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Henri IV (1553-1610) was a favorite among French kings -- for good reason.
Born a Protestant in southwestern France, he was centuries ahead of his time in his ideas about religious tolerance. Like his friend the philosopher Michel de Montaigne, he fought for Protestants and Catholics to live peacefully together and succeeded in ending decades-long civil wars. However, his lust and driving sexuality often threatened to upset his high ideals. The Royal Huguenot takes pace during the struggle for power among the Bourbon, Guise, and Valois families in 16th century France and tells the often lurid and surprising story of the five most prominent women in his life:
Marguerite de Valois (1553-1615), oftentimes called Queen Margot,
was Henri IV s first wife and a Catholic. She was intelligent, manipulative, and could be either a trial or a temptress for Henry. Their arranged marriage was meant to end the wars between the Catholics and the Huguenots, French Protestants.
Corisande d Andoins (1554-1620) was Henry s true love, but she was too proud and wise to become only his mistress or follow him from battlefield to battlefield.
Gabrielle d Estrées (1573-1599), besotted Henry for many years, and
bore him four illegitimate children before an early death would snatch the throne from her.
Henriette d Entragues (1579-1633), wily and beautiful, crazed Henry with her intrigues to trap him into making her his queen.
Marie de Medici (1573-1642), an Italian princess, finally became
Henry s queen and bore him six children, including Louis XIII, so securing a long line of French Bourbon kings.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Many years ago I discovered love letters between Henri IV of France and several of his mistresses. Because I could read old French, I translated several of them and thought what a wonderful historical novel they would make. Only recently did I have time to revisit the project.
Henri IV is a very popular king in France but little is know about him in the United States. I wanted to bring to life this exuberant personality who brilliantly ended the religious wars in Europe in the 16th century, and who was so ahead of his time in his ideas about religious tolerance.
Henri was somewhat of a rogue where women were concerned, but he loved several passionately. I've divided the book into the five most important women in his life and enjoyed the research greatly, traveling first to Pau in the southwest, where he was born and where the Huguenots were strong; then to Paris where he married the infamous Catholic princess, Marguerite de Valois; and then to Gascony, where he met the love of his life, Corisande d'Andoins. Following his military exploits took me to sites in Burgandy and Normandy, and then back to Paris where he became the first Bourbon king. Louis XIII is his son by Marie de Medici, whom he finally married to satisfy his royal duty. He's a larger-than-life character who essentially told his own story.
Nelda Hirsh lives in New York City and Boulder, Colorado with her husband. After a career in human resources and public relations, she turned to what she loves to do historical research and writing. Choosing subjects of special interest to her, she has written two historical novels and a non-fiction art history/biography book about a woman artist in California around the turn of the last century.The books are meticulously researched and vividly bring to life important figures in American and French history. The next book, also an historical novel, will feature Thomas Jefferson and the two most important women in his life -- his daughter Patsy Jefferson Randolph, and his concubine Sally Hemings.
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