Oh, goodness. A much better experience than with The Next Always. I’m still not overly fond of the characters but at least I have gotten used to them. Weirdly enough I like Clare & Beckett better in this book, too. So maybe it’s the who-the-heck-are-all-these-characters problem and the next time I read The Next Always, I will love it. The thing is of course that I normally don’t have this sort of problem with Nora books.
Anyway, Owen & Avery were so cute together. And now that the inn is opening, there are not as many three-page-long description of constructing something (although there are of course new projects Justine has cooked up).
One of the perks of reading Nora trilogies is that I don’t have any problem marathoning them. Usually I get “sick” of characters if I read about them for too long, even if it’s a trilogy. I never have that problem with Nora trilogies, and in this regard the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy wasn’t an exception.
Now the inn is in full swing, Avery’s second restaurant & bar is getting finishing touches, and the Montgomery brothers are working on the Fit In BoonsBoro project. Oh, and the smoldering passion between Ryder and Hope is about to get ignited.
I really appreciate Ryder and personality. I appreciate Hope’s, too. It’s very cool in a very weird way that their personalities fit so well together. And by now I had gotten used to the construction talk.
The mystery of Lizzy the Ghost is also revealed at the end.
One should probably not read historical fiction for its accuracy.
The best thing about historical fiction, though? You get to meet the characters (important historical figures) in an interesting and intimate way. You don’t have to force yourself to memorize who Caterina de’ Medici’s parents were, how Pope Clement VII was related to her, who Alessandro and Ippolito were, and so on.
With Duchessina, Carolyn Meyer breaks away from the Tudors (although it’s still all connected, thanks to the diplomatic marriages between royal families). As fascinated as I am with the Tudors, it was really exciting to get to learn other dynasties. Although one has to add that the Medicis are not royals by blood, but they wielded considerable power in Italy, esp. in Florence, and they produced two popes – Leo X and Clement VII.
So Caterina de’ Medici has been an orphan since she was a few weeks, and she grows up having to fear for her safety – first the revolts in Florence due to which she spends a few years in different convents, then worrying about where she is going to be shipped to as one of the richest bride in Europe, and then her first childless ten years with the future Henry II of France (who is besotted by his mistress, Diane de Poltiers, and will continue to be so for the rest of his life) during which Pope Clement VII dies, making Caterina’s future uncertain again.
Duchessina ends with the death of Henry II of France, paving a way for Caterina (or Catherine, as she is called in France) to live truly as the Queen of France. It also ends before the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, which mainly gave her the name “Madame Serpent”, I think. I like the way the author tells the stories of young royals who had to endure so many uncertainties and dangers in their youth. It makes me able to empathize with them to a certain degree (the exception being Anne Boleyn from Doomed Queen Anne). I am curious about whether the parts of convent friends, Betta and Akasma are really true (probably not). Oh, and I wonder whether the author gets her information mainly from Wikipedia and starts out from there.
Another great thing of reading historical fiction is that you become interested in the era and the ruling royals and their politics – in essence, you become interested in history. So after doing some digging, I found out:
- Catherine de’ Medici is the mother-in-law to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots
- Three of her sons become kings – François II, Charles IX of France, Henry III of France.
- Her daughter Margaret married the future Henry IV of France. But their marriage is a complicated one. I still haven’t sorted it out yet.
- Her daughter Elisabeth married Philip II of Spain, whose wife, Mary I of England, had died shortly before. Apparently Philip was very fond of Elisabeth (so different from his behavior towards Mary I, no?) but Elisabeth died giving birth nine years after their marriage. She was 23.
- At some point, her son Hercule François was considered a match for Elizabeth I of England. In the end, of course, it did not go through.