ready for today's reviews? Here we go then:
Catherine of Valois is now relegated to a footnote in history. That's because we don't really know much about her. The daughter of the impoverished and mad French king Charles VI, Catherine married English King Henry V, bringing him as her dowry the kingdom of France. Henry barely spent any time with his wife during their short marriage, too busy was he with his war with France. When he died, Catherine was expected by the council to live a chaste life, respectful of her role of mother of the new King. When Catherine fell in love with Edmund Beaufort, the council ruled that anyone who marries the Queen Dowager without the consent of the King and his council would lose all his possessions. Left alone once again, Catherine now fell for Owen Tudor, a servant in her household and a Welshman, and married him. From their relationship, the Tudor dynasty descended.
Catherine was never really involved in politics. Her husband fought a war with her brother, the rightful heir to the French throne, but the novel barely touches the subject. There is no mention of Joan of Arc, who helped the Dauphin regain his throne, nor of Catherin's elder sister Isabelle, who had been a Queen of England too (she had married Richard II). Her mad father and cold-hearted mother only make brief appearances. And so does James Stuart, the captured Scottish King held prisoner at the English court. So, if you like political intrigues, wars and battles, this is not the book for you.
Instead, O'Brien fills in the gaps in Catherine's life, imagining how she related to her lovers, what attracted her to them, and how her relationships with them affected her life. Although the focus is mostly on Catherine's love life, this book is a lot more than just a romance novel. It's more of a coming of age story which covers her entire life-span. When we first meet Catherine, she's a dirty and impoverished young princess who fights with her sister over a few morsels of bread. Her parents never paid much attention to them, finally relegating them into a convent, where it wasn't considered necessary to give Catherine a proper education.
Starved for love, the naive and insecure Catherine fancies herself in love with her formidable husband, the hero of Agincourt, and, after his death, becomes despondent and depressed as she faces the prospect of spending the rest of her life alone. Until Edmund Beaufort comes along, wooing her and making her feel alive again. That too ends in disappointment. But Catherine is slowly becoming more confident and, when she falls in love with Tudor, she's ready to fight for the right to be with him and live her life the way she wants to.
Catherine can be frustrating at times, especially at the beginning when she's insecure and desperate for love, but she's also a character most people will easily be able to relate to. The book, which is very well-written, is also a bit too long. It becomes quite slow towards the middle, but, luckily picks up speed again soon as Catherine starts to develop feelings for Owen Tudor (who makes a magnificent hero, by the way). If you like romance and coming of age stories, I highly recommend you pick this one up book.
Available at: amazon
Do you want to improve your communication skills? Then, I highly recommend you pick up this book. Harrison Monarth, a leader in the field of persuasive communication and speaker coaching, teaches you an easy-to-implement 4 step process to help you communicate better. This will allow you to establish yourself as a leader and expert in your field, and get other people, even those who don't agree with you or simply don't like you, to adopt your agenda and act on it on your behalf.
Drawing on his personal experiences, as well as those of successful businesspeople and historical figures, such as William Shakespeare and Napoleon Bonaparte, Harrison explains, in a very simple and straightforward manner, how you can turn every situation to your advantage. His system helps you to increase your confidence and teaches you how to communicate your message to get the results you want.
Although the book is aimed mostly at people who want to further their careers and become leaders in their professions, this 4 step process can be used by anyone in any situations. Parents can use it to persuade their children to listen to them more, teachers to motivate students to study harder, and citizens to get their voice heard by brands and politicians on a particular issue that's close to their heart.
If you only read one book about communication, make it this one. You won't regret it.
Available at: amazon
Would you like to read these books? Or have you done so already?
Disclaimer: I received these book in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.