The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles #1
Published by Atria Books
Published on: September 1, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Buy on Amazon | Buy on Chapters Indigo
About the Book
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
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 feet—and women—forward. The King’s scheming ministers push sweet, naïve Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, she and three of her younger sisters—ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power as each becomes the king’s favorite for a time.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on 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.
As fascinated as I am with all things historical fiction, I can honestly say that ever remember reading a historical fiction book that is centered around the King’s mistress. Now don’t get me wrong because they have certainly been part of the books in some way, but never the focus. So when The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie was announced, it quickly rocketed to the top of my tbr list. I mean really, how could it not? But then when you consider that this book details the exploits of four mistresses of King Louis XV that also happen to be sisters, just consider my mind to blown.
Now normally books that deal with infidelity of any kind aren’t really my cup of tea. They just rub me the wrong way and tend to set my teeth on edge. But here’s the thing about infidelity in the french court, particularly surrounding the King; it really has nothing at all to do with love, romance, and sex, but it is all about power. Maybe that is still true today where infidelity concerns people in high ranking and high positions of power, but for the rest of us, I think it mostly centers on feelings and most certainly sex. But in the course of King Louis XV, to be a mistress of the King is a position of power for not only yourself, but your entire family and those aligned with you.
The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie introduces us to the five Nesle sisters, four of whom eventually become mistresses for King Louis XV. The story is told through the viewpoints of all five sisters, and through them you are introduced to an aspect of court life not previously considered before. Each sister is very different from one another and as such, have very different motivations and methods for their relationship with the king. What you end up with is a surprisingly amusing story given the subject matter. It’s a great start to the Misteress of Verailles Trilogy.
We had no education to speak of; the aim was not an educated daughter, but a mannered daughter, one who knew her way through the intricate maze of politeness and social graces that governed our world.