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MARVELOUS - Molly Greeley
A Perfect 10
William Morrow
ISBN: 9780063244092
February 28, 2023
Historical Fiction

France and Italy - Mid Sixteenth Century

Pedro Gonsalvus lives on the island of Tenerife with Isabel and her grown son. He has no idea who his real parents are as he was left on the steps of the local church where he was found and brought to Isabel. Pedro is well aware of why he was abandoned for he is what others consider an abomination. With his entire body covered in hair, it is difficult for him to go unnoticed. One day, as he gathers mussels by the shoreline for Isabel, he is captured by pirates. Terrified, the boy is kept captive on the ship until he is sold to a tradesman in Paris. Pedro ends up being a gift to King Henri II of France for his coronation. The king educates the boy, making him a part of the court, his name changed to Petrus Gonsalvus, he is, however, nicknamed Monsieur Sauvage. Petrus is the particular favorite of Queen Catherine de Medici, who is determined to find a beautiful wife for him.

Catherine D'Aubray has been the adored daughter of her merchant father, particularly after the untimely death of her mother. But falling upon hard times, her father is offered a way out of his financial difficulties by allowing Queen Catherine to pay his debts if he agrees to let his daughter marry a man chosen by her majesty. To Catherine's shock and horror, the man who she is wed to is the courtier known as Monsieur Sauvage. Having to deal with the confusion of the French court as well as a marriage to a man who barely communicates with her, Catherine also has to come to terms of being labeled Madame Sauvage.

Most readers will recognize this amazing tale by its fictional name of Beauty and the Beast. The fact that MARVELOUS is based on historical fact in many ways makes this heartbreaking, yet uplifting story a page turner. How Petrus and Catherine deal with, and survive in the turmoil of the French court, particularly after the death of King Henri, is told in detail, relating both historical fact, and creative fictional accounts . It takes the couple a while to be honest with each other, and their lives are in continuous threat by the animosity between Catholics and Huguenots. 

MARVELOUS will tear at your heart, especially knowing how historically accurate it is in many instances. Petrus and Catherine were real people with real issues and the author does a beautiful job presenting this to her readers. MARVELOUS is an amazing book.

Jani Brooks

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