Author: Rozsa Gaston
Publisher: Renaissance Editions
Type of book: 1497-1500, France, forbidden love, second chances, admiration, class, rank, daily life, herbs, horses, healing, not giving up, growing up, nation above self, Anne of Brittany
Year it was published: 2016
The court of Anne of Brittany, wife to Charles VIII, then Louis XII, brought the glories of the Renaissance to France. To many, however, this achievement was overshadowed by her inability to give the kingdom an heir.
Fifteen-year-old Nicole St. Sylvain, new to the queen’s court, possesses a healing sense of touch—a talent she demonstrates when caring for one of the queen’s stallions. Nicole’s ability does not go unnoticed by Anne. Nor does Nicole herself escape the admiring gaze of nineteen-year-old horse trainer Philippe de Bois—the man Nicole loves but cannot have. An arranged marriage makes any hope of happiness impossible.
When Anne's only living child falls ill, she pleads with Nicole to save the princess, promising anything in return. Should Nicole succeed, will the queen reward her with her heart's desire? And should she fail, what will the future hold?
There are quite a few memorable characters, namely Anne of Brittany that has been touched by tragedy throughout her young life and has done her best to do what she can for others. I often felt sad that one of the things she is well remembered for is that almost all her progeny has died and not for anything else. Nicole is one of the ladies in waiting for Anne of Brittany, a noblewoman on her mother's side and merchant on her father's side and often admires the queen and does her best to emulate her. She leads a parallel life of sorts to that of Anne of Brittany's and also grows up and is not afraid to after what her heart desires. Philippe is a talented young man who becomes smitten with Nicole and shares similar interests to her. He comes from a poor class however.
Don't give up on your dreams
The story is told in third person narrative from Nicole's point of view. I do think that characterization of the queen could have been done better and I would have liked there to be more details about the characters' lives during that time. I am also curious what, if any, ancenstry did Anne of Brittany have when it came to the Sun King Louis XIV. But it is a wonderful story of growing up and facing fears as well as conquering them and not giving up on your dreams.
(From the book)
Rozsa Gaston writes playful books on serious matters, incoluding the struggles women face to get waht they want out of life. In addition to Sense of Touch she is the authro fo Paris, Adieu, Black is nto a color, Runing from love, Dog Sitters, and lyric.
Gaston studied European intellectual history at Yale and received her masters in international affairs from Columbia.
Gaston has worked as a singer and pianist all over the world. After leaving the entertainment industry she worked at Institutional Investor, then as a hedge funds marketer. She lives in Bronxville, New York, with her famly and is currently working on Anne of Brittany: Girl Who ruled a country, the sequel to Sense of Touch.
Gaston can be found onloine on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rozsagastonauthor, or at her website, http://www.rozsagaston.com/. Her motto? Stay playful.
Although I didn't review it yet, I previously read a wonderful novel titled The Errant Hours by Kate Innes where I found myself transported into the daily life of the late 13th century. When I glanced and looked through Sense of Touch, I thought it might be similar to The Errant Hours. It was, yet it wasn't. Sense of Touch, like Errant Hours, feels incredibly human and the reader is focused more on molecular level on the lives of Anne of Brittany's ladies-in-waiting. But unlike The Errant Hours, there is something poetic and lyrical about the story, especially about the life of the unknown queen of Brittany and France. I found myself admiring her and its obvious that the author had done research on her and included a lot of intimate things about her life.
This is for amazon campaign for pump up your book
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)