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Kirkus review blurb

ANNE AND CHARLES

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

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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?

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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

https://www.rtbookreviews.com/blog/139065/meet-new-rt-review-source-authors-january-2018

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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Carcassonne 2-5-15, p. 1Carcassonne by Rozsa Gaston for Westchester Guardian, 2-5-15

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France's Gorgeous Gorges du Verdon Jan. 15, 2015

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Be extraordinary today. You owe it to yourself.

Rozsa knee hang free arms swing 2-16-13_crop

Attending trapeze school at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic last week gave me a chance to be extraordinary. Give yourself a chance to be extraordinary too. Join me here on the adventure of the trapeze then move in your own direction and find your own moment to be extraordinary.

Let’s walk through the steps for our beginning trapeze experience. First, we climb the ladder.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Up on the platform, we experience our first terrifying moment, especially as the platform sways in the wind. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Immediately two cables are hooked onto either side of our tightly cinched safety belt. We have a brief second of relief followed by another moment of sheer terror when the instructors tell us to let go of the cable with our right arm, lean forward out into space and grab the trapeze.  KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis horrifying moment is then magnified one hundredfold by the next command. “Let go of the cable and grab the trapeze with your remaining arm.” Once you’ve accomplished this, you are committed. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAReady?

I wasn’t either. The instructors tell you to hop off the platform the moment they say “Hep!” What nerve! Of course I did no such thing, so you can imagine my shock when they then pushed me off the platform. HELP!!!!KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Here I look lame as I basically hang on for my life. RG swings 2-16-13_cropThe next task is the most difficult of the entire exercise. At the EXACT moment the instructors yell “tuck!” you tuck your knees up to your chest and try to get your toe under the trapeze bar. RG trapeze 2-16-13_cropOnce you’ve accomplished the toehold, you’re golden. After two rounds of severe humiliation, I managed the toehold on my third attempt. What a great feeling!Rozsa trapeze2-15-13 Once the knees are hooked on, you think you have pretty much accomplished everything you need to do for the rest of your life. But just when you are feeling fabulous about yourself, the instructors yell “Hands off bar and swing!” What cheek. As if I hadn’t already done enough. After the terrifying second when you let go of the trapeze with both arms and realize you are not dead, this is your moment to look even more fabulous than the less glamorous knee hook moment. Here I am pointing my fingers in order to make my accomplishment look even more technically sophisticated.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This is truly the moment to take wing like a swan, so let’s review that very first image again as I soar backward and arch my back. Do you see how masterfully I’ve managed to point both index fingers? Sheer genius, no?Rozsa knee hang free arms swing 2-16-13_crop

The next incredible accomplishment is the back flip dismount. Yes. Really. The instructors yell at you to kick your legs forward, backward, then forward with force and let go of the trapeze. Again, what cheek. RG trapeze knee tuck 2-16-13_cropA formidable back flip ensues, thanks to the instructors pulling on your cables, and voila! you end up on the safety net, hopefully in a respectable standing position.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA After you again realize you survived and are now on your feet, you dismount the safety net with a neat forward flip that looks fairly impressive.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

On solid ground again, your body literally shakes with pride of accomplishment. Or happiness to still be alive. Not only are you alive, but you are blissfully alive.

Rozsa and Ava Gaston with Dominican beauty

Rozsa and Ava Gaston with Dominican beauty

What wine would I sip while contemplating the art of the trapeze?

I would skip wine altogether and drink an ice cold Presidente. That’s the blonde Pilsner-type beer of choice in the Dominican Republic. The second I finished my final trapeze round each day coincided with the start of cocktail hour (trapeze school for adults at Club Med Punta Cana runs from 4-6 pm daily).  At 5 p.m. after my final extraordinary trapeze feat for the day, I would head straight to the bar for a cold one.

With my Presidente in hand, I would then return to the trapeze area to cheer on those skilled enough to try the catch, which takes place from 5-6 p.m. only. That’s the next step up of the trapeze experience, and as you guessed, it means another trapezist catches you by the forearms the second you swing off your own trapeze.

The art of the trapeze catch is all about timing, friends. When I try it, I will share my story with you. Meanwhile, let’s sit back and sip our cold ones. Enjoy!

Playfully yours,

Rozsa

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