Young Queens (Paperback)
  • Young Queens (Paperback)
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Young Queens (Paperback)

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£12.99
Paperback 512 Pages
Published: 29/02/2024
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Waterstones Says

Deftly intertwining the stories of three immensely powerful women in an era dominated by men, Chang's dazzling group biography of Catherine de' Medici, Elisabeth de Valois and Mary Queen of Scots is rich in drama, intrigue and tragedy.

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Non-Fiction 2024

Sixteenth-century Europe: Renaissance masters paint the ceilings of Florentine churches, kings battle for control of the Continent, and the Reformation forever changes the religious organisation of society. Amidst it all, three young women come of age and into power in an era of empires and revolutions.

Catherine de’ Medici’s story begins in a convent stormed by soldiers intent on seizing the key to power in Florence – Catherine herself, a girl barely 11 years old. It ends with her as the controversial queen mother of France, a woman both revered and reviled.

Mary, Queen of Scots’ story begins in Scotland and ends in England. A queen turned traitor, from the confines of her English prison she longs for the idyll of her childhood in France.

Elisabeth de Valois’ story begins in France, where she is born the beloved daughter of a king. It ends tragically in Spain as a cherished queen consort and mother – one who must make the ultimate sacrifice for her kingdom.

Catherine, Mary and Elisabeth lived at the French court together for many years before scattering to different kingdoms. These years bound them to one another through blood and marriage, alliance and friendship, love and filial piety; bonds that were tested when the women were forced to part and take on new roles. To rule, they would learn, was to wage a constant war against the deeply entrenched misogyny of their time. A crown could exalt a young woman. Equally, it could destroy her.

Drawing on new archival research, Young Queens masterfully weaves the personal stories of these three queens into one, revealing their hopes, dreams, desires and regrets in a time when even the most powerful women lived at the mercy of the state.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781526613431
Number of pages: 512
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Redmond Chang expertly chronicles the lives and reigns of these three lives. Vivid and immersive, this book reveals the ways in which these women had to navigate the tumultuous European politics that entangled the French, Scottish and Spanish courts … [Young Queens] is well written and grounded in archival research. It shows with gripping detail that these queens truly marked history in their own right - Estelle Paranque, The Times

Chang writes beautifully and clearly about complicated events of world history, religion and dynastic strife. Retaining a good eye for the telling details of what it meant to be a woman when so little was known (rather than surmised) about pregnancy and childbirth, and a mother, she draws her reader deeply into these women’s lives - Anne Sebba, Guardian

An intriguing approach to 16th-century queenship … Chang delivers a murderously climactic final act, telling the story of Mary, Darnley and Bothwell with aplomb. She equally delivers quieter, moving moments … For all that this is a history book, however, it has present-day resonance too - History Today

An exquisitely written biography of these three queens, tracing their stories from Renaissance Italy through Reformation France to war-torn Scotland and beyond … Chang tells a vivid, visual and compelling story, furnished with stirring details from the countless letters penned by and about these women. Not everyone can make such sources sing as this author does … This is a masterful, compelling and significant book - BBC History Magazine

A fascinating look at rulers who faced the same sort of criticism women in power still face today - Dan Snow

Young Queens takes us into the hearts and minds of three extraordinary women. Leah Redmond Chang's meticulous research and engaging prose gives each of them their due, providing a rich and nuanced perspective on the challenges they faced and the remarkable legacies they left behind - Amanda Foreman

Alluring, gripping, real: an astonishing insight into the lives of three queens, stepping out from the shadows of the patriarchy - we meet them on their own terms - Alice Roberts

This exceptionally brilliant book, deft of phrase and vividly realised, conveys the vitality of the past as few books do. It’s an enviable tour de force and marks the arrival of a wonderful new voice in narrative history - Suzannah Lipscomb

Amidst the turbulence of the 16th century, the lives of a Queen Mother, a Queen Consort and a Queen Regnant became irrevocably entangled as they restitched the tapestry of Europe with the thread of five great houses. Both an evocative re-imagination of political history and a meditation on the nature of queenship, Young Queens is a tour de force of storytelling - Nadine Akkerman

This exceptionally researched narrative successfully weaves together the stories of three of the most intriguing queens in sixteenth-century Europe, revealing them to be integral parts both of one another's lives and the complex worlds in which they lived. Leah Redmond Chang expertly navigates the tumultuous waters of the French, Spanish, and Scottish courts, and in so doing brings these fascinating queens to brilliant and vivid life - Nicola Tallis

Young Queens binds intense and innovative scholarship to vivid writing. Leah Redmond Chang breathes life into three fascinating queens - of France, Spain and Scotland, and shows us the women behind these icons of royal power. She reveals how their lives, hearts, families and fates were interlinked and what joys and unbearable pressures this placed upon them. A rare and delightful book and a hugely rewarding read - Lucy Jago

To be a queen in Renaissance Europe was a tricky thing: to have the power to shape the world, but also to be at the mercy of many forces--and to have to fight, even to survive. Young Queens is an ambitious book about three fascinating women, meticulously researched and vividly told - Louisa Thomas

[Young Queens] vividly illuminates their ambitions, motivations and fears, as well as the overwhelming odds and difficult choices faced by female rulers in an era of male power and shifting allegiances - History Revealed

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“Very readable biography that fills a few gaps”

Born into the powerful Medici family of Florence young Catherine experiences upsets but is sent away to marry at a young age. Her husband is the King of France and after some conception issues Catherine presents her... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 7

“Recommended”

These women were queens and each of them had to fight for her life or for power. Caterina De Medici is a myth that can be negative or positive according to the side you're on, Elizabeth of Valois is the less... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 7

“Men ruled in the sixteenth century but these women knew power.”

These three women’s lives intertwined in the sixteenth century when men held all the power. This well written book is very well narrated and a pleasure to listen to.

Highly recommend you Read or listen to it and... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

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