Jan. 25, 2019 – Happy 542nd anniversary of the birth of Anne of Brittany — a female role model for leadership for all times.
Anne and Louis wins the General Fiction genre of the Publishers Weekly 2018 BookLife Prize.
Book Two of the Anne of Brittany Series, Anne and Louis covers the first years of Anne of Brittany’s marriage to Louis XII, King of France. Featuring a cast of characters from Christine de Pizan to Cesare Borgia, Anne and Louis serves up historical accuracy with passion and wit, according to InD’Tale Magazine.
“A gripping novel about a larger than life queen, Anne and Louis is a smartly written read filled with both passion and wit.”—InD’tale Magazine
Here’s what New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Brown says about Anne and Louis:
“A lively, engaging story, rich with historical detail that brings the story of a forgotten queen to life. Reminiscent of Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy, Anne and Louis gives voice to Anne of Brittany, allowing her to step from the historical shadows and illuminating her as a determined and influential political figure, as well as a bright and devoted woman in her own right.” —Eleanor Brown, NYT bestselling author of The Weird Sisters, The Light of Paris
Anne and Louis excerpt:
“Charlotte, you are safe. She is gone,” he murmured behind her.
Charlotte turned and slapped Nicolas de Laval across the face as hard as she could. “And since you are not gone, I am not safe at all,” she hissed.
Nicolas stumbled backward, his hand to his cheek. “My lady, you misunderstand.”
“I understand perfectly. You know her, she knows you, and I don’t want to know anymore.”
—Anne and Louis, p. 84
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Anne and Louis, Book Two of the Anne of Brittany Series, comes out Nov. 29, 2018.
Delve into the world of 1499 France as the feudal era passes and Europe hurtles toward the Renaissance. Join Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, and Louis XII, King of France, as they host Cesar Borgia and Niccolo Machiavelli at their royal court.
Discover Anne’s maids of honor as they read the works of medieval female writers Christine de Pizan and Marie de France, some on the curriculum, some not.
Learn self-confidence, self-possession, and firm decision-making from France’s queen and Brittany’s ruler Anne of Brittany, who reaches across the centuries and offers a role model to women in leadership today.
Anne of Brittany, Brittany, Cesare Borgia, Christine de Pizan, Claude of France, culture, female inheritance, female ruler, Francis I, History, literature, Louis XII, Louise of Savoy, Machiavelli, Marie de France, relationships, review, Salic Law
Anne and Louis
Passion and Politics in Early Renaissance France: The First Years of Anne of Brittany’s Marriage to Louis XII (Book Two of the Anne of Brittany Series)
Renaissance Editions: 2018
978-0-9847906-8-5 (pbk) $14.95 Available on Amazon and Ingram
978-0-9847906-9-2 (ebook) $2.99 Available on Amazon
Anne and Louis: Passion and Politics in Early Renaissance France: The First Years of Anne of Brittany’s Marriage to Louis XII will delight readers of historical fiction who want their dramas firmly rooted in facts. This audience—especially those who enjoyed the first
book in the Anne of Brittany series—will find a compelling continuation of the saga in this story of Anne, the Duchess of Brittany, who has a country to run even as her lover Louis has a controversial annulment to pursue in order to fulfill his romance with Anne.
Even more complicated are the politics which dictate their romance and relationship. This is an overlay which creates seemingly insurmountable controversies between the couple and their individual political circles, and is deftly explained by Rozsa Gaston, whose saga assumes no previous knowledge of Anne of Brittany, Louis XII, or French history and politics. This makes the tale accessible to both history buffs and those with a milder familiarity with the era.
At age 21, Anne was both a widow and the ruler of a kingdom, as committed to maintaining Brittany’s independence from France as she was in seeing her relationship with Louis become a bond between their countries.
Their struggles in 16th-century Europe on the cusp of the Renaissance era come to life as Anne finds herself caught between love and country.
Chapters don’t just build the characters and explore the issues between Anne and Louis, but also probe their world. Thus, the romances and relationships between others are also presented within the context of the social mores of their times (“When he looked up, Charlotte of Naples and Aragon was floating toward him in the full glory of her youth and serene beauty. He felt himself in the presence of a goddess. One day such a glorious creature would grow into a woman like his mother or the duchess Anne. For such a woman, an offer of marriage must follow a kiss. But first, a kiss. Her father would kill her; her mother would roll over in her grave. She had allowed him to take her hand.”).
Rozsa Gaston presents a rich, multifaceted universe through the eyes of a number of characters who interact with their world, which she spices with vivid descriptions to bring the setting to life through the eyes, experiences, and thoughts of many: “Anne of Brittany turned her back on her high-spirited charges to climb the final steps to the summit. At the top the flat marshy countryside spread out before her. In the late morning sunlight the bay of Mont-St.-Michel shimmered in the distance like a beckoning jewel. Beyond the bay was the Mor Breizh, also known as the Channel, the body of water over which Brittany’s settlers had traveled from the British Isles. She drank in the view as her lungs filled with fresh sea air.”
Adding to the feel of the story are lovely color artworks and images of the times, which pepper a saga that brings to life Anne’s concerns, her people, her romance, and her conundrums. From her distrust of Italian politics and her appetite for luxury to the impact of her relationship with Louis, yet another powerful strength to this story is its astute assessment of how the personalities of each affected their choices and political perceptions: “Her Louis was too nice a man to be entering into agreements with wily Italians seeking to take advantage of his innate decency. She would protect her husband’s interests while this sharp second secretary remained among them. Louis’ step sounded on the stairs above and all eyes turned. As Anne gazed at her husband’s beneficent expression and handsome yet careworn face, her heart hurt. She knew behind her, the shrewd young Florentine would be sizing him up and determining sooner rather than later that France’s king could be easily manipulated on the Italian peninsula.”
All this means that the story about a changing society as the Renaissance gets started is given a personal touch that brings the entire era to life through Anne’s eyes and the experiences of those who interact with her.
The result is a powerfully-written saga that requires only an interest in a compelling love story and its historical background to prove satisfying, revealing, educational, and hard to put down, all in one. Quite simply, Anne and Louis is a masterpiece that paints an extraordinary emotional and political vision of its times, capturing the facets of a social and political milieu that all too often is regulated to dry facts devoid of emotion.
—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Anne and Louis, Book Two of the Anne of Brittany Series, comes out Nov. 29, 2018. Pre-order here.
To begin your discovery of Renaissance ruler Anne of Brittany, read Anne and Charles, Book One of the Anne of Brittany Series.
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African-American literature, Afro-Caribbean culture, Beloved, black writers, Caribbean culture, gender equality, Home, junot Diaz, literature, New York Public Library, Paris Adieu, Paul Holdengraber. Rozsa Gaston, race, Running from Love, Song of Solomon, Sula, Toni Morrison, writing
“Two eyes, one tongue, searching for beauty,” was the seven-word phrase Toni Morrison came up with for Director of Live from NYPL Paul Holdengraber, on Dec. 12, 2013 at New York Public Library. He asks for a seven-word phrase from all his guests. Junot Díaz was co-guest. His phrase? “The poor immigrant kid in this library.”The evening marked the first time Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz shared the stage together. Their conversation? Scintillating.
Toni Morrison talks and Junot Díaz shows us a new way to be a man
at Live from the New York Public Library, Dec. 12, 2013
Rozsa Gaston for Wild River Review
On December 12, the making of a new American hero took place at the New York Public Library.
Not Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; she already is.
But Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, who paid homage to Morrison in a one-hour talk.
Díaz doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk of a new way to be a man.
The Dominican-American author opened the conversation by saying “Certainly the axis of the world shifted for me when I first went to college. In my first class, first semester, first week at Rutgers University, I was in my first class with Abena Busia, and she was teaching Song of Solomon. The axis of my world shifted and has never returned.” He referred to Morrison’s 1977 novel, which put her on the map.
Morrison asked, “Has it improved, then, do you think?” Soft-spoken, playful, flirtatious.
Díaz’s response: “Yeah. Much warmer and brilliant place I am in now.” Ungrammatical and unable to take his eyes off Morrison, Díaz appeared captivated by the stunning, 82-year-old woman seated across from him onstage.
Díaz commented that Morrison, as an editor for black authors, shifted the entire canon of black literature. “There was an unspoken premise of your books that there is a black woman as the reader,” he pointed out.
Morrison concurred. “It would be like being Tolstoy. You’re Russian and you write for Russians, not for little colored girls in Ohio. However, once you take your own area in your own soil and dig deep into that, and if you’re good enough at it, it’s available to everybody. You don’t have to direct it at a vague audience that you think is perhaps not yours.”
Díaz brought up the thin line between the animal and the human as “something that occurs throughout your work.” He referred to the image in Morrison’s 2012 book Home of two fighting stallions “that rose up like men. We saw them. Like men they stood.”
“Besides the fact that you can outwrite every motherfucker on the planet, sentence by sentence,” Díaz said, flashing a peace sign to the audience with boyish enthusiasm, “no matter what the hell’s going on in the world, I’m always lying in bed and I’m like, yeah, the best writer in the world is of African descent.”
Morrison responded that when you see those horses stand up and fight, then “you know something about masculinity, beauty, brutality, and power. It’s a way to pull the reader in, so that they have a truly visceral response to a character’s thoughts.”
The beauty of Junot’s own restrained masculinity was on display throughout the evening. His questions were discerning, considered. He didn’t get in the way of Morrison’s responses.
Referencing Morrison’s 1973 novel Sula as an example of female friendship not often explored in literature, Díaz derided the cultural imperative for female characters in literature or “that hetero-normative over-emphasis on the dude who is going to enter her life,” as false. “My sister’s most important relationship was with one of her girlfriends,” he told the audience.
At the end of their discussion, Díaz concluded reverentially: “So, I wanted to thank you, Madame.” Then he turned to the audience, stipulating he would take four questions: two from people under thirty and two from women. In fact, he took questions from three women and one man.
A woman asked which authors had inspired Morrison. Her response was “none.” She paused, then added, “Sometimes a line of poetry will kick something off. I just relish other people’s writings enormously. As an editor, I have to have that separation. The inspiration thing is a little bit overdone.”
With questions over, the audience rose, joining Díaz in a standing ovation for Toni Morrison.
Some of us applauded for Díaz too. He’s showing the world how to be a new kind of man. Not easy for a Dominican-American dude from New Jersey.
Catch the Toni Morrison/Junot Díaz conversation at: http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/watch-toni-morrison-junot-diaz-in-a-live-online-conversation.html
Photos courtesy of Jori Klein/The New York Public Library