Sep 3, 2015

Book Review/Tour: The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie, published September 1, 2015 by Atria Books
Genre: historical fiction

Book description: Carefully researched and detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed. The Sisters of Versailles centers on the (relatively, at least for the genre) overlooked period of early 18th century France. 

The reign of Louis XV (1715 – 1774) a time of increasing social turbulence and change that sets the stage neatly for the French Revolution that follows. 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, na├»ve Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

Telling the story of 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. (publisher)

My comments: Reading about the four sisters who were enticed, cajoled or manipulated into becoming their king's mistresses in 18th century France was not a glamorous or exciting read for me. I was distressed at the history of these women and disturbed by the machinations of the people at court who seemed to control both king and the people around him.

Kudos to Sally Christie for her intricate research and for bringing these women in history to light. They were not total victims, but seemed to participate vigorously in the whole elaborate process.  It does help us to understand  how social and political conditions led up to the French Revolution that was to come.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a review ARC of this book. For other reviews of The Sisters of Versailles, visit the tour schedule

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.

5 comments:

  1. Good points how on how these activities were not glamorous and exciting. More so in the past, but still today, those in power strive to control others in all sorts of oppressive ways.

    I was not familiar with this period in history but these events, though understandably troubling, sound very interesting.

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    1. The atmosphere of Versailles is fascinating, Brian.

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  2. Wow, I'm so looking forward to reading this book and seeing how the sisters got themselves into everything!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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  3. I don't think this is a book for me.I think I'd be yelling at the characters.

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  4. The Sisters of Versailles sounds really interesting, this time in history fascinates me.

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