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The Enemies of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) Paperback – March 21, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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Praise for The Enemies of Versailles:
"Christie concludes her Mistresses of Versailles trilogy with a lushly detailed, beautifully painted portrait of Louis XV’s last mistress, Madame Du Barry. The author’s gift for developing characters and bringing them to full-blooded life is what turns her historical biographies into accessible, readable history." (RT Magazine)
Praise for The Sisters of Versailles:
"Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy." (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS)
“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy)
“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution…. Historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)
“Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)
About the Author
Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto. Visit SallyChristieAuthor.com to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.
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Top customer reviews
Jeanne du Barry sweeps into the kings life creating a haven of peace from the rigors of ruling. Her refreshing candor is a fine escape for him, but she wants more. She want to be accepted by his court. A civil war ensues pitting daughter against mistress leaving the king embroiled in their conflict. While he is an absolute monarch in total control of his country, he cannot make his children accept his lady love and bring her the happiness she gives to him.
This story was rich and it transported to me to another time. Versailles in all its glory was...glorious. The food, the jewels, the glamour of the court was enjoyable to read about. In contrast, the king's death, followed by political unrest and the horrors that became the French revolution entered the book tiptoeing softly until it smothered the splendor of the great court, extinguishing the end of the 18th century and ushering a new age that would change the world. Sally Christie's book is simply brilliant.
There were a couple small incidents I was sort of surprised she left out; though it was alluded to when she spoke of other acts, the first favor Jeanne asked of Louis XV was an act of mercy, the sparing from beheading of an old noble couple who fired on officials coming to repossess their estate. She refused to budge from her kneeling until he gave in. Interesting aside too (spoiler territory for those not familiar with Jeanne's end) - the executioner she begged for just another moment at the end of her life, she seems to have had a relationship with early on; her father accompanied him on his work occasionally. That story - if it is to be believed - is detailed in the Memoirs of the Sansons, you can find this very interesting account of the seven generations of Paris executioners free online, a very interesting read too.
This series is one of those that managed to transport me -- while reading, there was little to distract me from the delicious details, incredible scandal, and suspense of the court of King Louis XV. In this third installment, Christie examines the last period of Louis XV's reign from the perspective of his final mistress, a woman named Jeanne Bécu. Jeanne eventually becomes the Comtesse du Barry, but her origins are far from noble. Early on in life, Jeanne was recruited to be a prostitute for wealthy men. Jeanne's charm and flirtatious manner win her the attention of friends to the king, and eventually she finds herself with an apartment in Versailles and the object of the king's adoration.
There was a pretty stark difference between the Comtesse du Barry and the woman that came before her, the intimidating and powerful Marquise de Pompadour. (For more details on her, read the second book.) Jeanne was far more frivolous in nature, and therefore not as interested in controlling the throne, but she did have a significant adversary in the king's eldest daughter. The novel switches back and forth between the perspective of the mistress and the daughter, and that is what made it so interesting. The stark contrast between the pious, spinster daughter and the bold, flirtatious mistress highlighted the dissonance of Versailles -- a court that tried desperately to uphold tradition but was known for its outrageous parties and rampant infidelity. I also loved that this novel gave the reader a different perspective on the reign of Marie Antoinette and the decline of the nobility due to the revolution.
Christie manages to make this reading experience one that's both entirely educational -- the scope of her research is clear -- and marked by heart-pounding scenes of suspense and scandal. I adore this series and predict that any historical fiction lover would not be able to resist this story after reading the first few pages.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this text by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.