I absolutely loved The Last Queen when I read it and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed with this either!Catherine de Medici is leaving Italy to marry Henry, second son of French King François I. But Henri is on love with his older mistress Diane de Poitiers and doesn’t seem to care about Catherine at all. She feels lonely but she does befriend the king. Things gets better after years of waiting she delivers a boy. But it’s only after Henri’s death she becomes to her power.She fights hard to secure the crown for her son(s) and keeping the dynasty alive. We see her growing from naive girl to powerful woman with capacity for compassion and understanding. And who also knows how to make people fear. I loved how Gortner describes St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and how Catherine is involved with it. And how the things got to that point. I love how Gortner is able to humanize Catherine and to show there were reasons to what she did. She made mistakes but she tried to do her best. And it wasn’t easy juggling between Catholics and the Huguenots.The only quibble I had was that I’d liked to have something on the author’s note about Catherine and Coligny. But that was the only thing.I just loved this book and can’t wait to read more from him!