Not last week...but the week before (sounds like a jump-rope cadence ;) we were on vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida and as always, I bring along a few art supplies with me so that I can work in ANY of my art journals if I should feel INSPIRED...
For this trip, I really did want to keep things down to a minimum so, I only brought along a small art/tool box, one envelope of collage papers, my clip art and my composition book journals. The rest were reading books...specifically the books that I am reading to complete The French Historical Reading Challenge that I committed to month's ago!
As hosted by my friend, Lucy of Enchanted by Josephine.
Previously, I had started working on the first few pages in this journal but I had not finished reading the book, The Courtesan, so I was having trouble working in the journal. WHAT can I say...it's my process...I'm a gatherer (?) is that a word...lol Which means...that I gather and collect all of my information and then I process my thoughts and create my journal pages.
Because this book was based on actual, historical characters...I started looking up their real pictures and historical facts on the internet. Then I was writing down my notes as I was reading the book on these printed fact sheets in lieu of in my actual journal.
So then when I was on vacation, I added the pictures that I printed off the internet to my pre-decorated journal pages and wrote out the notes that I wanted to remember about this book as well as the important facts for my own personal reference.
Because the paper in this composition book are so thin...not really made for art journaling...I brought along some decorativie scrapbook papers as well as some heavy art supply papers in case I wanted to do any type of watercolor painting, etc. I also brought along some alpha rubber stamps and some chalk ink pads to add some collage dimension and accents to the pages. I KEPT IT REAL SIMPLE...because I really wanted to concentrate on my journaling and NOT my ability to create journal art. In fact some of the pages I just left blank so that I could be sure to answer all my journal prompts (see bottom of post ;).
So without further delay...here is my first book review for this challenge:
The Courtesan by Diane Haeger:
When I first read the title about this book I thought it was about the Italian court,
Amid the disapproving gossip of the Court, a royal romance defies all obstacles.
The Court of François I is full of lust, intrigue, and bawdy bon temps—a different world from the quiet country life Diane de Poitiers led with her elderly husband. Now a widow, the elegant Diane is called back to Court, where the King’s obvious interest marks her as an enemy to the King’s favourite, Anne d’Heilly. The Court is soon electrified by rumors of their confrontations. As Anne calls on her most venomous tricks to drive Diane away, Diane finds an ally in the one member of Court with no allegiance to the King’s mistress: his teenage second son, Henri.
Neglected by his father and disliked by his brothers, Prince Henri expects little from his life. But as his friendship with Diane deepens into infatuation and then a romance that scandalizes the Court, the Prince begins to discover hope for a future with Diane. But fate and his father have other plans for Henri—including a political marriage with Catherine de Medici. Despite daunting obstacles, Henri’s devotion to Diane never wanes; their passion becomes one of the most legendary romances in the history of
This book begins in 1533 when Diane de Poitiers returns to the French Court of King Francis I after her husband’s death. We soon learn that her marriage was originally arranged, by King Francois, as a favor to Diane’s late father. Hence the drama begins and with all of the court gossip, especially with the King’s present favorite, Anne d’Heilly.
Of course there was some justification for Anne’s jealousy…King Francis was actually trying to bed Diane. But Anne didn’t fear Diane’s apparent beauty, it was the fact that she was older and wiser and with that maturity she feared that Diane would bring an intellectual experience in the bedroom that Anne could not match.
Diane avoids the King’s attempts and tries to avoid Anne’s insulting abuse through-out the court and she soon finds a friend, and an ally, in the King’s son, Henry II. At first I had a REALLY hard time understanding the attraction that Diane was having for a boy that was almost 20 years younger…especially when she had a daughter the same age ;( I could understand the attraction that Henry had for Diane because she was older and he lost his mother at such a young age and his father was a selfish, inflated ego-maniac. How else can you describe a man who lets his two young children take his place in a foreign prison for several years?
However, once I investigated a bit and discovered that the sexual relationship between Diane and Henry probably did not begin until Henry was almost 20 (which made Diane 38 or older) and not when he was 15 or so as indicated in this book…then I was able to understand the need for protection that Diane was receiving from Henry. This coupled with the fact that, circumstances for that period and, the responsibilities required of the royal families, did make the youth mature (much faster than today) and become adults by the time they were teenagers.
The story continues through-out the next 30 years of their lives and covers all of their relationships and the politics and court life during that time. Including the death of two older brothers, making him the next heir to the throne. The marriage of Henry to his Spanish queen, Catherine de’Medici, the births of his children and the death of his father, King Francis and his subsequent rise as the King of France.
This is truly a historical romance that was very compelling and kept drawing me in, even when I had an apparent reluctance. Because it was (somewhat) based on a true story, I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about this time period of the
Hope you all have enjoyed my review and that I didn’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read this book.