The Enemies of Versaillesby Sally Christie (Website)
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #3
Published by Atria Books, Simon & Schuster on March 21, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Historical Drama, Historical Romance
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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’ve really enjoyed Sally Christie’s historical retellings of France’s King Louis XV and the women who shaped his life. The first two installments, The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles, led us through the king’s middle-aged years where he was first with the Mailly Nesle sisters and then Marquise de Pompadour. In The Enemies of Versailles, as France inches closer to revolution, King Louis XV scandalizes both his family and the court now that his mistresses have moved from nobles to a bourgeoisie to a common prostitute when he is enraptured by Jeanne Becu. The newly renamed Comtesse du Barry quickly inserts herself at the aging king’s side, growing the ire of his oldest daughters as well as his trusted advisors. Told in both Jeanne and Madame Adelaide, the king’s very assertive and judgemental daughter’s points of view, the third part of this trilogy was a joy to read–although I knew that King Louis XV’s life was ticking away just like France’s time under a sovereign rule.
Comtesse du Barry was a very interesting character and very easy to like, although she was a bit of a hot-headed, spoiled brat. Jeanne was a great beauty, loud, and boisterous–things that most nobles weren’t. She was different than Louis’ usual mistresses, only wanting to be presented at Versailles so she could be by the king’s side. Jeanne did want presents, jewels, and gifts, but she wasn’t quite as demanding as his previous conquests. She was very loyal to her family and true friends, and her love and support for the king never wavered–even when he sent her away on his death bed. While she did enjoy the finer things and comforts that her position as the king’s mistress afforded her, she was kind and generous to others, and Jeanne never could understand why the nobles and Louis’ daughters hated her so.
Madame Adelaide, the king’s oldest surviving daughter, is the polar opposite of Comtesse du Barry. She rules over her sisters about etiquette and proper behavior, chastising them at every turn. Adelaide is the biggest opponent to every one of her father’s mistresses, but Jeanne is the final straw for her. She uses her iron-fisted influence on the courtiers to blackball the Comtesse du Barry, only to further strain her already tense relationship with her father. Adelaide is definitely smart and learned, but she’s not very worldly when it comes to real relationships or what it’s like for regular people. She believes that the royal, privileged and protected life that they’ve lived is the only way to live, and that their way of life should be protected at all costs. While her and her sisters never married, they became the joke of the court as old spinsters with little influence on the king. Once the revolution begins, Madame Adelaide has no idea how far their royal family will fall…
I give The Enemies of Versailles a 4.5 out of 5. Following the life of Jeanne Becu from early childhood until death, her rise to prominence as Louis XV’s final mistress was an engaging and entertaining read. I loved getting a look at the life of the spoiled royals through Madame Adelaide, and I even felt quite a bit of sympathy for her in the end. Sally Christie’s writing is vivid, and I could easily picture Versailles and the other chateaux and countryside settings. With more modern writing and alternating POV chapters, The Enemies of Versailles flowed nicely while the tension ramped up to the end. Definitely check out author Sally Christie’s website for pictures of the women from the books, as well as secondary characters and places. It really brings everything together. I highly recommend this series to fans of historical fiction, especially European history.
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About Sally Christie
Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.
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Sally Christie’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES:
Wednesday, March 8th: Reading Reality
Monday, March 13th: Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, March 14th: From the TBR Pile – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, March 15th: Let Them Read Books
Thursday, March 16th: Scandalous Women
Friday, March 17th: BookNAround
Monday, March 20th: Books ‘n Tea
Monday, March 20th: An Accidental Blog
Tuesday, March 21st: Read Love Blog – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, March 22nd: The Maiden’s Court
Thursday, March 23rd: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Friday, March 24th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, March 27th: Must Read Faster
Tuesday, March 28th: Hoser’s Blook
Wednesday, March 29th: Books à la Mode – Spotlight/Feature
Thursday, March 30th: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, March 31st: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Spotlight/Feature
Monday, April 3rd: A Holland Reads – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, April 5th: Becky on Books
Friday, April 7th: A Literary Vacation