It's Enigmatic King, Royal Mistresses, and Royal Cat Fights
“Russo Morin has created a wonderful heroine and painted a brilliant portrait of a neglected court.” -Publishers Weekly
From her earliest days, Genevieve Gravois has known one fact above all: Francois I, king of France, is her enemy. Raised by her embittered aunt after her parents' deaths, Genevieve hasbeen schooled in things no woman should know: how to decipher codes, how to use a dagger and a bow, and how to kill. For Henry VIII has a destiny in mind for the young girl--as his most powerful and dangerous spy. When the time is ripe, Genevieve enters the magnificent world of the French court. With grace to match her ambition, she becomes maid of honor to Anne de Pisseleau, King Francois's mistress. Yet neither the court--which teems with artistry and enlightenment as well as intrigue--nor Francois himself are at all what Genevieve expected. And with her mission, her life, and the fate of two kingdoms at stake, she will be forced to make deadly decisions about where her heart and her ultimate loyalties lie.
“5 Stars! A fast paced read with a clever and tenacious protagonist, I found it hard to put down! Any fan of historical mysteries will love this exciting read by Donna Russo Morin!” -Passages to the Past
“Well written and intriguing, Morin proves that she is a contender in the wildly popular historical fiction genre.” -Luxury Reading
“In the onslaught of historical fiction novels on the market these days, Ms. Morin’s latest stands out for its individuality and breathtaking detail.” -RomRevToday
|Anne de Pisseleau d'Heilly|
From the moment they met, Anne and François became inseparable; she ruled his court and his heart and helped François give birth to the French Renaissance. From the first time Anne entered court on the arm of the charismatic king, she became its queen, if not in truth, then in spirit. She was forever by his side, even at his wife’s coronation. The meek and dowdy Eleanor of Austria, unlike Princess Diana when it came to Camilla, had no choice but to accept her husband’s lifelong mistress.
|Diane de Poitier|
As with the ‘celebrities’ of our own time, rumors of these two fierce and passionate women abounded; but in many cases, the genesis of the gossip began with the other. Did Anne have affairs other than that with the king? Probably. Did Diane spread the conjecture of such extra-curricular activities with lip-smacking pleasure? Undoubtedly. Was Diane ever held an arm’s length apart in the court of François because of her inappropriate relationship with a much younger man? One would undoubtedly believe it to be so. Was the ostracism enhanced by the machinations of Anne and her cohorts? Most assuredly.
Their bickering and squabbling knew no bounds, stretching far across the trivial and into the realms of politics and religion, each in turn influencing the kings with whom they shared a bed, pitting father and son against each other in their efforts to be the ‘queen’ of the court. The historical fact of these turbulent women makes any historical fiction almost pale in comparison and yet their skirmishes lend layers of inspired sub-plots.
The lifelong—decades-long—dedication of these mistresses to their ‘kings’, their collusions and thirst for preeminence and power did not, ultimately and unfortunately, allow them to end their lives with the same glory and splendor with which each lived by the side of their lovers. Each died a lonely death far from the elaborate courts they graced. But, if the ties of the heart bind us long after these bodies are cast aside, then perhaps Anne and Diane are with their men still.