Today, I have an interview with my dear friend who also happens to be a person and author I highly admire, Sophie Perinot. Her book, Medicis Daughter, set in the 16th Century French Court and primarily about Catherine Medicis daughter Margaurite of Valois, was published in November 2015 from Thomas Dunne and to great reviews and high acclaim. It was the Barnes and Noble December pick and was chosen at GoodReads as one of the best books of the month for December. Blurbed by amazing historical fiction authors like Michelle Moran and Kate Quinn, reviews poured in from media and bloggers alike praising it as well.
And what did I think? Besides loving this gorgeous cover? I’d been working hard without much time for reading even though I had an early copy, but I barreled through it a month or more before the release and absolutely fell in love with it. I didn’t really want to read anything else afterwards for fear it would spoil the book living in my mind. I liked it so much I’m intimidated to write it a review and I’ve held off doing so until I can get it perfect, which will be soon. I did offer a small review over on Amazon upon release, so here it is:
“Medicis Daughter is a transporting vessel of furious page turning to a world beyond, where Renaissance France brings court intrigue and innocence that lasts about as long as it takes for a venomous snake to strike! Every glorious descriptive detail holds your tongue from gasping for air as you ride along the ebb and flow of Marguerite’s entrance to womanhood, romance, and the politics of her family and court. As for the men, I fell in love myself with the Duc de Guise and now I’m super crushing and I just want to time travel back to their first encounters, where I felt my own cheeks blush. As always, Sophie’s elegant writing, setting, and scenery make you feel as if you are royalty yourself. This book is definitely a read of choice for long winter nights as well as it would be a great gift for any woman who is a lover of historical fiction, France, or a fan of the show Reign. I highly recommend this book from one of the best historical fiction writers in the game.”
But really it was the ending that got me…it sunk deep enough for me, it was almost life changing. This novel was one of my favorite historical fiction novels of 2015.
Enjoy this exclusive in-depth look with this interview….
Hi Sophie!! I’m so excited you are here at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Medicis Daughter is a great achievement for you and I’m very happy and pleased for its success. Personally I think it was magnificent and one of the best historical fiction novels of this year. You were busy all year with it. How are you feeling now that it’s published?
Sophie: I am feeling exhausted and elated! Given the terrific reception that Médicis Daughter has been getting from the reading and reviewing communities, mostly elated. And I am absolutely delighted that you enjoyed the book, Erin!
Erin: It’s one of my favorites of the year, and as well, I know how hard you worked to promote it all year long. Welcome back for a short stay in Ohio with me. J Come in and have a seat in my library, where we can slouch back in these comfy chairs and put up our feet, and have your drink of choice in celebration…we can have champagne? Or wine? Or just tea even? I’ll tempt you with chocolate cheesecake….*I’m evil but you deserve it*
Sophie: I think a nice glass of French red would be appropriate since I have no doubt we are going to talk about the Valois 😉
Erin: Perfect choice! I’ll pour and we cut a slice or two and nibble while we talk. Let’s begin, as I’m anxious to ask you all sorts of sordid things about your work. Kidding!
Q: Many historical fiction books have a fine line between fact and fiction, because so much is based on facts found, but yet, so much on conjecture too. It’s like reading between the lines and putting that vision to paper. Can you talk about how you how do you navigate the line between history and fiction and weave it together?
A: Let me start by saying that I have a degree in history, but I do not write academic history. I write novels: books whose primary goal is not educational. When I sit down at my keyboard I am seeking to tell a universal story that is set in the past but transcends it. This means allowing plot and theme to act as a filter to the myriad of historical facts swimming in my head. So, for example, the central theme of Médicis Daughter is a young woman growing into herself, and learning to manage and ultimately escape the expectations of her dangerous and domineering mother. So the history I chose to include in the novel was filtered through that. There are lots of interesting bits of French history (actually notebooks full) that stayed on my desk and out of my story.
In addition to passing history through the sieve of story, historical novelists also get to move things. In Médicis Daughter, for example, I relocated the signing of Marguerite de Valois’ marriage contract from the Great Hall at Blois to Catherine de Médicis private study, because I wanted to use imagery of the paneling in Catherine’s inner sanctum—very distinctive gold paneling—covering secret cubbies. In addition to a little creative rearranging, novelists get to make things up. Academic Historians speculate, of course. They have to because they can’t know everything even about the best-documented events of the past. So they draw conclusions from fact and state that they are doing so. But they are not permitted to make up events or people and insert them into history. In contrast, it is perfectly acceptable for historical novelists to create dialogue, fictional happenings and fictional characters and insert them into history.
All of the preceding is a very long way of saying that my work as a novelist isn’t entirely constrained by history. BUT if I write first rate historical fiction – and I’d like to think I do – then in telling my story I wish to hew closely to the historical facts as we know them. How do I achieve that?
First, I don’t wing it. I use the same sorts of resources that academic historians use—scholarly journal articles, primary sources (for example in Médicis Daughter I used the memoirs of Marguerite de Valois as well as other primary sources like political pamphlets published contemporaneously with events in the story), and secondary sources (biographies, prior histories). In the area of research, I firmly believe that a majority of historical fiction writers do a much better job than the creators of other pop-culture sources of history (TV and films).
Second, when I make something up I use my grounding in the history of the period to create a convincing fiction. And when I make a change from history or when I am faced with a choice of facts/dates, I use my author’s note to let readers know that I have made a deviation, inference or choice. I am a huge fan of author’s notes. If you are a fan of historical fiction you doubtless already read them—if you are a reader branching out into books set in history, I strongly suggest you always read the note.
Finally I’d close by saying it is vital to keep in mind, whether you are writing historical fiction or reading it that what we “know” for certain in history often changes. New studies, new information, new scholarship can challenge and change accepted facts, undercutting theories that have stood for decades. I have an example from an earlier book I worked on, A Day of Fire: a Novel of Pompeii. For many years the eruption of Vesuvius was believed to have happened in August of 79 CE. The prolific and influential historian Mary Beard subscribed to this date as did pretty much all historians specializing in ancient Rome. Then new physical evidence was unearthed including: autumnal fruits; jars with fermenting wine; and, most compellingly, a Roman coin minted after September 7 or 8 of the year 79 CE. Presto changeo– the date of the destruction of Pompeii has been moved to late September or early October of 79CE.
Q: Are any of your characters in Médicis Daughter fictional then? If so, how did you create them in comparison to how you formed those based on actual historical people?
A: There are a minimal number of wholly fictional characters in Médicis Daughter. Probably less than half-a-dozen. That’s because the Valois Court was blessed—or cursed, which is what it feels like sometimes when you are trying to keep track of them all—with an enormous number of inhabitants. I have thirty pages of members of Catherine de Médicis’ household over the years.
Sometimes, however, I wanted a character I could play with as I liked, and so it was easier to create one. This takes some research as well because I want the fictional characters to be historically realistic. So, for example, I try to give them names that would have been common during the 16th century, in the region of France which I have them coming from.
Thus in creating a handsome young gentleman from Picardy I consulted several resources before naming him Edouard de Carandas.
Q: I always love the male characters in your novels/stories. You portray them much differently than most other writers, I think, or even as history books might, because you create them with more depth of feeling. I fall in love with your male characters, and I don’t do that often. I’m assuming you know you do this? Haha! Why and how do you give them the traits you do?
A: One of my guiding principles in writing is to remember that what is essentially human has not changed and never changes. Gender roles change, fashions change, governments change, expectations for marriage change. But the need to be understood, the desire to love and be loved, certain bonds (like those between parent and child), really have not altered in eons. I try to write my men to be fully human. The best of them have flaws. The worst of them have redeeming qualities (usually). I like to find something in each I can understand—some central touchstone characteristic. If I can understand a person, then I can inhabit them in the manner necessary to write them three-dimensionally. Of course I have my own preferences among the men in my books just as I do among men in real life. I tend to be drawn to men who remind me in some way of my husband, my father or my son. And I will admit I steal traits from all three of those guys and scatter them into my fictionalized historical gentlemen, along with characteristics from friends and acquaintances.
Q: What is the juiciest thing you learned about the Valois family in your research?
A: There are so many really juicy bits. I spent a lot of time reading about Catherine de Médicis when she was a young bride first arrived in France so that I could try to understand who she became and why. At the time she married Henri II he was already in love with another—Diane de Poitier—and fully invested in that relationship. This was very hard for Catherine who adored her husband (in fact whenever he set off on a military campaign, she went into mourning and insisted on her ladies doing so as well). Catherine’s jealousy of Diane was, I think, exacerbated by the fact that for a long time she couldn’t get pregnant. France needed royal heirs and she needed a baby or two to cement her status. Catherine wanted Henri’s sexual attentions. Diane got them. Catherine’s obsession with the details of her husband’s extra-marital trysts resulted in the juicy tidbit I am about to share. At the Palace of Saint-Germain Catherine’s bedroom was immediately above that of Diane de Poitier. Catherine summoned an Italian carpenter and had two holes made in the floor of her room which she used to watch Diane and Henri in bed, sobbing later to friends that “her husband had ‘never used her so well.’”
Sophie advertised for the holidays, but this book would be nice for Valentine’s Day too….
Q: In Margot, you created a survivor. Someone who learns quickly to value self-respect over loyalty to anyone or no matter what anyone thinks of her, especially her mother. Do you feel strongly about women overcoming barriers to self?
A: I guess I feel strongly that people should take control of their interior lives, their moral lives. We can lament that women like Margot had very limited options and almost no control over some of the largest aspects of their lives (for example the selection of a spouse), but in every era people have only the fiction of control over so much of life. It just takes someone swerving across a double-yellow line while texting and driving, or diagnosis with a disease for everything we’ve planned to change in an instant. But even when we cannot control what happens to us or around us, it lies in our power to control how we respond. And that is when people either come into their own (braving the halls of the Louvre during a massacre as Margot did) or they don’t. In my opinion there is nothing more important in this life than the quiet, unheralded, daily victories of personal conscience. And I think women excel and them, often out of necessity.
Q: Furthermore, you create strong layers of thought between family members in your books, specifically duels between sisters or mothers/daughters. In Medicis Daughter, it is between mother and daughter, mostly. How do you help your female characters find their way through these bonds, whether if the bond has chains or kinks? Do you have a life lesson here and how did you come up with your line of thinking?
A: I am personally very fortunate in that I am extremely close both to my Mother and to my own sister (my sister and I were actually college roommates). So while my sibling relationship certainly informed the sister-to-sister bond I depicted in The Sister Queens it really provided no template for Médicis Daughter. I think all novelists are students of human nature. Even if I personally do not have an acrimonious power-struggle type relationship with my Mother, I have certainly witnessed those types of relationships and even had them in other contexts. One of the things that appealed to me about Margot’s story is she had to tackle the sort of bumpy family relationships that so many people face, so—even if the reader might make different choices than Margot does—a lot of people are going to be given a safe space to think about and puzzle through their own relationships in reading about Margot’s.
Q: The Valois and Medici families were certainly dysfunctional. Even though French Salic law determined no females could rule, it seems much of the “ruling” was done by the women, and in your novel, one particular female stood out in this regard! What are your thoughts or feelings?
A: I actually have a healthy dose of respect for Catherine de Médicis. She was not the only person at the 16th century French Court who coveted power. Scrambling for influence was the ultimate game. When her husband died prematurely, she was left with a boy king—actually two in a row—and three noble families itching to control the crown and through it to advance their fortunes. Catherine either had to manage her young sons or see her family managed by outsiders.
The Queen Mother chose the former, and she was adroit at it. She had significant political abilities. As I say in my author’s note, Catherine was no cartoon villainess, and she unquestionably preserved her sons. I think my main problem with Catherine is that, having safeguarded Francis II and Charles IX in turn, she never really let power transition to her sons even when they were of an age to take it. She got too used to ruling, and she was convinced that she could do it (and just about everything else) better than anybody else. She was even guilty of hoarding power when her favorite son, the Duc d’Anjou, inherited the crown.
Ultimately then, because Catherine insisted on remaining the “power behind the throne” she must accept responsibility posthumously for much of what transpired in the late Valois era—the good and the bad. Unfortunately, that includes at least partial blame for some pretty disastrous events, including a legendary massacre.
Henry and Margot/Wikipedia
Q: Why did you ultimately decide on Marguerite de Valois to feature a novel? What inspires you about her or what inspired you to write her? Why was she important to history?
A: Margot represents the intersection of two things I find irresistible: a woman unfairly treated by history and a character who grows significantly where she was planted, despite serious obstacles.
As I say in my author’s note, knowing that the luridly-embroidered portrayals of Margot that most people have read were rooted in a single wicked piece of propaganda rather than in fact, really fired me up to provide a more balanced, historically accurate look at the youngest Valois Princess. Was she perfect? No. But nor was she a shallow, sex-obsessed, pleasure seeker. Looking at the historical record, it is clear that Marguerite was highly intelligent, politically astute, and (in her later years) a serious force in the literary life of France. Arguably her political acumen exceeded that of her brothers, making her more similar to her strong-willed, politically expert mother, Catherine de Médicis. And, unlike her Mother, Margot was a woman of deep and genuine religious conviction.
So I had this woman with extraordinary potential plunked down by birth and fate in a life of very limited possibility. And I was impressed by her personal growth. By how she ultimately declined to take the easy path of doing what her Mother or brothers demanded—which would certainly have benefitted her by making her daily life more palatable and pleasant—in favor of independence and of asserting her own moral authority. In the process she saved the life of her husband Henri of Navarre, who would become Henri IV of France, also called Henri the Great. As King Henri granted religious tolerance to the Huguenots, brought discipline and regularity to the finances of his kingdom, increased the prosperity of his subjects, and became one of France’s most beloved kings. That is Marguerite de Valois’ historical legacy, even if it is seldom credited to her.
Q: Within the supporting cast of characters in the book, whether real or imagined, who did you like creating the most? Who did you like creating the least? And why?
A: I really loved writing Henri de Bourbon, Prince and then King of Navarre. I just love his quirky ways and his ability to get under the young Margot’s skin without meaning to. I never had to struggle with his actions or dialogue, because he was one of those characters who just took over when I was writing him.
I think I liked creating Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias, least. I know that he was likely either brain damaged by a serious illness and the trepanning done to treat that illness, or mentally ill (those Hapsburgs inbred a lot), and I tried to keep that in mind and be empathic. But he was a nasty piece of work and very creepy to boot. Not fun to be around in the process of creation and I’d imagine even less so in life.
Q: You switched careers from the field of law to writing books. I know you must get asked this a lot, but what motivated you to do so and are you happy you did? Do you feel that all the writing and research that attorneys perform assisted in your novel writing? Did you always have some sort of writing bug? (I won’t ask if you have always loved history, this I know!)
A: I am not sure I always had a writing bug—but I always had a penchant for story-telling. As a child I had about a 40 minute walk to school, and I used to entertain my sister and some of the other kids from my neighborhood by making up stores on the journey (occasionally making us late in the process). And I’ve always “written” books in my head.
I’ve never been sorry I left the law. I enjoyed law school (how many people do you ever hear say that?) and I would do it again (and not just because my husband handed me my orientation packet). But the actual practice of law taught me an important lesson—you can be good at something and not enjoy it, and enjoying what you do is important. I do feel that the research and writing that a legal practice entails hones both those skills. So the time I spent as an attorney definitely contributed to my writer’s tool box.
Q: You’ve traveled a few places in the last year or two. What were some of your favorite spots? What location is the most favorite you’ve traveled to of all time? Where do want to go you haven’t yet?
A: I love to travel and I always have. I try not to go more than two years without crossing the Atlantic. This past spring I was in Scotland and Northern England. Interestingly, I preferred the latter, particularly the Lake District and York. I adore York. If I suddenly became a rich and famous bestselling author, I would get myself an apartment in the historic center-city of York (maybe along or just off Low Petergate) and fly off for long periods of writing.
As for a favorite place of all time—different places suit different moods and needs. But I studied in Lausanne, Switzerland and have a real soft spot for that city and for Switzerland in general. You can be in the south enjoying Italian food and the lakes and then be in the French speaking alps skiing within a few hours (honestly, if I remember correctly you can drive the longest distance en Suisse within 6 hours) and I am absolutely a cheese-aholic. I also love the Loire Valley with all the Château. Then there is Venice . . . See this is what I mean, once I get started traveling I do not want to stop.
On my “where to next” wish-list: The Amalfi Coast, Scandinavia and Portugal.
Q: If you could take three women from history on a trip with you, who would you take and where would you go? What would you do?
A: You know at this stage—being between books—I might rather take a time machine back by myself to a couple of places and see who I meet. I am on the lookout for some new historical friends to hang out with 😉 I believe in fate, in footnotes and in serendipity when it comes to meeting “the right” historical figures. So I am certain if I could go back (with the appropriate garb of course, so I wouldn’t be arrested as a witch in my first 10 minutes out of the time machine), I would doubtless get the ideas for 10 new novels.
Q: Who are some women of history that inspire you and why?
A: There are so many, and not just the famous ones like Elizabeth I (who absolutely does inspire me). Sometimes I find entire groups of women inspiring. For example, I am both fascinated and motivated by the trobairitz (female troubadours of the High Middle Ages who were the first female composers of Western secular music). Sometimes individual women pioneers have led me by example, like Belva Ann Lockwood the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. I was introduced to Belva by a Professor of women’s history who handed me a postcard with her picture on it after class one day and urged me to get to know her. I think the women of the past can help women of today to place their lives in context, and to envision a future where gender roles are less constraining for everyone, and not just for women.
Belva Ann Lockwood/Wikipedia
Q: You’re a great lover of flowers and scenic views. If I asked you to pull together a flower arrangement for my table based on my personality, what would it contain?
A: Something really dramatic. Nothing pedestrian—no carnations or daises. Maybe tropical flowers (like birds of paradise) or maybe a selection of the sort of foliage and blossoms that make people pause because they don’t know their names.
I do like bright colors!
Further, if you could create one for Margot, what would it contain?
A: I suppose the most obvious choice would be irises or lilies because either would represent the fleur-de-lis of the French royals as well as those found in the coat of arms of Margot’s love, the Duc de Guise. But I’ve always felt that Catherine dressed Margot in the symbols of France for political purposes, so I think I will pass on those flowers. Instead I would arrange a large bowl of old style garden roses, the type that would have grown in the gardens Margot walked, nothing hybrid. If I could find some in that gorgeous color that dominates the cover of my book—a sort of a blend of burgundy and mauve that is called marsala and was one of the 2015 pantone colors of the year—that would be perfect. And then I’d break up the roses with some stalks of burnt orchid in represent her husband, Henri of Navarre, since both he and that orchid are natives of the Pyrenees.
Q: You’ve done an extensive amount of research into the Valois family and those that surrounded them, as well as the time period. However, I’m sure in focusing your story, you left much untouched. Do you think you’ll revisit the Valois or family tree in future books? Personally, I’d love for you to continue Margot’s story and that of her husband, who become Henry IV…..obviously there is much left to tell!
A: I’d love to have occasion to spend more time with Margot. Perhaps do a book set not too far after Médicis Daughter while she is still young. Margot played a dramatic role in helping her younger brother and her husband both to escape from Paris. And although long-term she and Henri of Navarre were not a happily-ever-after tale, they spent a brief period in the Navarre together that might let me give Margot a bit of joy (after this book she deserves it).
Q: What other types of novels and on who would you like to think about writing one day?
A: I’ve actually finished a new novel. My agent is busy giving it a second read. But, because I adore him (he is a wonderful support and career partner), I cannot talk about the project. Sworn to secrecy and all that . . .
Q: Why would your book appeal to fans of Reign? Do you suppose it would also appeal to fans of shows such as The Borgias or The Tudors? Although Reign fits better, your book is obviously adult themed…..
A: Médicis Daughter is perfect next chapter for Reign fans. It goes where Reign might if it stayed focused on the Valois in the post-Francis period (I KNOW, I know, SPOLER ALERT fans are still recovering from the loss of Francis/Toby Regbo). Many Reign viewers love Queen Catherine (or love to hate her) and my novel offers plenty of Catherine (just as determined and willing to play dirty as she is in the TV series), while expanding to include the younger generation of Valois Princes and Princesses. Not all of this younger set will be new faces to Reignites. Claude makes an appearance in my novel. And Charles, who comes to the forefront and the throne of France in Season 3 of the Reign, is the reigning King in Médicis Daughter.
I think what really attracts legions of viewers to Reign—or to the Tudors or Borgias for that matter—is drama: vicious gossip, endless intrigue, court politics, and yes, sex. With all humility—I’ve got that 😉 Or rather Médicis Daughter has. And on top of doomed-love, Catherine de Médicis conniving her heart out, and one of the bloodiest massacres in French history, I’ve got a level of historical accuracy that TV does not aspire to. And I promise there is nothing whatsoever dull about this history.
Q: Guilty TV pleasures?
A: As you might have guessed from the previous answer—Reign. Yep, I’ve seen every episode. When Reign started I was thrilled that someone had finally made a show about the Valois who are, by any measure, just plain sexier than the Tudors. And yes, I realize, having spent a decade in company with the Valois that I am prejudice.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Masterpiece Theater. I read and watched Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I adore historical documentaries (my husband and I watched Ken Burn’s The Roosevelts on date nights). But once in a while you just need to forget about the fact that there are 16th century gentlemen wearing leather pants (it took me some time to get past the Reign costuming, not going to lie) and women without proper undergarments, and let yourself enjoy a show that frequently includes more dramatic events in a single episode than are contained in some entire 600 page novels. I hope Reign and shows like it continue to be popular because they remind viewers that history is fascinating (and, hopefully inspire viewers to read about the past), and they remind novelists that history without drama is boring (just as modern times would be—I mean nobody writes a novel about unloading the dishwasher).
Q: Where can fans and readers connect with you?
A: I may be a history geek, but I a thoroughly modern when it comes to the internet and social media. A good place to start is certainly my website. It has tons of information about my work as well as resources for readers and writers. It also provides a contact form. I am also present on Facebook with an author page and special page for Médicis Daughter. I am @Lit_gal on Twitter, and I even tumble (though not very adeptly) at Tumblr.
Erin: Might I add that you are also on Pinterest with an enormous amount of info and fun items regarding your characters!
I could keep asking you questions, Sophie, but your eyes are probably all red and your fingers tired of typing! Thanks so much for coming around for a bit and for the lovely interview. You are always so interesting to talk to and I’m so pleased to call you my friend! I’m very happy for your novel’s success and I wish even more for it. It’s a lovely read! Now, let’s just eat more of this cheesecake!
Sophie: It’s been a pleasure—and not just because you plied me with cake either! 🙂
Medicis Daughter, Synopsis
- Hardcover:384 pages
- Publisher:Thomas Dunne Books (December 1, 2015)
Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.
Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.
Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.
Find more links here or stop by your local bookstore.
Praise for Medicis Daughter
“Amid the glamorous intrigues of the 16th-century French court, Marguerite de Valois, the youngest Medici daughter, deftly balances secret escapades and public duties… Perinot matches the rhythm of Margot’s life to the political storms: as the battles escalate, so do the perils of love and lust. A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery.”―Kirkus Reviews
“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” ―Kate Quinn, national bestselling author of The Lion and the Rose
“The riveting story of a 16thcentury French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!” ―Michelle Moran, bestselling author of The Rebel Queen
“Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot’s epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright.” ―Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl
“A page-turner, fast-paced, emotional, passionate, well-written and carefully researched…Romance and history loving teens will find this a satisfying read.” ―School Library Journal on The Sister Queens
“Anyone with a sister will feel something when they read this novel.” ―The Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner on The Sister Queens
“Marguerite and Eleanor are fully-fleshed out characters; they are products of their time and place, which Perinot establishes in fine form…a fine debut.” ―Historical Novel Society on The Sister Queens
“Sophie Perinot’s debut tour de force, The Sister Queens, gives the reader a detailed and racy look into the very public and most intimate lives of English and French royalty. . . .This sweeping, compelling novel is a Medieval, double-decker lifestyles of the rich, famous and fascinating.” ―Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Boleyn
“What Philippa Gregory did for Anne and Mary Boleyn, Perinot has done for Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence. This is, without a doubt, one of the best novels I’ve read all year!” ―Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of The Second Empress, on The Sister Queens
“If you enjoy a tale of passion, intrigue and sisterly devotion that will keep you turning the pages, then The Sister Queens is a must for your reading list.” ―Anne O’Brien, author of Queen Defiant
“Every page . . . was like a morsel to savor. . . .The Sister Queens is one of the most beautifully written books I have read in a very long time. Absolutely superb!” ―Diane Haeger, author of The Queen’s Rival
“With lyrical prose, The Sister Queens tells a riveting story of sisterly rivalry and love, of war and betrayal. Marguerite and Eleanor remain united by bonds of love that can not tarnish and that can not break. A beautiful novel.” ―Christy English author of To Be Queen: A Novel Of Eleanor Of Aquitaine
“The Sister Queens is a rich and stately medieval tapestry of a novel, with two royal couples weaving intertwined patterns of history and private life. Marguerite and Eleanor are the queens of France and England, yes, but Sophie Perinot reveals the living women behind the glittering pageantry–two young Provençal sisters, fiercely competitive and just as fiercely devoted. Through coronations and childbirth, wars and sieges, triumphs and betrayals, Marguerite’s and Eleanor’s lives are stitched against the colorful and meticulously-researched background of thirteenth-century Europe–golden queens and steadfast sisters.” ―Elizabeth Loupas, author of The Second Duchess
“Sibling rivalry with the highest possible stakes! Sophie Perinot awards two luminaries of medieval royalty their due in a densely woven tapestry of colorful detail.” ―Leslie Carroll, author of Notorious Royal Marriages and Royal Pains, on The Sister Queens
Sophie Perinot, Biograpy
I’ve always been passionate about history. I was the first member of my college graduating class to declare a history major (first quarter of freshman year – not that I was over-eager or anything). Next I attended law school. Whatever else can be said about lawyers (and please, spare me the bad jokes), we get a lot of practice writing. It’s a much larger part of the job than most people realize. Eventually, however, my muse was stronger than my inner-litigator and I left the legal side of things to my husband (aka my law-school-sweetheart) and “retired” to the happier job of raising my children and pursuing artistic interests, including writing.
It’s often said writers are readers first. I am no exception. I have always been an avid reader, especially of the classics. Deciding what to write was easy. As a life-long student of history, from a family of history-nerds, historical fiction was destined to be my niche. My attraction to French history was equally natural — I studied French abroad, and I am a hopeless devotee of one of the grandfathers of the genre, Alexandre Dumas, père.
I live in Great Falls, Virginia surrounded by trees and books. My books are time machines. Currently I travel daily to the 17th century Rome of the Barberini. But it is anybody’s guess where I will be off to next and who I will meet there. I can’t wait!
Find Sophie online at her website.