france


Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History

I’m so sorry about taking a month off from my blog but I hope you’ll all forgive me when I reveal that the reason for my absence was a brand new book about Marie Antoinette, based on decades of pretty obsessive research (both primary and secondary) and thoughts and questions from all of you. A couple of years ago I threatened my poor, unfortunate blog readers with a light hearted ‘pulp’ biography of Marie Antoinette, which at the time I intended to call ‘Teen Queen to Madame Guillotine’. However, other projects intervened and my plan was temporarily shelved as I […]


La Mode à la Cour de Marie Antoinette

How beautiful is this book? I was pleased as punch when I got La mode à la Cour de Marie-Antoinette from my brother in law as a Christmas present, and also rather astounded by how big it is as it is HUGE. Which can be a bit annoying when it comes to finding it a space on my many bookcases, but any inconvenience is well worth it because the size means that the illustrations, many of which take up an entire page or even a fabulous double page spread, can be viewed in unprecedented detail due to their larger than […]


Marie de Guise announcement

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. I am very very pleased and happy and thrilled and EXCITED to announce that I have been commissioned by Pen and Sword Books to write a full length biography of Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots alongside the series of novels that I am already writing about her life. Whereas plenty of attention has been paid to the disasters and mistakes of her daughter, I really feel like it is time for a fresh assessment of the abilities and successes of Marie, who was […]


Joséphine crowned, 2nd December 1804

Sunday, the second of December 1804 was the coldest day of the year, with snow overnight and freezing rain the next morning, which turned the streets of Paris to slush. Spirits in the French capital were still high though for it was the much anticipated day of Napoléon’s coronation at the hands of Pope Pius VII himself, who had been inveigled by Bonaparte to take part. Not even the Bourbon kings of France had been crowned by the Pope so this was quite a coup for Napoléon, who was keen to increase his prestige among the other crowned heads of […]


Marie de Guise

Marie de Guise, Corneille de Lyon, c1537. Photo: National Galleries of Scotland. It’s probably no secret that my next novel, The Thistle Queen will be about Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. I actually set out to write about Mary but then found myself pushing the start of the book further and further back so that there was more from her fascinating mother’s point of view, until finally I realised that actually I should be writing about Marie instead and shelving the Mary project until a later date. I’m really enjoying writing about Marie, who is, […]


Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon

‘This is the incredible rise and unbelievable fall of a woman whose energy and ambition is often overshadowed by Napoleon’s military might. In this triumphant biography, Kate Williams tells Josephine’s searing story, of sexual obsession, politics and surviving as a woman in a man’s world. Abandoned in Paris by her aristocratic husband, Josephine’s future did not look promising. But while her friends and contemporaries were sent to the guillotine during the Terror that followed the Revolution, she survived prison and emerged as the doyenne of a wildly debauched party scene, surprising everybody when she encouraged the advances of a short, […]