Publication Date: June 16, 2014
The life of Catherine de Valois, daughter of King Charles IV of France and wife of King Henry V of England.
The author, Laurel A. Rockefeller, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Miniaturizing history and making it interesting to children is an unenviable task. Rockefeller chooses events from the life of Catherine de Valois to highlight that show the untenable position women held. The narrative is underscored in one line, Catherine knows her duty. She is a political pawn to be passed from father to husband. Rockefeller tells us the tale of a woman who knows what must be done but maintains a spirit and spark that was fun to read. This reader has always been interested in history and the strong women to come before, but what of the target demographic?
The stated demographic is grades 2 – 12. Alex is a 12-year-old who will enter Grade 7 in the upcoming school year. Catherine de Valois (The Legendary Women of World History Book 2) by Laurel A. Rockefeller was her first exposure to this historical figure. Alex enjoyed that; the narrative was a story told to a young bride by the sons of the subject. Rockefeller’s style is very smooth and the anecdotes chosen fit together perfectly. The story led to discussion about historical cultural differences. Would a 12-year-old marry? Isn’t it sad that a mother wouldn’t see her son for years? Wasn’t it terribly cruel for a monarch to take property from people? Alex found the five-year-old Catherine unrealistically mature in speech, but understood that times were different and each day was uncertain, especially when surrounded by war and an insane and powerful parent. Alex was happy for Catherine that in the end, it seems she was able to do what she wanted even if it meant being separated from her son. Catherine de Valois (The Legendary Women of World History Book 2) was short enough to hold the attention of my 12-year-old while giving her the jumping-off information to become more engaged in the era in her reading.
The end result of the novel was that it opened a dialogue about history for my daughter and me. Alex spent some time online after we finished researching Catherine de Valois to learn more about her life.
Rockefeller provides a list for further reading at the end of the book as a guide for those, like Alex, interested in learning more. Catherine de Valois (The Legendary Women of World History Book 2) is an interesting, engaging, well-researched tale of the life of a strong woman in history and a must read for young girls and anyone looking for a quick historical read.
Laurel A. Rockefeller launched her “Legendary Women of World History” series in March 2014