One of my goals for 2016 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. I have a goal of reading 100 books this year, along with me!
‘The Sisters of Versailles’ by Sally Christie is crazy! It is the story of the five Mailly Nesle sisters – FOUR of whom became France’s King Louis XV mistresses. This book is the first in a trilogy that will follow the stories of several of the King’s mistresses. The second novel which comes out this April, ‘The Rivals of Versailles’ follows Madame de Pompadour, who rose to become the virtual Queen of France. Finally, the third book in the trilogy, ‘The Enemies of Versailles’ focuses on Comtesse du Barry, the last official mistress of King Louis XV. She famously overlapped her time with a name everyone knows- Marie Antoinette.
This story, which focuses on the sisters- and their relationships with each other and the King just keeps digging in deeper with the juicy details. Christie took liberties with the narrative and some dates but the basic facts are the same. These women in history really fought and clawed their way- or not- into the King’s arms. The novel does a fantastic job giving each woman a voice, a personality and a driving force behind everything that they do. You can try to decide on a favorite but it is impossible. Each sister in turn has recommendable traits and commits reprehensible acts.
The only complaint I have is that it starts very slowly and throughout lags in places. It could have done with an editing cut of at least 50-100 pages. Currently it weighs in at a whopping 432 pages. That however is overshadowed by Christie’s voice and her loving care in the novel that is obvious in the detail and depth of the characters. Pretty much every character is well developed – or at least given a back story. I very much enjoyed reading this novel and I look forward to reading the next two in the trilogy!
That’s book 3 of 100! Read all the reviews here.
Click here to see my goals for 2016
Book 3. The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie