Blood, Fire & Gold: The Story of Elizabeth I & Catherine de Medici (Hardcover)
**SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE, "10 BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF 2022"**
**HISTORY TODAY, "BOOKS OF THE YEAR (2022)"**
A brilliant and beautifully written deep dive into the complicated relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, two of the most powerful women in Renaissance Europe who shaped each other as profoundly as they shaped the course of history.
Sixteenth-century Europe was a hostile world dominated by court politics and patriarchal structures, and yet against all odds, two women rose to power: Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici. One a young Virgin Queen who ruled her kingdom alone, and the other a more experienced and clandestine leader who used her children to shape the dynasties of Europe, much has been written about these shrewd and strategic sovereigns. But though their individual legacies have been heavily scrutinized, nothing has been said of their complicated relationship—thirty years of camaraderie, competition, and conflict that forever changed the face of Europe.
In Blood, Fire, and Gold, historian Estelle Paranque offers a new way of looking at two of history's most powerful women: through the eyes of the other. Drawing on their private correspondence and brand-new research, Paranque shows how Elizabeth and Catherine navigated through uncharted waters that both united and divided their kingdoms, maneuvering between opposing political, religious, and social objectives—all while maintaining unprecedented power over their respective domains. Though different in myriad ways, their fates and lives remained intertwined of the course of three decades, even as the European geo-politics repeatedly set them against one another. Whether engaged in bloody battles or peaceful accords, Elizabeth and Catherine admired the force and resilience of the other, while never forgetting that they were, first and foremost, each other's true rival.
This is a story of two remarkable visionaries: a story of blood, fire, and gold. It is also a tale of ceaseless calculation, of love and rivalry, of war and wisdom, and—above all else—of the courage and sacrifice it takes to secure and sustain power as a woman in a male-dominated world.
A Times' "Book of the Week"
**HISTORY TODAY, "BOOKS OF THE YEAR (2022)"**
**AMAZON, EDITORS' PICK FOR "BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF THE MONTH" (December 2022)**
**NEW YORK POST, "BEST NEW BOOKS TO READ" (December 2022)**
**TOWN AND COUNTRY MAGAZINE, "THE 30 MUST-READ BOOKS OF WINTER 2023"**
**BOOKSCROLLING, "THE BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF 2022"**
**TIMES, "BOOK OF THE WEEK"**
"Ms. Paranque... conveys the relationship between these two remarkable women with zest and insight and with sympathy... Just as historical novelists now engage in serious academic research, so some historians, Ms. Paranque among them, are ready to grant themselves the novelist's freedom--though not with facts, thank goodness. After all, outside universities, people read even carefully researched history for enjoyment. There is a lot to enjoy here."—Wall Street Journal
"Historian Estelle Paranque looks at the relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, two of the most powerful women in Renaissance Europe. She draws on their private letters to craft portraits of these famous women... A must-read for history lovers."—Town and Country Magazine
“Paranque deftly shows how their experiences shaped the women rulers’ relationships with their subjects, advisers and each other.”—Smithsonian Magazine
"A fascinating, detailed look at the personal and political relations between Elizabeth and Catherine as they sought to promote the interests of their respective countries and religions."—New York Journal of Books
"Paranque’s vivid character sketches and lucid explanations of the political and religious stakes involved result in a certifiable historical page-turner."—Publishers Weekly
“Drawing on new research and private correspondence, Paranque paints a vivid picture of two formidable women whose rivalry motivated their respective choices and accomplishments.”—Booklist
"[A] solid diplomatic history.”—Kirkus
"A story told with verve and passion... a marvelous story of a relationship between two powerful women in an age when females were believed to be unsuited to the exercise of government."
—The Times (UK)
"An alternative and engaging biography of the great Tudor Queen"
—The Telegraph (UK)
"[This book] deliver[s] fascinating insights... a pacy narrative of two stormy lives."—History Today (UK)