Anne and Louis

Passion and Politics in Early Renaissance France

Fiction - Historical - Personage
353 Pages
Reviewed on 02/12/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Stockard for Readers' Favorite

The year is 1498. Anne, Duchess of Brittany and widow of the late Charles VIII, is deeply in love with Louis, the married king of France. While Louis is tied up in annulment proceedings, Anne returns to the duchy she inherited from her father but was not allowed to rule after her marriage to Charles. Anne is determined to claim her rightful place as sovereign of Brittany and ensure its continued independence. Her eventual marriage to Louis is happy but hardly smooth. Louis is not as easily manipulated as Charles was, and he and Anne frequently disagree on matters of state and family. Their main quarrel is that Louis will marry their daughter Claude to the young Francis, who stands to inherit the French throne if Anne cannot produce a son. That will spell the end of Brittany’s independence, for which Anne has fought so hard.

Anne and Louis: Passion and Politics in Early Renaissance France, the second book in Rozsa Gaston’s Anne of Brittany series, is well-written and thoroughly researched. Gaston expertly captures Anne’s personality and brings depth and nuance to her portrayal. She is at once haughty and vulnerable, loving and stern. She is a strong female character, but still very much a woman of her time. Gaston’s depiction of Anne’s relationship with Louis is realistic and interesting. Set in the glittering French court, this book is filled with complex characters and fascinating historical figures such as Cesare Borgia and Machiavelli. It is sure to please any lover of history and romance.

Diane Donovan

“Anne and Louis is a masterpiece that paints an extraordinary emotional and political vision of its times. Satisfying, educational, and hard to put down.”—D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

Eleanor Brown

"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, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters (Nov. 1, 2018)

Susan Abernethy

"Filled with strong women characters and jam-packed with history, Gaston gives us a lively narrative of an intelligent woman who diligently maintained the independence of her beloved duchy while navigating French politics during her marriage to King Louis XII."--Susan Abernethy, The Freelance History Writer