So my first book of 2016 was a cracker.
I first read Jean Plaidy's books as a teenager and they have given me a lifelong love of European history.
Her books about Catherine de Medici were written in the 1950s, and they are very firmly in the 'crazy lady with a penchant for poison' category. More recent novelists and historians have treated Catherine a little more kindly.
But no matter whose version you believe, there is no doubt Catherine was one hell of a woman. And Madame Serpent is a great interpretation of her childhood in Italy, and her life as Queen of France.