I, Christine: A Novel
By Marcia Maxwell
In the year of grace 1396, Christine de Pizan is a young widow living in a tower overlooking the Seine. All is not well, however: 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 fifteenth century to dazzling life, I, Christine tells the incredible true story of the first woman in France to earn her living as an author.
Who is this book for?
Fans of Christine de Pizan will certainly enjoy having some historical fiction about her fascinating life. Other readers will like that the novel is carefully researched with many other important historical figures showing up in its pages.
Marcia Maxwell is an American author. She did a Ph.D. dissertation on a 14th-century manuscript in Anglo-Norman French, which became the genesis of her first novel, The Rogue Queen. You can learn more about Marcia on her Facebook page.