Welcome to my review of The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie, the first in her Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy. Please read on for my review, be sure to check the tour stops to see what other readers thought and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where 5 winners will receive a copy of the title (US & Canada Only).
The first in a new trilogy focused on the 18th Century French Court of Louis XV, the Nesle sisters, four of whom occupied the position of mistress, is detailed with lush imagery, treachery fitting the most twisted thriller, the opulence and over the top splendor of Versailles all in a story that explores the effects of power, betrayal, competition and family in a story that brings history to life.
I love the court drama, sometimes even more animated and always more treacherous than one would expect. This story reads much like favorites (Pillars of the Earth) as the sisters are all developed and detailed: personalities, physical types, even moralities are different. With Hortense being the only sister NOT a mistress to Louis, we run through the sisters, and see their machinations within the family bonds, not to mention the behind the back maneuvering within the court. All struggling for power, presence and admiration – from one and all. Starting with Louise and moving on shortly to Pauline: the truly bitter and life altering interactions are gobsmacking. Frenemies have nothing on these women: and sadly, each was a brilliant strategist: were they born in another time, or had more options available to them – they could have ruled the world. But, boredom, greed, limited options and the family connections turned their attentions inward, as each slowly worked to destroy their rivals/sisters in benefit of their own rise on the ladder.
This is gripping, telenovela-style drama that is all the more intriguing (and heart wrenching) for the fact that these were real women involved in real situations. The historical research in this novel is impeccable, descriptions are lush and evocative and the people… well, suffice it to say that the revolution against the rulers in France is understood better after seeing the attitudes, the wastefulness and the unrestrained behavior of the court. A wonderful read, I can’t wait for the next.
Title: The Sisters of Versailles
Author: Sally Christie
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #1
Also in this series: The Enemies of Versailles
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Published by: Atria Books
Published on: 1 September, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 17 Hours (approx.)
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ Book Depository
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.
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A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.