Today, while on a short break from the mega-tour for my own latest novel Ribbons of Scarlet, it is my very great pleasure to host my good friend the insanely talented, multi-published, Anne Easter Smith in a Q&A to talk about her upcoming novel: This Son of York (releasing November 10th but you can pre-order now HERE).

Anne Easter Smith

Anne Easter Smith

This Son of York concludes Anne’s best-selling Wars of the Roses series. She’s made the much maligned Richard III, who was brought into new focus following the discovery of his bones under a car park in Leicester in 2013, her protagonist and is determined to give us a very different view of Richard than Shakespeare and stereotypes have . . .

Anne, people have very strong opinions about Richard III despite the short time he was on the English throne. Writing about Richard is, in many ways, like walking out into a battlefield mid-conflict, so let me start right off by asking why a novel centering on Richard? What compelled you into this contentious territory?

I love a good battle! Especially one with horses, armored knights, and longbows. But as far as Richard is concerned, he became a cause for me once I took in the Josephine Tey theory that those adorable princes in the Tower weren’t murdered by their hunchbacked uncle Richard but may have lived into the next reign. Horrible Henry Tudor (no, not that one with all the wives but his father) had far more to lose than Richard if indeed those little boys were still alive, because he had no right to the throne. But I digress.

Tey’s book Daughter of Time got me researching everything I could about Richard and the Wars of the Roses, and after five decades I feel quite knowledgeable enough to have written my version of Richard’s story. You may be surprised to know that faux news began a lot earlier than today! Shakespeare’s sources for his play were Tudor historians who spun the historical facts about Richard so well that we still believe them today (even though much new evidence has come out in the meantime, if not exonerating Richard of those many crimes laid at his door, at least raising plausible doubt.) Being a Brit, fair play is in my DNA, and Richard has been unjustly depicted through the centuries.

What is the pernicious misconception about Richard that you’d most like to correct in the minds of readers?

That he murdered his nephews in the Tower in order to “steal” the crown. No bodies have ever been found, no evidence they were even murdered, and no witnesses or confessions to the deaths have surfaced in all this time. From everything I have studied about Richard, he was never interested in wearing the crown. It was pushed on him by Parliament when the princes were revealed to have been illegitimate (their dad, Edward IV and Richard’s brother, had been secretly “contracted” to a woman prior to marrying their mum.)

Is there such a thing as a fun-fact when it comes to Richard III—and if so can you share one?

Hmmm, I don’t have him picking his teeth with his knife (that was a no-no even for the most ill-bred), but “fun” and Richard is a bit of an oxymoron. He was a naughty boy before he married Anne Neville (at 19), because we know he had two and possibly three bastards. He was very discreet about their mother(s), but two of them were brought up in his household and mentioned in letters and household accounts.

I know This Son of York has taken considerable time, research and thought on your part, can you offer us a little window into your process of creating the book?

RIchard III's Remains

Richard III’s Remains

After Royal Mistress was published in 2013—the fifth book in my series about the Yorks during the Wars of the Roses—I thought I was done with Richard and his family, and I started to write a wonderful story about a Portuguese prince and his mistress in 14th century. (It took me several years of research and three trips to Portugal to feel comfortable writing about this prince.) And then they found Richard’s grave under a car park in Leicester in 2012 and I was so excited and intrigued by the new information the bone analysis gave us of him that I dropped poor Pedro into the Tagus River and took up Richard’s cause again. After all, I had every date and event and character I needed to write about still stuck in my brain, but with new info on Richard—like severe scoliosis and that he drank heavily in the last two years of his life—I was moved to return to Richard and write his story for a new century.

My process is mostly being as organized as possible. I have charts of timelines where I make sure no real person is in the wrong place at the wrong time, unless it’s unclear and then I can fictionalize meetings or scenes. But I don’t mess with history.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by the blog and begin to set the record straight on Richard, Anne!

Thank you so much for hosting me here, Sophie. I am so passionate about readers knowing more about Richard than Shakespeare’s “bunch-backed toad” and I think I am giving them a more balanced view of this much-maligned king. He only lived to be thirty-two, and only reigned for two years, but his whole life was devoted to being loyal to his family, his king, his wife, and if I get just one person to change their opinion of him by doing the research I did, I will be satisfied! I promise you, his is quite the dramatic story!

Finally for those who want to purchase This Son of York—and after reading Anne’s answers I am betting that is everyone—remember if is available for pre-order on Amazon! Below I’ve included a description of the novel, and some of the praise it is already garnering!

Praise for This Son of York . . .

 

Anne Easter Smith has written five well-regarded novels set in the War of the Roses, but the one she has been preparing to write, both in her imagination and after fifty years of research, is this novel about Richard III. Her mission was to bring Richard Plantagenet the man to life and let him speak directly to us in this meticulously rendered novel.

—Margaret George, International best-selling author of Elizabeth I and The Confessions of Young Nero

Deeply researched, the book bursts with action but even more importantly we are given passages of real feeling between human beings we think we may know but perhaps never completely understood until this book. It is a moving, insightful, and engrossing depiction of the controversial king.”

—Nancy Bilyeau, best-selling author of The Blue

A wonderfully realized life of tragic, doomed Richard. The author uses the latest discoveries and old texts to fully explore the complicated ‘crouchback’, and give us a fine portrait of the lover and the warrior, a noble, flawed and heroic king and man.”

—C. C. Humphreys, author of Vlad: The Last Confession

THIS SON OF YORK

Concluding her best-selling Wars of the Roses series, Anne Easter Smith has made Richard III her protagonist in her latest book This Son of York. The much maligned Richard is brought into new focus following the discovery of his bones under a car park in Leicester. This_Son_of_York_FrontCover20190906small

As the fourth son of the duke of York, Richard of Gloucester could not have hoped for much more than the life of a wealthy, but insignificant nobleman. Instead fate took him down a drama-filled, unexpected path to the throne. As York challenged Lancaster for the crown, early tragedies and betrayals, including by his faithless brother George, led the young Richard to count on none but himself. Imbued with the traits of loyalty and duty to family and country, he proved them time and again especially when he reluctantly came to wear the crown. Buoyed by the love of two women, he stayed true to one while cherishing the other, both helping him bear the burden of his scoliosis.

A warrior of renown, a loyal brother, loving husband and father, a king mindful of injustice yet beset by betrayal, and a man convinced his God has forsaken him by burdening him with crippling scoliosis, This Son of York has a compelling tale to tell. With her meticulous attention to detail—and the truth—Easter Smith’s compelling storytelling paints a very different picture of the king Shakespeare reviled as “…thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog.”

Dear Readers,

It’s finally time to celebrate the release of our novel, Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women, releasing October 1. I and my Scarlet Sisters are thrilled by the prospect of sharing the book with so many of you in person. Between September 30 and November 21, all six of us will be making appearances across the country, sometimes toute ensemble, and sometimes in smaller groups or solo. We would certainly be delighted to see you along the way! All the details of the tour are below, and meanwhile, if you haven’t pre-order your copy of Ribbons of Scarlet–do it now! 

Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

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TOUR - complete schedule

THE RIBBONS OF SCARLET TOUR SCHEDULE:

***Note: All events are open to the public unless listed otherwise. Various authors will appear at events; please check each event’s description to see who will appear near you. Events may be subject to change. Events listed as author or book events will include book signings. Please support our booksellers by purchasing books from them. We look forward to seeing you on the road!***

SEPTEMBER 30

OCTOBER 1

  • TBD, RIVERSTONE BOOKS, PITTSBURGH, PA, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY AND ELIZA KNIGHT
  • 12PM, LIVE AT YOUR LIBRARY SERIES, GASTON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH PARK ROADS BOOKS, GASTON, NC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 3PM, BOOK REVIEW CLUB, GASTON, NC (PRIVATE EVENT)
  • 6PM, FICTION ADDICTION BOOKSTORE, GREENVILLE, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 2

  • 1:45 PM AUTHOR TALK, COLLEGE OF WOOSTER, WOOSTER, OH, WITH SOPHIE PERINOT
  • 11:30AM, HOLCOMB READING CLUB, SPARTANBURG, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE (PRIVATE EVENT)
  • 12PM, MONDAY BOOK REVIEW CLUB, YOUNGSTOWN, OH, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY AND ELIZA KNIGHT (PRIVATE EVENT)
  • TBD, KEYNOTE ADDRESS, CONVERSE COLLEGE, SPARTANBURG, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, BRECKSVILLE, OH, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND SOPHIE PERINOT

OCTOBER 3

  • 11:30AM, LEXINGTON FRIENDS BOOK TALK, COLUMBIA, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 6PM, AUTHOR TALK, CHARLESTON LIBRARY SOCIETY, CHARLESTON, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, ST. LOUIS COUNTY LIBRARY, ST. LOUIS, MO, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND SOPHIE PERINOT
  • 7PM, HEATHER WEBB IN CONVERSATION WITH ALLISON PATAKI, BOOK CULTURE ON COLUMBUS (AT 82ND), NEW YORK CITY

OCTOBER 4

  • 11AM, MOVEABLE FEATURE LUNCHEON HOSTED BY LITCHFIELD BOOKS, PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 2PM, BOOKSIGNING, LITCHFIELD BOOKS, PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 6:30PM MEET & GREET; 7PM MEET THE AUTHORS AT MACINTOSH BOOKS, SANIBEL, FL, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, HEATHER WEBB, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND SOPHIE PERINOT

OCTOBER 5

  • 2PM, IN CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS OF RIBBONS OF SCARLET, SHANNON STAUB LIBRARY, NORTH PORT, FL, WITH ALL 6 AUTHORS
  • 6PM, BOOKS & WINE, COPPERFISH BOOKS, PUNTA GORDA, FL, WITH ALL 6 AUTHORS

OCTOBER 6

  • 4PM, CHAMPAGNE & BOOKS, BOOKMARK, NEPTUNE BEACH, FL, WITH ALL 6 AUTHORS

OCTOBER 7

  • 11:30AM, BOOKS & BITES, FERNANDINA BEACH LIBRARY WITH THE AMELIA ISLAND BOOK FESTIVAL AND THE BOOK LOFT, FERNANDINA BEACH, FL, WITH ALL 6 AUTHORS
  • 7PM, AUTHOR EVENT, THE LITERARY GUILD OF ST. SIMONS ISLAND, ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA, WITH ALL 6 AUTHORS

OCTOBER 8

  • 1PM, AUTHOR TALK, MILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH BOOKMISER BOOK STORE, MILTON, GA, WITH KATE QINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, FOXTALE BOOK SHOPPE, WOODSTOCK, GA, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, TWO SISTERS BOOKERY, WILMINGTON, NC, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, SOPHIE PERINOT, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND HEATHER WEBB

OCTOBER 9

  • 11AM AUTHOR EVENT, PEACHTREE CITY LIBRARY WITH BOOKMISER BOOKS, PEACHTREE CITY, GA, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE
  • 5PM, AUTHOR TALK, THE COUNTRY BOOKSHOP, SOUTHERN PINES, NC, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, SOPHIE PERINOT, AND ELIZA KNIGHT
  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, MARGARET MITCHELL HOUSE, ATLANTA, GA, WITH KATE QUINN AND LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 10-11

OCTOBER 12

  • 10AM – 2:30PM, BOOKS & BINGO, HOSTED BY THE WOMENS’ NATIONAL BOOK ASSOCIATION AND ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK, CORONA PUBLIC LIBRARY, CORONA, CA, FEATURING KATE QUINN, KEYNOTE SPEAKER
  • 11AM, AUTHOR TALK, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD DAR, CROWNSVILLE, MD, WITH LAURA KAMOIE (PRIVATE EVENT)
  • TBD, AUTHOR TALK, BARNES & NOBLE, ANNAPOLIS, MD, WITH LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 13

  • 1-5PM, BOOKS & BINGO, HOSTED BY SAN DIEGO CENTRAL LIBRARY AND ADVENTURES BY THE BOOK, FEATURING KATE QUINN, KEYNOTE SPEAKER

OCTOBER 14

  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, ADAMS COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL WITH A LIKELY STORY, GETTYSBURG, PA WITH LAURA KAMOIE AND ELIZA KNIGHT

OCTOBER 15

  • 4:30PM, SUSAN B. CLEMENTSON AUTHOR SERIES FOR THE BENEFIT OF APALACHICOLA MARGARET KEY LIBRARY, BOOKSELLER: DOWNTOWN BOOKS, APALACHICOLA, FL, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY
  • 7PM, FICTION READING EVENT, STRING THEORY YARN SHOP WITH THE CUPBOARD MAKER BOOKS, LEYMOYNE, PA, WITH LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 16

  • 10AM – 4PM, FSU PANAMA CITY FRESHMAN READ EVENT, PANAMA CITY, FL, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY
    • 10-11AM STUDENT PRESENTATION (PRIVATE EVENT)
    • 11:30-1PM LUNCHEON WITH A TALK ON WRITING
    • 2-3PM TEA WITH AN AUTHOR BOOKSIGNING WITH BOOKS UNLIMITED
    • 3-4PM AUTHOR TALK
  • 7PM, EVENING LECTURE, DICKINSON COLLEGE, STERN GREAT ROOM, CARLISLE, PA, WITH LAURA KAMOIE
  • 7PM WRITERS AT THE PAVILION, THE RITZ CHARLES, [DAY 1, ADDITIONAL EVENT ON OCTOBER 17] CARMEL CLAY PUBLIC LIBRARY FESTIVAL, CARMEL, IN. WITH SOPHIE PERINOT AND HEATHER WEBB.

OCTOBER 17

  • 9:30AM (DOORS OPEN) & 11:15AM LUNCHEON PROGRAM, THE RITZ CHARLES, CARMEL, IN. WITH SOPHIE PERINOT AND HEATHER WEBB.
  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, WELLINGTON SQUARE BOOKSHOP CO-SPONSORED BY CHESTER COUNTY LIBRARY, HILTON GARDEN INN, EXTON, PA, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY AND LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 18

  • 6:30PM, AN EVENING WITH A WRITER, SPONSORED BY ESSEX COUNTY FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY, AT THE ESSEX INN, TAPPAHANNOCK, VA, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, HEATHER WEBB, AND SOPHIE PERINOT

OCTOBER 19

  • TIME TBD, LADIES WHO LUNCH, SECCO RESTAURANT WITH FOUNTAIN BOOKSTORE, RICHMOND, VA, WITH LAURA KAMOIE AND SOPHIE PERINOT

OCTOBER 20

OCTOBER 21

  • 7:30PM, RIBBONS OF SCARLET AUTHORS IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHELLE CAMERON, WORDS BOOKSTORE, MAPLEWOOD, NJ, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, ELIZA KNIGHT, HEATHER WEBB, AND SOPHIE PERINOT

OCTOBER 22

  • 11:30AM, AUTHOR LUNCHEON, CORONADO LIBRARY, CORONADO, CA, WITH KATE QUINN
  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, AVON LIBRARY, AVON, CT, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, SOPHIE PERINOT, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND HEATHER WEBB
  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, WARWICK’S BOOKSTORE, SAN DIEGO, CA, WITH KATE QUINN

OCTOBER 23

  • CHAMPAGNE AUTHOR TALK, BANK SQUARE BOOKS, MYSTIC, CT, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, SOPHIE PERINOT, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND HEATHER WEBB

OCTOBER 26

  • 2PM, JOINT AUTHOR PANEL AT RANCH SANTA FE LIBRARY, SAN DIEGO, CA, WITH KATE QUINN
  • 2-4PM, BOOKSIGNING, BROWSEABOUT BOOKS, REHOBOTH BEACH, DE, WITH LAURA KAMOIE

OCTOBER 28

  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, CARROLL COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH A LIKELY STORY, MT. AIRY, MD, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, STEPHANIE DRAY, AND ELIZA KNIGHT

OCTOBER 29

  • 7:00PM, MOUNT LEBANON FALL SPEAKER SERIES, MT. LEBANON PUBLIC LIBRARY, PITTSBURGH, PA, WITH SOPHIE PERINOT

NOVEMBER 2

  • 1PM, BOOK TALK ON RIBBONS OF SCARLET, BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL, LITERARY SALON STAGE, BALTIMORE, MD, WITH 5 OF THE 6 AUTHORS (ALL BUT KATE)
  • 3PM, WRITING COLLABORATIVELY PANEL, BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL, MARYLAND ROMANCE WRITERS STAGE, BALTIMORE, MD, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, HEATHER WEBB, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND SOPHIE PERINOT

NOVEMBER 4

  • TIME TBD, FUNDRAISER EVENT, A LIKELY STORY, SYKESVILLE, MD, WITH STEPHANIE DRAY, LAURA KAMOIE, AND ELIZA KNIGHT

NOVEMBER 6

NOVEMBER 7

NOVEMBER 10

  • 11:30AM, HIGH TEA EVENT, OTTAWA, CANADA, WITH KATE QUINN

NOVEMBER 11

  • TIME TBD, AUTHOR TALK, JEWISH PUBLIC LIBRARY, MONTREAL, CANADA, WITH KATE QUINN

NOVEMBER 17

  • 2PM, AUTHOR TALK, MCINTYRE’S BOOKS, PITTSBORO, NC, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, HEATHER WEBB, AND ELIZA KNIGHT

NOVEMBER 18

  • 6:30PM, AUTHOR TALK, PAGE 158 BOOKS, WAKE FOREST, NC, WITH ELIZA KNIGHT, HEATHER WEBB, AND LAURA KAMOIE

NOVEMBER 19

  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, BOOKMARKS WINE EVENT, WINSTON SALEM, NC, WITH HEATHER WEBB, LAURA KAMOIE, AND ELIZA KNIGHT

NOVEMBER 20

  • 7PM, AUTHOR TALK, MAIN STREET BOOKS, DAVIDSON, NC, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, ELIZA KNIGHT, AND HEATHER WEBB

NOVEMBER 21

  • 5PM, LINGER LONGER LIVING SERIES AT REYNOLDS LAKE OCONEE, GREENSBORO, GA, WITH LAURA KAMOIE, HEATHER WEBB, AND ELIZA KNIGHT (PRIVATE EVENT)

DECEMBER 7

  • 12PM, MULTI-AUTHOR SIGNING, NORA ROBERTS’S TURN THE PAGE BOOKSTORE, BOONSBORO, MD, WITH LAURA KAMOIE AND ELIZA KNIGHT

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Because sometimes it’s more fun to make a new video trailer than to edit 😉 Volia! The 2019 Spring trailer for MÉDICIS DAUGHTER! Enjoy, share, and celebrate the pleasures and perils of spring, Valois style!  What do you think?

Haven’t read MÉDICIS DAUGHTER yet, or have a friend who hasn’t? It is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble or wherever books are sold!

It’s time for another sneak-peek into the world of my next novel—RIBBONS OF SCARLET (coming October 1, 2019). WE HAVE OUR OFFICIAL COVER COPY, guaranteed to give you all the feels!

HERE IS A TEASER . . . .

cover copy announce

DO YOU HAVE THE SHIVERS YET? CLICK THE LINK AND READ the back-cover in full.  Then don’t forget to pre-order your copy!  Because #historicalfiction rules!

It’s that time of year again readers . . . time for my holiday gift-giving special! This year’s price for SIGNED COPIES of Médicis Daughter will be $11.00 per hardcover, shipping included.

Visit the official Médicis Daughter Facebook page for more details and to message me with an order.

Because it is the time of year when “something wicked this way comes” and nobody does wicked like the royal Valois . . . Voila! my Halloween season book-trailer for Médicis Daughter. Enjoy!

Intrigued? Pick up a copy of Médicis Daughter

on Amazon,  or wherever books are sold.

 

Dear faithful fans and readers,

I am over the moon to be able to AT LAST share this BIG NEWS with you! Fall 2019 will see some new Sophie Perinot (written in conjunction with my brilliant co-authors from History 360: The Historical Fiction Collective) on sale and shelves everywhere—a revolutionary telling of the French revolution from a purely female perspective! Here is the deal announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

RIBBONS OF SCARLET, a novel about the women of the French Revolution, featuring royals and peasants, harlots and wives, and fanatics and philosophers across the political spectrum who plotted, fought, marched, and crossed each other’s paths at Versailles and on the tumultuous streets, in an attempt to defend their beliefs, open new doors for women, and create a bold and equal new world–by bestselling authors Kate Quinn, Laura Kamoie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Heather Webb and Sophie Perinot, at auction to Tessa Woodward at William Morrow by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in a good deal.

We are looking at an Autumn 2019 release. BELIEVE ME you have NEVER read anything like this. So mark your calendars and, to make certain you don’t miss the cover release or any extra snippets and goodies, if you are on Facebook, please to LIKE/FOLLOW all of our author pages!

[Facebook Author page links: Moi, Stephanie, Laura, Eliza, Kate and Heather]

Announce Ribbons of Scarlet

So readers, what do you think? Feedback gratefully welcomed. And if you love it–or loved either of my novels, Médicis Daughter or The Sister Queens–please share this video with your friends who are avide readers of  historical fiction.

Invite Catherine de Médicis Home for the Holidays . . .or Give the Gift of Valois France This Season! Check out the new HOLIDAY TRAILER below and then . . .

Have yourself a VERY VALOIS Christmas by asking Santa for Médicis Daughter, or give the book to someone on your list DURING THIS VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE! For a limited time only I am offering SIGNED copies of my 16th century page-turner for only $10 each including shipping.

Here are the details:

  • This offer is limited to the USA.
  • Signed copies are $10 each which includes shipping (by media mail).
  • Orders MUST be placed by December 10th for pre-Christmas delivery!
  • Payment will be accepted only by Paypal.

TO ORDER, simply message me through the novel’s official Facebook page and include your name, email address, mailing address, number of books you want, and to whom (if anyone) you want your signed copies dedicated. I will invoice you via PayPal and ship your book (s) as soon as payment is received.

Happy Holidays! xo Sophie

November is traditionally the season of THANKFULNESS. So just for fun I’ve done a little list of things you might be thankful for if you were trying to navigate (and SURVIVE) the 16th century French Royal Court.

No. 1: That you are NOT Marguerite de Valois, the youngest Valois Princess, because if you were your mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, would be offering you a dismal string of prospective husbands including: a mad man, an old man who’d already been married to your own sister, a man who hated women, and a notorious heretic. What’s a girl to do?

No. 2: If you are Admiral Coligny you’d be VERY thankful that you bent down to tie your shoe at just the right moment to avoid having your head blown off by an assassin. Sure you lost part of a finger and you were pretty badly wounded, but you are alive! But so fast there Gaspard . . . you’re not out of danger yet!

No. 3: You’ve never slept with the Princesse de Porcien. If you had you might well end up crucified—at least artistically—because this lady (who eventually became the Duchesse de Guise) had the bizarre habit of having former lovers portrayed in her devotional book (her Book of Hours) crucified.

No 4: No one has poisoned you . . . YET.

No 5: You keep a careful hit-list of all your enemies (real and imagined). I mean you never know when a massacre is going to start and you want to be ready. You might not have thought to make a list of your grudges, not to mention the people you owe money too .if it hadn’t been for that secret census of Protestants the authorities complied from the tax roles in your district of Paris (and every other district as well). There is no denying neighborhood hit lists come in really handy once a massacre starts, and is anybody really going to care if some of the folks on yours are good Catholics rather than nasty heretics?

MÉDICIS DAUGHTER because the Valois are sexier than the Tudors (and more dangerous as well)!

five things to be thankful for