Oct. 14, 2017
Set in France, beginning in 1497, this is the story of Nicole St. Sylvain and Philippe de Bois. Fifteen-year-old Nicole serves Anne of Brittany, Queen of France as one of her ladies. There she meets Philippe, a young horse trainer, breaking in one of the queen’s stallions. The attraction between the two is immediate, but Nicole and Philippe have only a brief time to love before duty and honor separate them.
The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Nicole awaits an arranged marriage to a man of a noble family. She loves the queen and will do her duty even though she has given her heart to Philippe. She has a gift with healing herbs and a touch that heals, both horses and people. After the loss of many of her babes, the queen finally gives birth to a healthy girl. When the child falls ill, she asks Nicole to help. The queen has promised to grant one favor to any who can save her child.
The history is woven into the story and you are swept into the 15th and early 16th century and to the court of Queen Anne and all she endures trying to bring a child into the world. It’s as much Anne’s story as it is Nicole’s. Anne is an independent young woman who makes her own way in a rigid world. Philippe manages to rise in a society that affords little opportunity to do so.
For fans of historical romance that love the history, this will be a great choice. There are some repetitions that slow the pace a bit, and the ending comes quickly, but still, it’s a wonderful story, beautifully told.
“A striking story.”—U.K. Historical Novel Society
“Well written, well developed characters and accurate historical information make this book a winner.”—Helene Furst, Morning Beans Blog
“Thoughtful and well crafted, with a plot that runs seamlessly through delightful prose. A lovely historical tale.”—CK
Anne of Brittany, Aquarians, Aquarius, Chateau des Ducs de Nantes, Chateau Royal Amboise, Early Modern History, ermines, European culture, European history, French history, French queen, historical romance, life, Loire Valley, Medieval, Nantes, Renaissance, Renaissance queen, royalty, Sense of Touch, Touraine, Women in history, women of history, Women's History Tags: Amboise
Who was Anne of Brittany?
Her dates: 1477-1514.
- Decidedly feminist.
- Delightfully feminine.
- Highly educated.
- Raised to rule over Brittany.
- Lavish in her spending.
- A bookworm.
- Lovingly conscientious to her husbands, both kings of France.
- Faithfully conscientious to her Breton subjects, over which she ruled from the age of eleven.
Ever since picking up Mildred Allen Butler’s book on Anne of Brittany a few years ago (Twice Queen of France: Anne of Brittany. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1967), I’ve been fascinated by this French queen who came to power at age eleven as ruler of Brittany, then became queen of France at age fourteen.
Anne of Brittany’s travails trying to bring live children into the world rival any woman’s in history. This girl/woman went through the wringer as a mother. Her fourteen pregnancies resulted in the survival of two children, both daughters.The rest? Three miscarriages, five stillborn infants, one son dead after three hours, one daughter dead after one day, another son lived three weeks, her longest living son survived to age three when he succumbed to measles. As a public figure, this queen’s drama played out on the stage of all of France. If I had made this up, readers wouldn’t believe it. But it’s all true, and carefully historically documented.
I began to wonder why Anne of Brittany’s story is not well known. Many modern women share the same secret heartaches their medieval and ancient sisters suffered: pregnancy loss, inability to bring a live child into the world, inability to keep a child alive once born. Women still struggle with these issues and still suffer in silence when pregnancy and childbirth loss occurs. My heart aches for every one of them.
I wanted to bring alive Anne of Brittany’s tale for modern women, may of whom share her story in suffering and in courage. At the same time this brave woman endured continual personal tragedy she achieved great success as queen of France. She provides the world with an exceptional model of fortitude and resilience in the face of great personal suffering. Brava, Anne of Brittany!
- Anne of Brittany ruled over the most sophisticated court in Europe.
- She helped usher in the glories of the Renaissance from Italy to France. She ran the first finishing school for young women of noble birth, educating them in book learning and estate management and supplying or supplementing their dowries when they married.
- Both of Anne of Brittany’s husbands were madly in love with her. Neither considered putting her aside despite her inability to produce an heir for the throne of France. Her second husband, Louis XII of France, died less than a year after her death at the age of thirty seven. It was said that he never recovered from her death.
- Anne of Brittany was renown all over Europe as a matchmaker. Rulers of other European countries, including King Ferdinand of Spain after his wife Isabella’s death and the king of Hungary sought her advice in choosing a suitable spouse for them.
I could say more, but I’ll save it for the sequel. Anne of Brittany: Girl Who Ruled a Country should arrive in early 2017. Meanwhile, please join me in discovering the remarkable historical figure of Anne of Brittany in my new release Sense of Touch.
Author Rozsa Gaston
Anne of Brittany, be here now, Boadicea, born to rule, Brittany, Charles VIII, cleopatra, confidence, crowd-sourced publishing, Dido, French culture, French history, historical fiction, historical romance, Huffington Post, Kindle Scout, publishing, reader-powered publishing, readers, Renaissance queen, romance, Salic Law, women of history, women's fiction, women's issues
Sense of Touch was #1 on the Hot & Trending list on Kindle Scout last week, thanks to reader nominations. If you haven’t voted, please vote here for my tale of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), French queen who welcomed Italy’s Renaissance to France. Your vote is FREE and you will receive an eBook edition of Sense of Touch as thanks if it is chosen for publication. http://bit.ly/NominateSenseofTouch
“To my life” or “à ma vie” was Anne of Brittany’s motto.
This early Renaissance queen didn’t lack for confidence. Born to rule Brittany, she was not raised to attract the attention of a king so that she might become queen consort one day, if she was lucky.
Already she was born to rule her country, the Duchy of Brittany, to the west of and independent from France.
Firstborn royal children of Brittany’s ruler, male or female, inherited the Duchy of Brittany. France’s Salic laws of royal inheritance stipulated males only inherited the Kingdom of France. Two countries side by side with inheritance laws SOOO very different…
This changed everything for Anne of Brittany AND for the way queens were viewed in France. When Anne of Brittany married Charles VIII of France she came to France as ruler of her own country.
Anne was a female ruler in the tradition of Cleopatra, Boadicea or Dido. She was not a woman raised to attract a powerful man. She was raised to exercise power. And that, friends, is why her motto was “to my life.”
Vote here to nominate Sense of Touch for publication by Kindle Press. Campaign closes October 19 and I’ll let you know soon after if it was selected. Let me know you voted, readers and friends, so that I may add you to my acknowledgments page. You will have been a part of helping me bring this remarkable French queen’s story to life.