The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles #2
Published by Atria Books
Published on: April 5, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical
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Also in this series: The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel
Also by this author: The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel
About the Book
And you thought sisters were a thing to fear. In this captivating follow-up to Sally Christie’s clever and absorbing debut, we meet none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles.
The year is 1745 and King Louis XV’s bed is once again empty. Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a beautiful girl from the middle classes. As a child, a fortune teller had told young Jeanne’s destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the King’s arms.
All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to replace the bourgeois interloper with a more suitable mistress. As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many rivals—including a lustful lady-in-waiting, a precocious fourteen-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious Nesle sisters—she helps the king give himself over to a life of luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows, and France inches ever closer to the Revolution.
Told in Christie's celebrated witty and modern style, The Rivals of Versailles will delight and entrance fans as it brings to life the court of Louis XV in all its pride, pestilence, and glory.
The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie is the second book in the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy. In the first book, The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel, we were introduced to the five Nesle sisters; four of whom became the mistresses of King Louis XV over a ten year period. Well, now that all of infamous Nesle sisters are either dead or no longer at court, it’s time for a new official maîtresse-en-titre (chief mistress).
In The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie we meet Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a commoner, who has been told by a fortune teller that she will earn the love of a king. Jeanne-Antoinette, also known as Reinette (little queen), very quickly begins to overcome her common heritage to become King Louis XV favourite and official mistress. She rises quite high from her humble origins and becomes a much sought after patron of the arts, becomes involved in matters of the state and is officially elevated to the title of Marquise de Pompadour. She is the epitome of the words ‘started from the bottom, now we here’. Editors Note: Drake reference ftw! She is on top, and there she stays for 19 years, outlasting and seeing off all rivals for the kings affection, until her death in 1764.
So here’s the thing, I really like Jeanne, or at least the portrayal of her in The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie. She appears to actually care about the king, but not in the obsessive way Louise did in the first book. Its almost as if Jeanne all of the best qualities of the Nesle sisters rolled into one. She is ambitious, likeable, cunning, and fun. This book is only told from one point of view, but what a point of view it is.