Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received via Netgalley for Review with TLC Book Tours
In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.
“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.
Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches inevitable revolution.
I have been fascinated with Christie’s Mistresses of Versailles series since the first pages of The Sisters of Versailles. French history in general is an area that I am not as familiar with and therefore the stories are always new and exciting. While I still found many of the things that I enjoyed about the prior novels in the series, Enemies of Versailles didn’t carry quite the same level of feelings that I had for the first two books. Let me explain.
In both The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles, the women featured were all lovers of the King. This lent the chapters a competitive nature and added to the scandal that it was of the time. The Enemies of Versailles pits du Barry, his last lover, against his eldest daughter, Adelaide, and then to some extent the dauphine and later Queen, Marie Antoinette. Understandably, there is a very different dynamic at play here; at the very least they are fighting over very different types of love and power. This wasn’t as compelling a driving force for me as had been previously. It was a different kind of rivalry than I had come to expect from this series that wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
Additionally, I couldn’t help but take the side of du Barry (because you always pick a side in these types of stories). While she was the King’s lover and raised up from the gutter, she was for the most part kind and easy to read her way of thinking in her chapters. Adelaide was more difficult. Her frustration with du Barry all was because of simply her role as the lover of her father was a sin and she wanted to bring him back to the right side of God. It truly felt like a little girl not getting her way, which wasn’t cute on like a 50 year old woman. She was vindictive and conniving, yet she was supposed to be above everyone else. So ultimately I enjoyed the du Barry chapters more. One thing that I did enjoy was when Adelaide was with her whole bevy of sisters. There interactions reminded me of that of the Nesle sisters from The Sisters of Versailles; the backbiting, the one-up-manship, etc.
This book presented a different view of Marie Antoinette as well. Typically books about her feature her as a central character and we see her in a sympathetic light, or juxtaposed against the view of her from the common people. This was interesting to see how the two factions, du Barry and Adelaide sort of fought for control over her when she first came to court. She is a more minor figure in this story, but she is still used as a tool in the battle between the women. I actually enjoyed her portion of the story, even seeing her in a different way.
Overall, this was a good read, but not my favorite of the whole series.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Sally Christie:
The Sisters of Versailles (Book 1)
The Rivals of Versailles (Book 2)
As part of the tour, I have the opportunity to giveaway one copy of The Enemies of Versailles to a reader from the USA or Canada. Entries can be made via the Rafflecopter form below! The giveaway will run until March 29th, 2017. Good luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, March 6th: Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, March 7th: Bewitched Bookworms
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Friday, March 10th: Books à la Mode – Spotlight/Feature
Monday, March 13th: Historical-Fiction.com
Tuesday, March 14th: From the TBR Pile – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, March 15th: Let Them Read Books
Thursday, March 16th: Scandalous Women
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