Posts Tagged ‘Charles VIII’

Kirkus review blurb


Passion and Politics in Late Medieval France: The Story of Anne of Brittany’s Marriage to Charles VIII

Book One of the Anne of Brittany Series

by Rozsa Gaston

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2018
Publisher: Renaissance Editions
357 pps.
eBook, paperback, audiobook by Tantor Media coming spring 2018

A historically sharp and dramatically stirring love story. — Kirkus Reviews

A historical dramatization of the 15th-century marriage between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII of France.

Upon the death of Anne’s father, Duke Francis II, she becomes the ruler of Brittany at the tender age of 11. Determined not to have her authority usurped by meddling advisers or foreign powers, she searches for a suitable husband whose allegiance will bring peace and security to Brittany. She’s offered protection—as well as condolences—by King Charles VIII of France, but she rejects his offer as an imperialist scheme to gain dominion over Brittany’s lands. In response to what he perceives as defiance, he attempts to impose French rule by force. Meanwhile, Charles has problems of his own. When his own detestable father died, he was too young to ascend to the throne, and so he labors under the officious rule of his sister, Anne de Beaujeu, the Duchess of Bourbon, who serves as regent until he reaches the age of majority. Charles eventually offers Anne a path to peace. If she marries him, he’ll immediately end his siege of Brittany. She’s filled with resentment, though, over his harsh treatment of Brittany and suspicious of any brokered compromise that surrenders her authority or ensures the future of Brittany will be in submission to a foreign ruler. Also, there’s the thorny problem of her marriage to Maximilian, the Archduke of Austria, who will one day become the Holy Roman Emperor, and an arrangement for Charles to marry his daughter, Marguerite. Gaston’s (Sense of Touch: Love and Duty at Anne of Brittany’s Court, 2016, etc.) research is admirably thorough—she artfully brings to life 15th-century Europe. Also, while the court politics of the day were knottily complex, she disentangles it all with laudable clarity. Gaston’s writing is elegant and historically authentic but also accessible. She doesn’t burden the reader with an endless train of linguistic anachronisms in order to achieve historical accuracy. Further, the romance between Anne and Charles is touchingly presented, one that traveled from suspicion and resentment through sober pragmatism to genuine love.

A historically sharp and dramatically stirring love story.

Anne and Charles-EBOOK with both blurbs


What’s Anne and Charles about?

Charles VIII of France is king, but he doesn’t feel like one. When he marries Anne of Brittany in a political alliance, he acquires a wife who already feels like a queen and who guides her husband to thinking like the king he already is. The brimming self-confidence of Brittany’s ruler inspires his own, and fans the flames of their attraction into a lasting love. But can they achieve their one most important goal together?


More Praise for Anne and Charles

“The highlights of the reign of King Charles VIII of France are covered in detail as well as his loving marriage to Anne, Duchess of Brittany. A delightful read with sparkling dialogue, Gaston puts a human face on these captivating historical personalities from the French Renaissance.”—Susan Abernethy, The Freelance History Writer

“A true story that reads like a fairytale, Anne and Charles is an evocative portrayal of Anne of Brittany, a feminist avant la lettre, who uses her intelligence and charm to protect the people of Brittany as their prudent ruler. This irresistible read will make you feel like you’re one of Anne of Brittany’s privileged ladies-in-waiting. A marvelous story about a marriage that would change the course of European history.”—Hilde van den Bergh, Hemmahoshilde Blog

“Francophiles, feminists and fans of history and romance alike will delight in Anne and Charles. Gaston returns readers to a world poised to shed one skin, the confines of medieval duchies and kingdoms, and embrace another, one in which France would lead the rest of Western Europe through the Renaissance. This fictionalized account of how Anne of Brittany finds her way and her love amidst this world offers modern readers unexpected lessons on female power and the possibilities that await those who follow their heart.”—Dominique Padurano, Ph.D., Professor of History, City University of New York, Crimson Coaching LLC

“Ms. Gaston masterfully conveys the passion, heartbreak, and determination of this royal couple.”—InD’tale Magazine

  “An engrossing depiction of the meeting and marriage between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII of France. As in her previous work, Sense of Touch, Gaston paints a colorful and interesting picture of court life in 15th century France. This book excels in humanizing one of the most misunderstood of French kings—his love and admiration for his strong wife and his self-deprecating view of his limitations and weaknesses. This fictionalized account of their complementary relationship is well worth the read.”—RT Review Source


For foreign and film rights inquiries: please contact Linda Migalti at the Susan Schulman Agency: linda@schulmanagency.com

Audio rights: Audio rights for the Anne of Brittany series have been sold to Tantor Media. Look for Anne and Charles audio edition in early 2018.

Start 2018 right with a dose of history spiced with romance.

Find Anne and Charles here.


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Image of Anne of Brittany courtesy of Nurycat 2006

Anne of Brittany? 515 years ago today she married Charles VIII of France at Château de Langeais.The only woman in history twice crowned queen of France.

Duchess of Brittany at age 11, she became queen of France at age 15.
A woman of fiery temperament and champagne tastes, she suffered enormous personal loss. Her political marriage to the king of France to end war between Brittany and France became a loving one, ending in his death at age 27. Within eight months she married his successor, Louis XII, and was again crowned queen of France.
Discover her in medieval historical romance Sense of Touch.
“Sense of Touch adroitly blends fact with fiction. Well written this work will resonate with lovers of history and romance alike.”—Jenerated Reviews
“A striking story.”—Historical Novel Society
“A mesmerizing story eloquently told with a brilliant dialogue.”—Duncan Whitehead, bestselling author of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club










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Anne of Brittany by Jean Bourdichon, courtesy gallica.BnF.fr

Anne of Brittany by Jean Bourdichon, courtesy gallica.BnF.fr

Sense of Touch is coming soon. My seventh and latest novel is based on the life of Anne of Brittany, twice Queen of France. Her dates? 1477-1514.

Sense of Touch has been chosen by Kindle Scout for a 30-day pilot program to see if readers get interested in this story. If the book receives enough nominations by Oct. 19, 2015, it will be chosen for publication by Kindle Press. That’s a very big deal. Why? Worldwide distribution.

Here’s the link to nominate Sense of Touch for publication. It’s free, and if Sense of Touch gets picked up for publication, you will receive a complimentary advance copy. I will include your name on my acknowledgments page if you let me know you voted. Thank you.

Why am I excited about Anne of Brittany? This remarkable woman, Duchess of Brittany in her own right, and twice Queen of France due to marrying well, lived exactly at the convergence of the Middle Ages with the Renaissance. What does that mean?

Quick answer: Goodbye, Middle Ages. Hello, Renaissance.

To put it in a nutshell, it means goodbye to collective identity and hello to self-identity. My writing platform is all about self-identity, as in how do women achieve their own? Then, how do they hone it through the years as professional and family obligations conspire to obliterate their special je ne sais quoi?

Anne of Brittany did a great job of maintaining her own sense of self. Her motto? A ma vie, to my life. It takes a confident woman to have a motto like that.

Here’s the gist of Sense of Touch.


Tapestry design based on Le Toucher from The Lady and the Unicorn series. Courtesy METRAX-CRAYE, Belgium

NICOLE SAINT SYLVAIN serves at the court of Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, in 1497, at age fifteen. Working with horse trainer Philippe de Bois to heal the Queen’s stallion, she shows an aptitude for diagnosing horses’ ailments through her sense of touch. Soon she has fallen in love, but not with the man her father has chosen for her. Duty pulls Nicole and Philippe in different directions and Nicole becomes a wife, mother, then widow while immersing herself in the healing arts. When Anne of Brittany begs her to save her infant daughter, Nicole works alongside a physician from the South whose reputation for healing began with his work with horses. Will Nicole succeed in saving the Queen’s daughter? And if she does, will the Queen reward her with the greatest desire of her heart—marriage to the only man she has ever loved?


512px-BNF_-_Latin_9474_-_Jean_Bourdichon_-_Grandes_Heures_d'Anne_de_BretagneANNE OF BRITTANY inherited the Duchy of Brittany at age eleven upon her father’s death in 1488. Three years later she married Charles VIII and became Queen consort of France. Instrumental in introducing new techniques of architecture and craftsmanship from Milan to France, Anne of Brittany ushered in the Italian Renaissance to France. By age twenty-one she had buried her husband and all four of her children. Within nine months she became wife of the new king, Louis XII. Pregnant fourteen times, seven times by either king, she raised two children to adulthood. Both were daughters.

She is known as the first female ruler of France to bring together young women of noble birth at court, where she educated and trained them, then arranged appropriate marriage matches. A ruler of influence, refinement, and resources, she rose above personal loss with dignity and grace while espousing the cause of women’s advancement. Her story is for women everywhere.

I would be delighted if you would click here to nominate Sense of Touch for publication. You’ll find an excerpt from Sense of Touch too. Enjoy and thank you.

Stay playful,

Rozsa Gaston

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