The Queen’s Apprenticeship


ISBN: 978-1-923023-03-1 Format: Trade PB (234 x 153mm) 376pp Rights: World Release / Publication Date: 01 /11 /2023
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Reading group notes available for download here


Two women from different worlds in Renaissance France cross paths in a way that changes both their lives.
One is Marguerite de Navarre, a King’s sister. Powerful, privileged and widely admired, Marguerite must nonetheless marry where she is told to, regardless of her feelings, and – despite the thrilling new ideas of religious reform causing upheaval in France – must toe the line for the good of her brother’s kingdom. Ever a risk-taker, she does what she can to protect her reformist friends. But she has always loved to write, and when disaster strikes in her personal life, she picks up her pen – but some of what she writes will get her into trouble.

The other is a cast out, itinerant child who longs to be a printer like her late father. Jehane goes dressed as a male by the name of Josse, at first for safety’s sake and then by choice, fending off the risks of being alone, unprotected and born female, poor but trying to live in freedom. Eventually Josse joins a group of printers and publishers in Paris. Despite her suspicion of men, she comes to idolise one among them. But can they be ‘true friends’, and can she share her whole self with him?

Long before #MeToo, women were telling their ‘unspeakable’ stories, and these two, both rich and poor, are no exception. They come together in the most unexpected of ways. In The Queen’s Apprenticeship one of our very best writers brings to fully realised and magnificent life a world of drama and intrigue.

‘An enthralling novel of passion, literature and power, bringing to vivid life the story of Marguerite de Navarre – an ardent defender of the arts – and in doing so also giving voice to those who were often disregarded in the dramas of the time.’ Dominique Wilson, author of Orphan Rock and The Yellow Papers

Tracy Ryan was born in Western Australia and grew up there as part of a large family. She has taught literature, creative writing and film at various universities in Australia and in England, and worked as a bookseller, editor and translator. She currently teaches fiction writing at the University of Tübingen, Germany. Her poetry has won many awards. Her most recent collection is Rose Interior (Giramondo 2022), and she is the author of five critically acclaimed novels. Claustrophobia, her fourth novel was published by Transit Lounge in 2014 and by Newton Compton Editori as Una vita tranquilla in 2015. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Western Australian Premier’s Awards. Tracy was the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards Fellowship winner in 2023. Tracy speaks German, French and Italian as well as English. The Queen’s Apprenticeship is the first in a series of three novels focussed on the Queens of the Navarre.