La Duchesse: The Life of Marie de Vignerot--Cardinal Richelieu's Forgotten Heiress Who Shaped the Fate of France


Product Details

$28.95  $26.92
Pegasus Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.9 inches | 1.5 pounds
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About the Author

Bronwen McShea earned her B.A. and M.T.S. at Harvard University and her Ph.D. in history at Yale University. She is the author of Apostles of Empire: The Jesuits and New France and a wide range of other publications. She has held research fellowships at Princeton University and the Institute of European History in Germany and has taught history at Columbia University, the University of Nebraska Omaha, and the Augustine Institute. She lives in New York City.


"One of history's most fascinating women has, at last, been brought thrillingly back to life in this expertly researched narrative of power, resilience, glamour and darkness."--Leanda de Lisle, author of Henrietta Maria
"If the past is a foreign country, nothing will seem more foreign than the world of the French monarchy. And nothing will help us negotiate its terrain more delightfully than La Duchesse. Through the formidable Cardinal Richelieu, Marie de Vignerot had the key to every locked door in the cabinet of the Ancien Régime and she shaped foreign policy, culture and business to an extent that even kings and popes seem meagre in stature. We have to thank Bronwen McShea for re-introducing us to her today."

--Allen C. Guelzo, Princeton University, author of Robert E. Lee: A Life and Gettysburg
"A delightful book that tells a clear and compelling story of a complicated era with detail and keen insight. La Duchesse is vital to our understanding of French Catholicism in the century after the Reformation and shows how Marie de Vignerot, as Duchesse d'Aiguillon and a Peer of France, had a degree of authority unmatched by most other women at court."--Susan Dinan, Professor of History, Adelphi University Honors College
"The life and achievements of magnanimous French duchess and governor Marie-Madeleine de Vignerot du Pont de Courlay are finally explored in intimate detail after centuries of being overlooked. This biography transports readers to seventeenth-century France, absolutely immersing them in the enmeshment of royal politics, religion, and gender roles as Marie masters and changes each one of them forever, cementing her place in French history. Perfect for readers of French, women's, and religious history as well as biography."

"This book is a meticulously researched work that reads like a novel. It is exceptionally well-written with rich details of 17th-century France. This is a fine work that sheds light on the nearly forgotten story of a consequential figure in French history."--Library Journal, starred review
"Filled with dramatic, often violent, seventeenth-century court and clergy intrigues, Bronwen McShea's La Duchesse is meticulous. Adds much to church history and restores its intriguing and formidable subject to seventeenth-century France's center stage."--Foreword Reviews
"Well-researched and accessible, this is an enlightening look at a remarkable woman and a pivotal period in French history."--Publishers Weekly
"In this jewel of a book, Bronwen McShea brings a remarkable woman and her world to life so vividly that one can easily feel transported to seventeenth century France. Painstakingly researched, beautifully written, perfectly paced, this is biography at its very best."

--Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana, National Book Award 2003
"The very best historical biographies fire the imagination and read like great novels. What Bronwen McShea achieves so memorably with the life of Marie Madeleine de Vignerot in La Duchesse simply proves the point."

--The Catholic Thing
"Readers will meet hundreds of characters through the pages, but at the center is a caring and complex woman whose compelling story is now being brought to life. McShea is Marie de Vignerot's champion. She stands by her side allowing her spirit to shine in this brilliant and well-written biography."

--The Epoch Times