Read Dec. 20, 2017 full Kirkus Review for ANNE AND CHARLES
ANNE AND CHARLES
Passion and Politics in Late Medieval France: The Story of Anne of Brittany’s Marriage to Charles VIII
Book One of the Anne of Brittany Series
by Rozsa Gaston
Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2018
Publisher: Renaissance Editions
eBook, paperback, audiobook by Tantor Media coming spring 2018
A historically sharp and dramatically stirring love story. — Kirkus Reviews
A historical dramatization of the 15th-century marriage between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII of France.
Upon the death of Anne’s father, Duke Francis II, she becomes the ruler of Brittany at the tender age of 11. Determined not to have her authority usurped by meddling advisers or foreign powers, she searches for a suitable husband whose allegiance will bring peace and security to Brittany. She’s offered protection—as well as condolences—by King Charles VIII of France, but she rejects his offer as an imperialist scheme to gain dominion over Brittany’s lands. In response to what he perceives as defiance, he attempts to impose French rule by force. Meanwhile, Charles has problems of his own. When his own detestable father died, he was too young to ascend to the throne, and so he labors under the officious rule of his sister, Anne de Beaujeu, the Duchess of Bourbon, who serves as regent until he reaches the age of majority. Charles eventually offers Anne a path to peace. If she marries him, he’ll immediately end his siege of Brittany. She’s filled with resentment, though, over his harsh treatment of Brittany and suspicious of any brokered compromise that surrenders her authority or ensures the future of Brittany will be in submission to a foreign ruler. Also, there’s the thorny problem of her marriage to Maximilian, the Archduke of Austria, who will one day become the Holy Roman Emperor, and an arrangement for Charles to marry his daughter, Marguerite. Gaston’s (Sense of Touch: Love and Duty at Anne of Brittany’s Court, 2016, etc.) research is admirably thorough—she artfully brings to life 15th-century Europe. Also, while the court politics of the day were knottily complex, she disentangles it all with laudable clarity. Gaston’s writing is elegant and historically authentic but also accessible. She doesn’t burden the reader with an endless train of linguistic anachronisms in order to achieve historical accuracy. Further, the romance between Anne and Charles is touchingly presented, one that traveled from suspicion and resentment through sober pragmatism to genuine love.
What’s Anne and Charles about?
Charles VIII of France is king, but he doesn’t feel like one. When he marries Anne of Brittany in a political alliance, he acquires a wife who already feels like a queen and who guides her husband to thinking like the king he already is. The brimming self-confidence of Brittany’s ruler inspires his own, and fans the flames of their attraction into a lasting love. But can they achieve their one most important goal together?
More Praise for Anne and Charles
“The highlights of the reign of King Charles VIII of France are covered in detail as well as his loving marriage to Anne, Duchess of Brittany. A delightful read with sparkling dialogue, Gaston puts a human face on these captivating historical personalities from the French Renaissance.”—Susan Abernethy, The Freelance History Writer
“A true story that reads like a fairytale, Anne and Charles is an evocative portrayal of Anne of Brittany, a feminist avant la lettre, who uses her intelligence and charm to protect the people of Brittany as their prudent ruler. This irresistible read will make you feel like you’re one of Anne of Brittany’s privileged ladies-in-waiting. A marvelous story about a marriage that would change the course of European history.”—Hilde van den Bergh, Hemmahoshilde Blog
“Francophiles, feminists and fans of history and romance alike will delight in Anne and Charles. Gaston returns readers to a world poised to shed one skin, the confines of medieval duchies and kingdoms, and embrace another, one in which France would lead the rest of Western Europe through the Renaissance. This fictionalized account of how Anne of Brittany finds her way and her love amidst this world offers modern readers unexpected lessons on female power and the possibilities that await those who follow their heart.”—Dominique Padurano, Ph.D., Professor of History, City University of New York, Crimson Coaching LLC
“Ms. Gaston masterfully conveys the passion, heartbreak, and determination of this royal couple.”—InD’tale Magazine
“An engrossing depiction of the meeting and marriage between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII of France. As in her previous work, Sense of Touch, Gaston paints a colorful and interesting picture of court life in 15th century France. This book excels in humanizing one of the most misunderstood of French kings—his love and admiration for his strong wife and his self-deprecating view of his limitations and weaknesses. This fictionalized account of their complementary relationship is well worth the read.”—RT Review Source
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Audio rights: Audio rights for the Anne of Brittany series have been sold to Tantor Media. Look for Anne and Charles audio edition in early 2018.