Francis I of France has long been overshadowed in history. He lived through the times of Henry VIII and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Leonie Frieda breathes life back into one of the major players in European policies and military movements, in such a way that you feel as though you are walking through the halls of the french palaces.

Francis was not born with the promise of a great future, but through his mother and her endless working and dealing, he claimed the French throne. As he sought to bring France into the newer Renaissance era, he also managed to make himself one of the most enigmatic figures of the time. While he lacked Henry VIII’s flair of marrying and throwing off of wives, Francis did his maneuvering through military show and treaties. Eventually, much of this backfired on the monarch, who was seen as unable to carry through with the majority of promises. Most monarchs at the time would have dealt with the treaties the same way, Francis almost took his to extremes. He wanted to prove himself time and time again, and that lack of faith in himself could have lead to the loss of throne more than once.

This book was a fascinating read. I was hooked from the beginning. Not only does the author lay out the life and death of Francis, but she also ushers in the next era, laying the groundwork for some of the more disastrous events that will befall France. Francis may have been the founder of the modern era in France, but it was his daughter in law that brought that dream to full fruition.

5/5 stars

Publishing Date: 10 April 2018


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