I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Sally Christie
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles #1
Published: September 1, 2015 by Atria Books
A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot – and women – forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
Wow….what an amazing insight to the world of King Louis XV! He is actually one of the French King’s I know nothing about but now I remember that Doctor Who did an episode on his other mistress Madame Pompadour who was in “The Girl in the Fireplace”. I didn’t realize that he had other famous mistresses before her!
We follow all four sisters POV as they learn to navigate the vipers of Versailles court while also trying to out do each other. Each sister is known for something different and each has her own personality. Louise the oldest is ok pretty but she is naive throughout the whole book and she never thinks badly on anyone. Pauline is considered the “ugly” sister but she has ambition and likes power. Diane cares only for food and fashion, she has no ambition to do anything besides eat and play. Marie Anne is the prettiest of the sisters and the most cunning. She will do whatever it takes to stay in power and in her position. Hortense is the narrator and she comes and goes but has no POV of her own except at the beginning and end.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I just had to know what happened next, who was going to become the next mistress or the one toppling down. I had no clue what the exact fates of each of these girls were so it was shocking at times to find out what happens. I felt drawn into Versailles and Ms. Christie does a fantastic job of conveying each sisters own personality differently and in a unique way. I never got confused as to who was speaking and the pace was great-though a little slow since I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happened next.
I look forward to reading the next in this series and I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoy historical fiction and to find out more about these unknown sister mistresses!