This reading group guide for The Italian Woman includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
When Catherine de’ Medici was forced to marry Henry of Orléans, her heart was not the only one that was broken. Her cousin Jeanne of Navarre had once dreamed of marrying this same prince, but she, too, was compelled to submit to a politically advantageous union sought by King Francis. Envy and mistrust color Catherine and Jeanne’s relationship, pitting them against each other as their lives cross in affairs of state, love, and faith.
Years later Jeanne finds herself happily married to the dashing but politically inept Antoine de Bourbon, while the widowed Catherine continues to be loved by few and feared by many, including her own children. But Catherine, now the powerful mother of princes, who will stop at nothing to see her beloved son, Henry, rule France. As religious civil war ravages the country and Jeanne fights for the Huguenot cause, Catherine advances along her own unholy road, making enemies at every turn. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. “‘Unless there were great honor in marriage I s