to add new ones to. Dumas also wrote The Two Dianas, which is based on a fictional daughter of Henri and de Poitiers. Fictional yes, but Dumas works a lot of history in as well. Loved it to bits, but I recommend hunting down one of the 1910 Collier Editions. These newer publications can be very dodgy in translation and abridgements.

I found The Spider King by Schoonover at a recent thrift store binge. Looks promising, Louis XI. The Angelique books are a lot of fun, and don't let those covers fool you - they are much more historical fiction than romance.

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 3:05:24 PM PDT
Does anyone have recommendations for ancient French history? Pre-Charlemagne, even back to tribal days? I enjoyed Druids by Morgan Llewwellyn and would like to read more fiction about that time, if it exists, up to post-fall-of-Rome.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 2:42:09 PM PST
Ksenia says:
Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows of any fiction about Anna of Kiev married to Henry 1 (House of Capet). She ruled as regent for her underage son Phillip I when Henry died. Thanks in advance.
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
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Initial post:  Mar 1, 2008
Latest post:  Jan 5, 2013

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