The Sisters of Versailles
Release date: September 1, 2015
at Atria Book/Simon & Schuster
A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters—Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne—four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
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 Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, she and her sisters—ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
The Sisters of Versailles is a treat through and through – the characters are witty and engaging and come together to create an undeniable page-turner. Sally Christie has a wonderful sense of pace and the book unfolds in front of you like a delicious gift. Even as the scandals pile up and the intrigue mounts, you can’t help but fall in love with these sisters and their competing infatuations with the King.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sally Christie was born in England of British parents and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and is currently settled in Toronto.
A life-long history buff who wishes time travel were a real possibility—she’d be off to the eighteenth century in a flash!
The Sisters of Versailles is her first novel.
Madame de Pompadour comes to mind when we think of Louis XV. She was his official chief mistress, aide and advisor in governmental matters. What is little known is that, prior to her arrival on the scene, a family of four daughters, the Nesle de Maille sisters, played a role in the life of Louis le bien aimé’s Court at Versailles.
These four very different, uneducated women, daughters of an impoverished nobleman one by one end up at the glittering court of Versailles, a hotbed of jealousy, intrigue and scandal. The story is narrated by each of the sisters so we get a glimpse into their individual personalites through the letters written to each other. What I enjoyed about the story is the unpredictability of their actions at Versailles, despite being privy to their innermost thoughts throughout the storyline.
As a lover of European history, I enjoy reading the work of authors such as Alison Weir, Sandra Gulland and Philippa Gregory, amongst others. I would consider this novel to be “light” historical fiction because the story revolved more around the “romantic” lives of these five women and less about the historical events of the time. I was unable to develop an affinity for any of the women in this book, perhaps due to the lack of character development.
I was dismayed by the use of the “F-word” in several places. I really did not think that this was historically appropriate or necessary for this type of book. Because of the mature situations, I would consider this book to be PG-13 + M.