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Sense of Touch: Love and Duty at Anne of Brittany's Court Paperback – May 13, 2016
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"A romance and an interesting novel about a little-known French queen. It is a story with a strong sense of place and well-drawn characters, a story of heartache and forbidden love, of women in the15th century French court, who fought with passion and determination for what they wanted. A striking story." --Historical Novel Society
"I have no hesitation in giving this book 5well-deserved stars. A fascinating insight into Anne of Brittany(honestly, before I read this book I had not heard of her). Amesmerizing story line, eloquently told with a brilliant dialogue."--Duncan Whitehead, bestselling author of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club
"An exquisitely written piece that eloquently describes Queen Anne as the gracious, kind, yet shrewd monarch that she is, a woman before her time." -- InD'tale Magazine
"Readers who love their romantic fiction intertwined with real-life figures from history will find Sense of Touch a compelling read. The touching love story gives an interested glimpse into court life in France in the late 15th century. The fictional heroine is well drawn and a formidable counterpart to Anne of Brittany." --RT Review Source
"Rozsa Gaston's well researched foray into Anne of Brittany, the life of a noblewoman at court and the15th century is spot on. She successfully and artfully blends fact and fiction to create an unforgettable tale. Anne's story alone is compelling, and one I was not so familiar with before reading this book. She suffers loss with grace and dignity, and has an inner strength, one she shares with Nicole as the plot unwinds.Gaston deftly weaves the tapestry of her story while paying homage to a lesser known but deserving historical figure. Well written, well developed characters and accurate historical information make this book a winner. Exquisite and eloquent, Rozsa Gaston shows Anne of Brittany and Nicole to be modern women well ahead of their times. Don't miss this!"
--Helene Furst, Morning Beans Blog
"Gaston brings the perspective of a smart, shrewd female leader with true admiration from the men in her world to print." -- Kim Nagy, Wild River Review
"The Horse Whisperer meets costume drama based on true events. Rozsa Gaston weaves fact and fiction, made-up characters and historical figures as effortlessly as the artist of the unicorn tapestry she describes in Sense of Touch." --Hilde van den Bergh, Hemmahoshilde Blog
"An enchanting historical romance about a young woman who is determined to marry her one true love, despite the many obstacles in her path. The heroine's quest for self-determination defies the rigid social structure of Medieval Europe as it gives way to the Renaissance. Set in the court of Anne of Brittany, we also learn much about the woman who was twice Queen consort of France and her struggle to produce a living heir for the throne . . .Well-paced with period detail." -- The Westchester Guardian
"A romance and an interesting novel about a little-known French queen. It is a story with a strong sense of place and well-drawn characters, a story of heartache and forbidden love, of women in the 15th century French court, who fought with passion and determination for what they wanted. A striking story."--Historical Novel Society "Readers who love their romantic fiction intertwined with real-life figures from history will find Sense of Touch a compelling read. The touching love story gives an interested glimpse into court life in France in the late 15th century.The fictional heroine is well drawn and a formidable counterpart to Anne of Brittany." -- RT Review Source "An enchanting historical romance about a young woman who is determined to marry her one true love, despite the many obstacles in her path.The heroine's quest for self determination defies the rigid social structure of Medieval Europe as it gives way to the Renaissance. Set in the court of Anne of Brittany, we also learn much about the woman who was twice Queen consort of France and her struggle to produce a living heir for the throne . . .Well-paced with period detail."--The Westchester Guardian "An exquisitely written piece that eloquently describes Queen Anne as the gracious, kind, yet shrewd monarch that she is, a woman before her time." -- InD'tale Magazine "Genuine character development and engagement with the fascinating setting."--The BookLife Prize in Fiction "I have no hesitation in giving this book 5 well-deserved stars. A fascinating insight into Anne of Brittany (honestly, before I read this book I had not heard of her). A mesmerizing story line, eloquently told with a brilliant dialogue."--Duncan Whitehead, bestselling author of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club "Sense of Touch by Rozsa Gaston visits the court of historical figure Anne of Brittany and adroitly blends fact with fiction as this author shares the story of her characters noble woman Nicole St. Sylvain and horse trainer Philippe de Bois. Fleshed out with amazing amounts of research coupled with Ms.Gaston's sensitivity and imagination this story comes to life as it shares an intimate view of life in 15th Century France and the hearts of her wonderfully depicted characters. This writer was able to maintain the delicate balance of her story and pay homage to a historical figure of note accurately and engagingly. Well written this work will resonate with lovers of history and romance alike."--Jennifer Hayes, Jenerated Reviews "The Horse Whisperer meets costume drama based on true events. Rozsa Gaston weaves fact and fiction, made-up characters and historical figures as effortlessly as the artist of the unicorn tapestry she describes in Sense of Touch." --Hilde van den Bergh, Hemmahoshilde Blog "A fascinating look at a historical time when women fought to find theirplace in a man's--and a king's--world. Well written, too. Good pacing." --Jina Bacarr, author of Cleopatra's Perfume "A wonderful read filled with intrigue, adventures, passion and strength, Sense of Touch lets the world know more about the much forgotten Anne of Brittany."--Clarissa Devine, Quirky LadyBookworm Blog "An excellent read, a real page-turner. Anyone interested in romantic historical fiction will love Sense of Touch. Set against the intriguing backdrop of French 15th century court life and its Queen, the strong, fascinating Anne of Brittany, the author skillfully weaves both real-life and fictional figures into this extremely well-written novel." --Toby Oliver, author of The Downing Street Plot "Following a surfeit of books on Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Cromwell, it was refreshing to be introduced to the brilliant and tragic Queen Anne, consort of France in the late 15th. century. Her sorrows and joys became ours, as did the fun and wiles of her lady-in-waiting. Ms. Gaston has the wonderful gift of mixing fiction with historical fact."--A. L. Morris
From the Author
Ever since picking up Mildred Allen Butler's book on Anne of Brittany a few years ago (Twice Queen of France: Anne of Brittany. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1967), I've been fascinated by this French queen who came to power at age eleven as ruler of Brittany, then became queen of France at age fourteen.
Anne of Brittany's travails trying to bring live children into the world rival any woman's in history. This girl/woman went through the wringer as a mother. Her fourteen pregnancies resulted in the survival of two children, both daughters. The rest? Three miscarriages, five stillborn infants, one son dead after three hours, one daughter dead after one day, another son lived three weeks, her longest living son survived to age three when he succumbed to measles. As a public figure, this queen's drama played out on the stage of all of France. If I had made this up, readers wouldn't believe it. Yet it's all true, and carefully historically documented.
I began to wonder why Anne of Brittany's story is not well known. Many modern women share the same secret heartaches their medieval and ancient-era sisters suffered: pregnancy loss, inability to bring a live child into the world, inability to keep a child alive once born. Women continue to struggle with these issues, suffering in silence when pregnancy and childbirth loss occurs. My heart aches for every one of them.
I wanted to bring alive Anne of Brittany's tale for modern women, many of whom share her story in personal grief and in courage. At the same time this brave woman endured continual personal tragedy she achieved great success as queen of France. She offers the world a model of fortitude and resilience in the face of enormous personal suffering. Brava, Anne of Brittany!
- Anne of Brittany ruled over the most sophisticated court in Europe.
- She was the first European royal to wear lingerie.
- She helped usher in the glories of the Renaissance from Italy to France. She ran the first finishing school for young women of noble birth, educating them in book learning and estate management and supplying or supplementing their dowries when they married.
- Both of Anne of Brittany's husbands were madly in love with her. Neither considered putting her aside despite her inability to produce an heir for the throne of France. Her second husband, Louis XII of France, died less than a year after her death at the age of thirty seven. It was said that he never recovered from her death.
- Anne of Brittany was renown throughout Europe as a matchmaker. Rulers of other European countries, including King Ferdinand of Spain, after his wife Isabella's death, and the King of Hungary sought her advice in choosing suitable new spouses.
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Author: Rozsa Gaston
Publisher: Renaissance Editions
Type of book: 1497-1500, France, forbidden love, second chances, admiration, class, rank, daily life, herbs, horses, healing, not giving up, growing up, nation above self, Anne of Brittany
Year it was published: 2016
The court of Anne of Brittany, wife to Charles VIII, then Louis XII, brought the glories of the Renaissance to France. To many, however, this achievement was overshadowed by her inability to give the kingdom an heir.
Fifteen-year-old Nicole St. Sylvain, new to the queen’s court, possesses a healing sense of touch—a talent she demonstrates when caring for one of the queen’s stallions. Nicole’s ability does not go unnoticed by Anne. Nor does Nicole herself escape the admiring gaze of nineteen-year-old horse trainer Philippe de Bois—the man Nicole loves but cannot have. An arranged marriage makes any hope of happiness impossible.
When Anne's only living child falls ill, she pleads with Nicole to save the princess, promising anything in return. Should Nicole succeed, will the queen reward her with her heart's desire? And should she fail, what will the future hold?
There are quite a few memorable characters, namely Anne of Brittany that has been touched by tragedy throughout her young life and has done her best to do what she can for others. I often felt sad that one of the things she is well remembered for is that almost all her progeny has died and not for anything else. Nicole is one of the ladies in waiting for Anne of Brittany, a noblewoman on her mother's side and merchant on her father's side and often admires the queen and does her best to emulate her. She leads a parallel life of sorts to that of Anne of Brittany's and also grows up and is not afraid to after what her heart desires. Philippe is a talented young man who becomes smitten with Nicole and shares similar interests to her. He comes from a poor class however.
Don't give up on your dreams
The story is told in third person narrative from Nicole's point of view. I do think that characterization of the queen could have been done better and I would have liked there to be more details about the characters' lives during that time. I am also curious what, if any, ancenstry did Anne of Brittany have when it came to the Sun King Louis XIV. But it is a wonderful story of growing up and facing fears as well as conquering them and not giving up on your dreams.
(From the book)
Rozsa Gaston writes playful books on serious matters, incoluding the struggles women face to get waht they want out of life. In addition to Sense of Touch she is the authro fo Paris, Adieu, Black is nto a color, Runing from love, Dog Sitters, and lyric.
Gaston studied European intellectual history at Yale and received her masters in international affairs from Columbia.
Gaston has worked as a singer and pianist all over the world. After leaving the entertainment industry she worked at Institutional Investor, then as a hedge funds marketer. She lives in Bronxville, New York, with her famly and is currently working on Anne of Brittany: Girl Who ruled a country, the sequel to Sense of Touch.
Gaston can be found onloine on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rozsagastonauthor, or at her website, [...]. Her motto? Stay playful.
Although I didn't review it yet, I previously read a wonderful novel titled The Errant Hours by Kate Innes where I found myself transported into the daily life of the late 13th century. When I glanced and looked through Sense of Touch, I thought it might be similar to The Errant Hours. It was, yet it wasn't. Sense of Touch, like Errant Hours, feels incredibly human and the reader is focused more on molecular level on the lives of Anne of Brittany's ladies-in-waiting. But unlike The Errant Hours, there is something poetic and lyrical about the story, especially about the life of the unknown queen of Brittany and France. I found myself admiring her and its obvious that the author had done research on her and included a lot of intimate things about her life.
This is for amazon campaign for pump up your book
Sense of Touch is a 15th century historical romance that took me back in time to the court of Anne of Brittany. Though the story focuses on the romance of Nicole and Philippe, I was able to get a taste of the courageous, strong and graceful woman that Anne of Brittany was and how she ruled. Through Nicole's eyes, the young sovereign was shown at her best. I could not imagine the strength of character Anne possessed to get through multiple pregnancies that ended in stillbirths or deaths at a young age. More than anything, Nicole had respect for Queen Anne and took her lessons to heart. Nicole may be fictional, but she does portray many of the real girls that Queen Anne brought into her life as part of a type of finishing school. Most historical romances feature cunning lovers who go against their ruler's wishes. Nicole and Philippe were different than most lovers, they fulfilled their duties to family and country first. Fate took a large role in eventually bringing them back together. Overall, a historical romance set in 15th century France that features not only forbidden romance, but a true friendship and appreciation for Anne of Brittany.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review