Young Queens offers a comprehensive and entertaining look at three Renaissance women and how they handled queenship, whether as a sovereign queen, a queen consort, or a queen mother.

5-STAR REVIEW: YOUNG QUEENS by Leah Redmond Chang

The Description

Publication Date: August 15, 2023

The boldly original, dramatic intertwined story of Catherine de’ Medici, Elisabeth de Valois, and Mary, Queen of Scots—three queens exercising power in a world dominated by men.

Orphaned from infancy, Catherine de’ Medici endured a tumultuous childhood. Married to the French king, she was widowed by forty, only to become the power behind the French throne during a period of intense civil strife. In 1546, Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Elisabeth de Valois, who would become Queen of Spain. Two years later, Catherine welcomed to her nursery the beguiling young Mary Queen of Scots, who would later become her daughter-in-law.

Together, Catherine, Elisabeth, and Mary lived through the sea changes that transformed sixteenth-century Europe, a time of expanding empires, religious discord, and populist revolt, as concepts of nationhood began to emerge and ideas of sovereignty inched closer to absolutism. They would learn that to rule as a queen was to wage a constant war against the deeply entrenched misogyny of their time.

Following the intertwined stories of the three women from girlhood through young adulthood, Leah Redmond Chang’s Young Queens paints a picture of a world in which a woman could wield power at the highest level yet remain at the mercy of the state, her body serving as the currency of empire and dynasty, sacrificed to the will of husband, family, kingdom.

The Review

Three women, united by their roles during the 16th century, all have an individual place in history. However, when looking at the intertwined lives of the Renaissance queens, their stories become even more impactful.

Author Leah Redmond Chang highlights the lives of three women—Catherine de’ Medici, Elisabeth de Valois, and Mary Stuart—in Young Queens. This fascinating story is rich with historical detail, accompanied by solid reference notes.

Their story is told over the course of two decades as the women oversee different kingdoms and navigate unique challenges. However, the author demonstrates how looking at historical documents helps to showcase each woman as an individual rather than a title.

One of the most profound observations was that for a queen, “the source of both her strength and greatest weakness was rooted in her womb.” These women had to learn how to function within the framework designed for noble girls of their rank. In the process, they were able to hone their skills in order to defy cultural expectations.

Young Queens offers a comprehensive and entertaining look at three Renaissance women and how they handled queenship, whether as a sovereign queen, a queen consort, or a queen mother.Buy Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo
Add to Goodreads

About The AuthorLeah Redmond Chang is a former associate professor of French literature and culture at the George Washington University. Her writing draws on her extensive experience as a researcher in the archives and in rare book libraries. Previous books include Into Print: The Invention of Female Authorship in Early Modern France, which focused on women and book culture in the sixteenth century, and (with Katherine KongPortraits of the Queen Mother, about the many public faces of Catherine de Medici. With her husband and three children, she lives in Washington, DC, and London, UK.



Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
Young Queens offers a comprehensive and entertaining look at three Renaissance women and how they handled queenship, whether as a sovereign queen, a queen consort, or a queen mother.5-STAR REVIEW: YOUNG QUEENS by Leah Redmond Chang