on Tour August 31 – September 9 with
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.
I think the most amazing thing about this book is that is actually based on a true story about 4 out of 5 sisters that all became mistresses to King Louis XV. It sounds incredible, but it's really true, and I had no idea about it. I have never ever heard of these sisters before I read the book. The mistress that came after them, well she is well known, but the sweet Louise, the ambitious Pauline, the happy Diane and shrewd Marie-Anne are not as known as Madame de Pompadour.
Anyway, I felt that Sally Christie really captured both the time and the characters truly well. A historical fiction is truly good when the characters and the setting come to life and it feels like you for a moment also are at Court with the sisters. You live with them, and you feel for them when something bad happens to them. There were several times that I thought “thank God that I didn't live at that time” and also sometimes like when a woman carries her dog in her bag it feels like things haven't changed that much.
I would like to say that I liked a sister or two better than the other, but I liked and disliked them all through the book. They really didn't feel like blood sisters always with all the backstabbing. For some of them, being a mistress to the king was more of a mission than real passion. The one that loved him the most (in my opinion) Louise had to watch how her sisters one by one took over as the mistresses and for most of the time I was annoyed over how placid she was, but in the end, she seems to have finally found her call. It's interesting that Hortense, the one sister that was the most beautiful never ended up as the king's mistresses, but then again she loved her husband and seemed to be the one with the happiest marriage with Diane coming second.
I must admit that the character I found most intriguing in the book was not any of the sisters or the king. It was Richelieu. Alas, his flirting with Marie-Anne let unfortunately nowhere.
It was a good book, I enjoyed reading it. Loved the letters between the sister that glossed over the truth a bit. It was nice to get a history lesson and at the same time being entertained. But I found the narrative, with shifting between sisters not always to my liking, probably because some of them were more interesting than the other and not everything that happened was that interesting, like Pauline and Diane at the convent. Not that the story dragged out or anything, I was just not always engrossed in it. But I loved the ending, the very emotional and sad ending. Just the kind I like!
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. Learn more about the sisters and the mistresses in the Versailles trilogy on her website Become a fan to hear about her next novels! Check her Pinterest page
Enter the global giveaway here. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.
Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to US/Canada residents: 5 participants will each win a print copy of this book.