Christine de Pizan was a poet and court writer in France for King Charles VI and other nobles. She was married at 15 years old and widowed at 25 with three kids to support.
Christine never re-married, instead she turned to writing to support her family. She began writing love ballads and poems before expanding into novels and biographies. Her best known work is The Book of the City of Ladies written around 1405 when she worked for John the Fearless.
Recently historian and author Marcia Maxwell published a new novel I, Christine exploring the life of Christine de Pizan’s after her husband died. Christine struggles with getting her husbands estate paid out while trying to keep her household in order.
In I, Christine Maxwell weaves a rich story of Christine’s attempt to find her way as a young women thrust into a male dominated world. Through her poetry and writing she is able to navigate the royal court and find a place for her and her children.
I, Christine is filled with vivid imagery, rich poetry and compelling characters. I, Christine is based on actual events and Maxwell flawlessly weaves the story together to provide a fascinating story. With thorough research and wonderful writing Maxwell brings the story and 14th century Paris to life.
Christine de Pizan is one of the earliest female writers in the Middle Ages. Maxwell is able to tell her story in an engaging manner that leaves no doubt why Christine was successful.
I, Christine is a great book for any fan of Christine de Pizan or medieval fiction in general. Grab a copy now for a your winter reading session.
I, Christine Synopsis
In the year of grace 1396, Christine de Pizan is a young widow living in a tower overlooking the Seine. All is not well, lacking any means of support, hers is a daily struggle to support her aged mother and two small children. Meanwhile, the cursed English threaten the kingdom even as rumors swirl about the state of the French king’s sanity. Seeking to ease her loneliness and sorrow, Christine begins to write poetry in a delicate dance, blending form and emotion.
Supported by renowned court poet Eustache Deschamps and University chancellor Father John Gerson, Christine begins reading her verses at court, where she immediately attracts the interest of powerful nobles, particularly the king’s brother and eventually the queen herself, who become valued patrons. Although buoyed by her success, as the only woman poet at court she also attracts the jealous attention of those she has displaced.
Over time, having gained confidence and financial stability, Christine takes up her pen in defense of women and as an advocate for peace even as increasingly malevolent forces threaten her and the kingdom’s very survival—but will it be enough? Can one woman, armed only with a pen and her wits, step into the breach and turn the tide?
Brimming with meticulously researched detail that brings the fourteenth century to dazzling life, I, Christine tells the incredible true story of the first woman in France to earn her living as an author.
Medieval Archives gives I, Christine 3.5 out of 5 stars
Disclaimer: Medieval Archives received a complimentary copy of I, Christine for review purposes
You can purchase a copy of I, Christine on Amazon.com.
About the Author
discovered a passion for history while working on her Ph.D. dissertation. An edition of a 14th century manuscript in Anglo-Norman French, it became the genesis of her first novel, The Rogue Queen.
Casting around for a new project, she remembered reading poetry by medieval author Christine de Pizan in grad school. Reading and research ensued, with I, Christine appearing five years later. Now living in the Pacific Northwest, Marcia is currently researching her next novel.