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Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici (Young Royals) Hardcover – June 1, 2007
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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
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