This book covers the early life of Catherine de Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France who became Queen Consort to Henry V of England. The author begins with the fictional person of Mette, a local girl who becomes wet nurse to this child days after loosing her own baby. This walks us through the French side of royals and life during the early 1400’s.
The nurse’s unique position and deeply bonded relationship with Catherine walks us though life in the french fields and cities, the savagry of war, the poltiics of marriage contracts and alliances, the betrayal of followers, the perils of the ambitious around her and the softening of two people borne to be but one thing and almost uncapable of being tender loving people.
It was a gripping read, the depravity of her early days if true, would shock the beliefs of those around even today. Completely ignored and unloved by their parents, the children [many whom died in childhood or early adulthood] were but pawns and bargaining tools. If I were to make a cricitism it would not be with the book but those who write blurbs and teasers who describe Catherine as the birth of the Tudor Dynasty, whilst she was the Grand-Mother of Henry VII, there was no ‘dynasty’ until Henry VII seized the crown after the Battle of Bosworth.
If, like me, you enjoy the Philippa Gregory style of historical fiction you would enjoy Joanna Hicksons skills equally.