Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson
ARC, Hardcover, 336 pages
Thomas Dunne Books
August 4, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received from the publisher for review
Fraught with conspiracy and passion, the Sun King's opulent court is brought to vivid life in this captivating tale about a woman whose love was more powerful than magic.
The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini's birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Ignoring the dark warnings of his sister and astrologers, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie learns her uncle has become the power behind the throne by using her sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.
Desperate to avoid her mother's dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. But as her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie's charm. Sensing a chance to grasp even greater glory, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.
Disgusted by Mazarin's ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin's deepest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis's love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her forbidden powers of divination to shield her family, protect France, and help the Sun King fulfill his destiny.
I was a HUGE fan of Marci Jefferson’s first novel, Girl on the Golden Coin, and I could not wait to get my hands on Enchantress of Paris. I can tell you that I was not at all disappointed!
One of the aspects of Golden Coin that I loved was how Jefferson can create characters that pull at the heartstrings, and she doesn’t miss that beat in Enchantress either! There were two or three moments when I had tears in my eyes. I had become invested in the characters and their relationships with each other and to see those relationships bend and break was painful. I think this is because the author crafts characters who are people that I could see standing in front of me and their actions and emotions are entirely believable. Despite the fact that they live in the 17th century, some things just don’t change over time! I loved Marie Mancini – in Jefferson’s hands she is passionate, charming, smart, and strong willed – someone I would love to be friends with. The relationships between the Mancini sisters were sometimes contentious and stormy, while at other times they pulled together for solidarity; sounds just like real sisters to me! I can honestly say that Cardinal Mazarin had pretty much no redeeming qualities; I was all too happy to see him go. And then there is King Louis – I loved him, while at the same time was angry and disappointed with him too.
There are SO many novels set in the royal courts of Europe, and the court of the Sun King is a frequent stop. For me this was a refreshing iteration. Some court novels can drag because of the confines of the life in the court, but Enchantress never encounters that problem. Marie’s life takes her across France, Italy, and Spain and she is not always within the court – so she does have a little more freedom at times. There was always something exciting happening, whether it was court drama, Mancini family drama, or the elements of astrology and belief in magic. Even with all of this excitement, Jefferson balances that with excellent character building.
I could have read so much more about the Mancini’s; those sisters certainly had their share of adventures and excitement. I hope that the author chooses to write more about their stories! Honestly, I would read anything Marci Jefferson writes.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Marci Jefferson:
Girl on the Golden Coin [My Review]
I have 1 copy of Enchantress of Paris to giveaway to one lucky reader in the USA courtesy of the publisher. Giveaway is open until August 23rd. Entries are made through the Rafflecopter application below.
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