Margaret, Queen of Navarre was actually a very interesting person in her own way. She lived during the reformation in France (her brother at one point being King of France). While devoutly protestant, she converser with people from different groups and were considered a protector of all. She married twice, the second time to the King of Navarre, who was almost 20 years younger than her. She was very upset due to his cheating, and tried her best to make him stop. In a lot of ways she reminded me of a French Hera (from Greek/Roman mythology). A brilliant, warm woman, protector of all, unless you cross her in which case she will smite you down. Given her popularity and clout it is impossible to know how she changed the course of history (and I’m not thinking about the fact that she is the grandmother of Henry IV).
This, madam, is what makes me speak without fear
The Heptameron are inspired by the Decameron by Boccaccio. A hand full of noble people are stuck in a small town and tell each other stories to pass the time. The stories are apparently based on real events, and in my edition, there is a detail description of who is who. I didn’t really bother with that. If you think stuff like that is fun, good for you. It’s just not my cup of tea.
I do struggle with a lot of the books from this era due to the way it portrays women, or rather abuses women. I don’t mind women characters that are mean, but I don’t care for the whole rape them until they fall in love with you stick. Then again this is French Hera, you don’t find this here.
You do find stories that talk about women who are mean and cruel, but you also find stories about love, and lust and greed and betrayal and all that good stuff. She also manages to create some-what characters in the people in the framing device. Not deep stuff, but clearly characters.
If you enjoy The Decameron I will highly recommend this. Not all stories are gems (as is always the case with collections like these), but it is not a waste of time.