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Jeanne Kalogridis

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Joined: August 2008
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Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA

Jeanne Kalogridis

Post by Margaret » Tue July 6th, 2010, 3:54 am

There are reviews of several of this author's novels onsite, so I thought it would be worthwhile to have a special thread for her. I've read two of her novels now, The Devil's Queen about Catherine de Medici (see review at HistoricalNovels.info), and her just-released The Scarlet Contessa about Caterina Sforza (see review at HNI).

From these two novels, I would say she has a pretty distinctive style, almost a cross between the horror and romance genres. Both of these novels lay heavy stress on the occult in a way that I find a little bit old-fashioned - of late, novels incorporating elements of clairvoyance and conjuring tend to treat it in a New-Age way that stresses positive spiritual aspects of the occult, but Kalogridis goes for a more sinister, creepy quality. In Scarlet Contessa, she does introduce the idea of a more positive approach to the occult, but for me, this never overcame the frisson of dread that always seems to accompany her heroine's occult explorations.

I haven't read her earlier novels, but based on these two, I would say Kalogridis is not the author to read for those who want their historical novels firmly grounded in the historical record. She clearly does a lot of solid historical research, but then uses it as a springboard for her own imaginative riffs on the period and the people.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Post by annis » Tue July 6th, 2010, 6:57 am

Catherine Sforza was the subject of an interesting post recently on the Racuous Royals blog recently, which discusses among other things whether that mocking skirt-lifting incident did in fact happen as reported by Machiavelli.
http://blog.raucousroyals.com/2010/05/r ... forza.html

I read the Borgia Bride quite some time ago, and while my memory'a bit hazy I do remember that the main character, Sancha of Aragon, does visit a strega (witch) at one stage, and has a rather ominous tarot card reading, so clearly Kalogridis likes to play with the occult aspect in her novels.

Sancha of Aragon (1478-1506), was a daughter of King Alfonso II of Naples. In 1494, she was married to Jofre (or Gioffre) Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI. Her brother Alfonso of Aragon married Lucrezia Borgia.

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Post by Misfit » Tue July 6th, 2010, 11:12 am

I was fairly underwhelmed with The Devil's Queen, and I especially disliked a couple of plot twists she took in the end. If you're going to make that stuff up, please put it in the notes and tell the readers you did or they will go on thinking it really happened :mad: :mad:

I was looking at one of her older books (the name escapes me) and I recognized a reviewer (not Harriet) who reviews new HF pretty regularly and who can give a novel 3.5 and call it the most tedious book she's read this year - and she gave it two. I'll pass.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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