The Sisters of Versailles – Book Review [Lady Salvatore]
Lady Salvatore learns
a little something new about history
in The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie!
“Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction! This is a story you won’t soon forget!” – Lady Salvatore, The Founding Fields
The Sisters of Versailles is set during the reign of Louis XV of France, and is the first in a new trilogy, The Mistresses of Versailles. This multiple point of view story ranges from Versailles, Paris, Choisy, and Burgundy. You hear the story from the five Mailly-Nesle (“My-Nell”) sisters’ point of view, four of which were mistresses to the very same king! Gossip reigned at the court of Versailles. Opulence abounded, and with the king on his way to becoming the ultimate libertine, the court was not far behind. Gilt, ruffles, and hair powder were status symbols, and these symbols spoke louder than words. Versailles was like a battlefield and makes an intriguing setting for a story that, I personally, have never heard before!
There are five sisters that tell this tale: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne. You get to know each of these sisters vividly while reading this novel. You know their dreams and their fears; their feelings towards each other and towards the king. Marie-Anne, I would have to say is my favorite of the five sisters. I can relate to her on an intellectual level, as she is a reader and cannot get enough. I understand her longing for exciting adventures and visiting new places. I disagree with some of her later actions, but love can make one do some crazy things. Diane would be my second favorite, she is sweet and kind. She has no ulterior motives, but unfortunately gets stuck in the wrong places at the wrong times. Hortense is a bit snooty, in my opinion. She sees herself as above it all and often reading her letters to her sisters infuriated me! Louise was sympathetic and I felt quite bad for her. Even though she was the oldest, she was the least thought of and the most stepped on, which is sad, she deserved better. Pauline, while interesting to watch develop, is my least favorite. She is pushy and careless of what others feel. She is very domineering and has to control everything around her. Also, her letters to Louise at court were like that of a toddler asking for a cookie! I can see why Louise did eventually give in. The portrait painted of Louis XV was interesting as well. I have mostly only read of him in context with Marie-Antoinette and Comtesse du Barry, so it was refreshing to read of him as a young man. I also enjoyed learning how he became the man that he did. I am looking forward to reading more about him in the next installment.
This story of the infamous Mailly-Nesle sisters moves quite quickly. Between the different perspectives and the letters to and from each other, the tale sucks you right in and doesn’t let you go until the very end. The most difficult part was when one character’s perspective stopped and you started another, because you wanted to continue reading about who you were just reading! The letters to and from each sister added context to the relationships between them. Who really did get along? Which sisters simply tolerated each other? This gave the novel more depth and made you feel as if you really knew them. I never got tired of reading about any of the sisters and was sad when the book ended.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I learned something new that I had no idea happened historically in France. I found some new characters (and real people) to love and research. It took me back to one of my favorite countries, as well as a place that is on my bucket list to visit: Versailles. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and when I typically read about Versailles, it is about Marie Antoinette, one of my favorite queens, so it was exciting to find something new to obsess over! The detail and historical accuracy in this novel is wonderful. Sally Christie does her best to honestly bring these characters to life, and openly lets the reader know what she changed. Reading her webpage and seeing all the research she put into this book makes it even more wonderful. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment, The Rivals of Versailles.
Sally Christie has lived, and traveled, all over the world, but is currently living in Toronto. The Sisters of Versailles is her first novel. The second two in the series (yet to be released) are: The Rivals of Versailles, about Marquise de Pompadour, and The Enemies of Versailles, about Comtesse du Barry. Check out her webpage to see all of her research and beautiful photos taken while researching this series: http://www.sallychristieauthor.com. You can find her books at your local retailer, Amazon, or your local library!
Rating: 9 – Fantastic, not to be missed, I want a copy on my shelf!
*This copy was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*