His Red Eminence, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu by Laurel A. Rockefeller

We love Laurel’s books! Every time she submits one, we get excited because we know we will get spot-on research and great writing. We have also reviewed Hypatia of Alexandria, Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni, and Cleopatra VII: Egypt’s Last Pharaoh.

Priest. Lover. Statesman.

Cardinal Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu is one of the most famous — or infamous politicians of all time. Made a villain in the popular Dumas novel, “The Three Musketeers,” the real man was a dedicated public servant loyal to king and country. A man of logic and reason, he transformed how we think about nations and nationality. He secularized wars between countries, patronized the arts for the sake of the public good, founded the first newspaper in France, and created France as the modern country we know today.

Filled with period music, dance, and plenty of romance, “His Red Eminence” transports you back to the court of King Louis XIII in all its vibrant and living color.

Includes eight period songs, plus prayers, a detailed timeline, and extensive bibliography so you can keep learning.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 5-Stars

Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu was a young man who succumbed to fragile health his whole life. He was not a very ambitious young man and would have been quite content finishing his religious studies to live a quiet and comfortable life in the shadow of his brothers. But with the help of a “Huguenot” by the name of Anne Rochefeuille, who he secretly married, became the most important man in the Catholic faith.

He met Anne in a small religious house known for taking in pilgrims for a small fee. She was there as a convert to the Catholic faith even though she did not go along with their ideals. He was swayed by her outspokenness and sharp wit. He fell in love with instantly as she did with him. When he found out that she had been beaten at the Convent for her beliefs, he vowed to take her with him.

He took her back to his brother’s house where he scolded for his obvious lusting after the beautiful Anne. Armand told Henri that he would marry her if he hadn’t been forced to go into the priesthood because of the family needs.

Anne was gifted with the ability to sense time, both past and future. Her ability to sense emotions and intentions tells her the present. They married secretly in a ceremony of their own. Shortly after in a lavish ceremony, Armand took his vows of celibacy and service, committing himself to God’s work.

Time passed and in April of 1607, Father Armand was invested as bishop, his faithful Anne at his side. When he moved into the Bishop’s Mansion near Lucon Cathedral, Anne moved in with him as his trusted friend, companion, and to aid in his health.

One day she called him Your Eminence instead of Your Excellency and he knew she knew more than she was letting on. She told him that she had a vision of him in red, Cardinal Red with bits of grey in his hair. He finally allowed her to witness his dizzy spells so she would be there to take care of him.

He became the chaplain to the future queen of France. One year later Bishop du Plessis became the Secretary of State for both war and foreign affairs. In 1617 he was exiled to the city of Avignon for crimes against King Louis XIII of France.

But his beloved Anne was brought to him along with his brother Henri. Weeks passed and Anne found out she was pregnant when her body nearly aborted the baby. And Bishop Richelieu became Cardinal Richelieu.

She knew that the baby was not going to live unless Armand used his healing power on him, but he refused. Their love for each other was stronger than ever.
And they could never stand to be apart.

On April 29, 1624, Cardinal Richelieu was named to the royal council of ministers. Many years passed but their love never faltered. Armand’s brother Alphonso who was also a Cardinal forgave them their sin of marrying.

King Louis crowned him “duc de Richelieu. In 1635 and in his eyes Anne became a duchess. When all her family was killed except her nieces and nephews, Armand vowed to take care of them.

Two weeks later she let him know he was to have a son. Then she let him know that she and the child would die and she wanted to be cremated. She alluded to the fact that she would be reincarnated. They were married for 27 years. They named their son Henri-Pierre and they lived a few weeks and Anne’s spirit rose out of her body and spread her wings of red-silver-gold-and-purple flames and she was half-parrot and half-human looking. Then she and her son were gone and Armand left for Paris.

In December of 1635, he arrived at court. He kept himself busy but was in no mood for people. His soul wept when his eyes could not. (This was my favorite line in the whole book.)

Then one day he secured permission to visit the king’s aviary. There he found a little white parrot and it landed on his wrist. She turned out to be a cockatoo, a baby who would not eat. Her parents had quit feeding her and she didn’t know how to eat adult food. So Armand mashed up some fruit and the bird ate with relish. So Armand got to keep the baby cockatoo and they became inseparable until his death from Tuberculosis.

What an interesting and amazing book written by an amazing author. This is my second book review of this author and though they are long, they keep you spellbound. I highly recommend this book and would give it 5 stars.

Elkin Hardcoves’ Review: 4.6-Stars

His Red Eminence Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu
By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642) may be best known from Alexander
Dumas’s The Three Musketeers as a man even more powerful than the
French king. Yet, he was a man who’s power grew out of his dependence
on and loyalty to the king. Laurel A. Rockefeller artfully traces
Richelieu’s life and career from his earliest church career to the
height of his power. In 1606 King Henry IV nominated Richelieu to
become bishop of Luçon and thus began his rapid ascent to power as
confidante of Louis XIII, who named him the duc de Richelieu; named a
cardinal in 1622, he became known as l’Éminence rouge (“the Red
Eminence”) for his noble style and red cardinal’s robes.

Through various political and military intrigues, Richelieu strove to
consolidate the monarchy’s power and make France less dependent on
foreign nations. A patron of the arts, Richelieu built a theater in
his palace, funded the work of Pierre Corneille, and founded the
Académie française, the paramount French literary society. Still,
there is much about the man that remains villainous in the modern
world psyche.

Laurel A. Rockefeller seeks to help remove some of that reputation
through both carefully researched information and through well-crafted
imagination.

In this work, we not only get a glimpse of the statesman, but of the
man beneath — as well as possibly a look at the mysterious woman that
Armand-Jean du Plessis loved. Like any great historical romance
assumptions are made, and some liberties are taken, but like any
strong historical romance the topic is researched and plenty of
references are given at the end. While Laurel A. Rockefeller is no
stranger to historical fiction, this is the first work of hers I have
read, and it is certain it will not be my last.

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