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.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.
Title: The Sisters of Versailles
Author: Sally Christie
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Historical Fiction | British & Irish
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: September 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition, 432 pages
FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Welcome to the world of early 18th century France, King Louis XV’s court, and the redoubtable Nesle sisters. Five in all–Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne. Four of the five become mistresses to King Louis XV, and their various maneuvers against one another to rise to this coveted position are in turn shocking, amazing, and yes, even humorous.
For us to believe what people, especially women, went through to find favor at court is beyond our wildest imaginations and comprehension. Even more amazing in our society, most of the manipulating was done by men using women to achieve their goals. Despite the fact this concept is disgusting, it is what happened and The Sisters of Versailles take us on a deviously funny romp through the King’s courts in Versailles.
To share with you the details of the four sisters’ rise to Louis’s arm and chamber would be to deprive you of a historical read like none you’ve likely read before.
Cast alongside Philippa Gregory’s works or those of C.W. Gortner, Sally Christie’s debut novel includes richly developed characters who, as young girls and sisters, realistically do and say anything to get a leg up in gaining the King’s attentions. Herein lies Christie’s writing gift of taking what could be dark and drab historical fact and twisting it with just enough wit to keep the pages turning rapidly.
A lover of historical fiction, I could not wait to read about King Louis XV’s court and follies at Versailles. The color, grand fashion and decoration, music, excessive lifestyle is fascinating, not to mention the scandals growing day-by-day inside the walls at Versailles.
The Sisters of Versailles is one of the best historical novels I’ve read in a great while, and I applaud Sally Christie on adding humor to her manuscript in order to bring to light that most of us, both past and present, enjoy a sense of humor and the ability to use it.
If you love the 18th century, the courts of kings and queens, and mistresses, you will indeed find a romping and stellar piece of historical fiction drawn in the finery and gilding of Versailles. Enjoy it for yourself, or share it with a friend, or opt to give it as a gift to a fellow lover of historical fiction.
Sally Christie was born in England of British parents but grew up mostly in Canada. As a child she moved around with her family and then continued her wandering as she pursued a career in international development; she’s lived in 14 different countries and worked in many more. She’s now settled in Toronto and loving it.
Sally lives and breathes history; ever since she read Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots when she was 10, she’s been an avid history junkie. She wishes more attention and technical innovation was devoted to time travel, because there is nothing she would rather do than travel back in time! Writing historical fiction is a poor substitute, but it’s the best one we have at the moment.
When not reading and writing history, she’s a tennis and Scrabble fanatic.
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