Book Review of The Queen and The Courtesan
Henriette d’Entragues isn’t satisfied with simply being the mistress of Henry IV of France, she wants a crown too.
Despite his promises to marry her, the King is obliged by political necessity to ally himself with Marie de Medici, an Italian princess who will bring riches to the treasury.
But Henriette isn’t for giving up easily. She has a written promise of marriage which she intends to use to declare the royal marriage illegal. All she has to do to achieve her ambition is to give Henry a son, then whatever it takes through intrigue and conspiracy to set him on the throne
Freda Lightfoot joins us on Books, Books, and More Books today to share about her book, ‘The Queen and the Courtesan.” We appreciate your taking the time to visit with us today.
FL: The Queen and the Courtesan is the last in the trilogy about Marguerite de Valois and Henry IV of France. This book deals with the story of Henriette d’Entragues, who wasn’t satisfied with simply being the mistress of Henry IV of France, she wanted a crown too. Before agreeing to become his mistress she insisted upon a written promise that if she provided him with a son, he would make her his queen. Of course, it all becomes far more
MKW: What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
FL: . Henriette was a fascinating character to write as her greed and ambition didn’t make her particularly likeable, so she was in a way an anti-heroine, if there is such a thing. I wanted the reader to disapprove of her, but not so badly that they switched off and closed the book. Quite a challenge.
MKW: Which was your favorite scene to write?
FL: The love scenes were fun as she relied upon her charms to keep Henry interested. He very much liked the ladies and didn’t really do fidelity. But I found the scenes involving intrigue the most fascinating to write.
zsagas but with this trilogy I had to search out every detail. It was almost like being a detective, finding out what these people were really like, what plots were going on behind the scenes, and what their motivation was. Fascinating, but scary too at times as I needed to read widely to gain every viewpoint before I understood it all sufficiently well to write about it.
MKW: What Are Your Writing Quirks & Must-Haves To Write?
FL: I need silence and solitude to write. I’m not a coffee shop writer. And preferably the knowledge that I have several uninterrupted hours ahead of me. Then I can totally immerse myself in the story and characters.
MKW: Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
FL: I have been writing full time for some years now, but in the early days when I was running a book shop, and later a gift shop, bringing up children and being all things to all people as we women do, I wrote short stories and articles in any spare moment I could find. Often while the TV was on, behind the counter, or while I was cooking. (Which can tend to mess up dinner somewhat) Then after three rejections I sold an historical romance to Mills & Boon which gave me an enormous boost. I wrote five of those before closing down the business in the early nineties and going all out to write a mainstream saga. A mad risk, but it paid off.
MKW: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
FL: As a child I wanted to be a writer but was told to get a ‘proper job’. I qualified and worked as a teacher until my second daughter was born, then started working for myself so that I could always find those odd moments to follow my dream.
MKW: Where do you find your Inspirations?
FL: I find inspiration and ideas from many sources: family memories, history of the places I’ve lived in such as the beautiful English Lake District and Cornwall, and the more interesting parts of my own life, such as when we had a smallholding and tried the ‘good life’. I also interview people, pick up ideas from newspapers, TV, dinner parties, ear-wigging the next table in a restaurant, as all writers do. And I have hundreds of books, old magazines, memoirs and documents of all kinds that I squirrel away in case they come in handy one day.
It was finding an old book on my shelf that set me on the quest of writing about Marguerite de Valois in the first place. It was a biography of her called ‘The Queen of Hearts’, and I’d bought it at some second hand book shop years ago. I picked it up to read one night, discovered she was the daughter of Catherine de Medici and what a fascinating life she had, and that was it. I had to know more and began researching what became ‘Hostage Queen’, and then ‘Reluctant Queen’. And in this last book ‘The Queen and the Courtesan’, she returns from her life in exile at Usson, to spend her last years back in Paris. I did feel rather sorry for Henry’s new Queen, Marie de Medici, as she had a mistress and an ex-wife to deal with.
FL: The paperback of The Queen and the Courtesan, published 29 June, can be found here:
Most of my titles are now up as ebooks on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords etc. Links to them can be found on my website:
Follow me on Twitter: @fredalightfoot
Follow me on Twitter: @fredalightfoot
Thank you Freda Lightfoot for joining us today.
This is a fascinating book. The history is brought to life in beautiful detail supplying both historical information and a wonderful story at the same time. I loved the haughty, flirtatious Courtesan who would be Queen and the proud Queen who had to deal with her husband’s infidelity.
Well written and chock-full of historical information, this is how history should be taught. I learned new facts about Spain, France, and England that I didn’t know previously, all wrapped up in a great story. What a great way for someone to learn history.
This is a must read for anyone who enjoys history or historical fiction. I give is 5 out of 5 clouds.
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