The Rival Queens

  • by Nancy Goldstone
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 16 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century.
Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm.
Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for 30 years. Her youngest daughter, Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control.
When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family.
Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone's narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.


What the Critics Say

"With compelling storytelling, Goldstone colorfully weaves together the tales of these two women...whose powerful personalities and deep allegiance to France helped shape the country's future." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Goldstone] spins a tangled tale of rivalry, ambition, and, especially - for the rare women leaders of the time - sheer self-preservation...Goldstone has a remarkable handle on these often Byzantine royal machinations. History brought to vivid life in the characters of these women of purpose." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Attention, Game of Thrones fans: The most enjoyably sensational aspects of medieval politics - double-crosses, ambushes, bizarre personal obsessions, lunacy and naked self-interest - are in abundant evidence." (Laura Miller, Salon)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Two Amazing Woman and Conflicted Women!

Any additional comments?

The Medici Family is a favorite study of mine and this book does a spectacular job at bringing Catherine de Medici and her family to life. Well done and highly recommended!

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- Clinton Kippley "shhh.... can't you see I am reading?"

Good history lesson

What did you like best about The Rival Queens? What did you like least?

The book was obviously meticulously researched. The characters are more interesting than if they were fictional. The events are fascinating...marriages, affairs, wars and religious upheavals, even a massacre. Unfortunately the author does not manage to conjure the same excitement with the Medici and the Valois that Alison Weir and Hilary Mantel do with the Tudors

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The age during which this story takes place, the period of history itself, is extremely interesting. The two central characters are simply enthralling; it is a shame that Catherine de Medici does not quite come to life in this book. Queen Margot fairs a little better.

What aspect of Suzanne Toren’s performance would you have changed?

Somehow I found her tone pompous. She did not add anything to the characters. I did not particularly like her reding.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I would definitely go see any movie about Margaret de Valois and Catherine De Medici; everything necessary for a great script is in this book...if the script writer could only add the spark

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- Pita "Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-23-2015
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio