Friday, October 9, 2015

HFVBT: Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
The most I had ever heard of the Mailly-Nesle sisters was a passing reference in some history book I read in the past. I guess I didn't quite fathom at the time that these sisters, indeed four of the five of them, were all mistresses to the king of France, Louis XV. Interesting family dynamic, to say the least! And people think Marie Antoinette was scandalous.

The author has really outdone herself with this her debut novel. I was quite impressed by how she gave each sister a distinct voice. I especially enjoyed the epistolary aspect of the novel (as I always do). I find that letters written to and from individuals gives such insight into the characters.

Upon doing a bit of research, it is interesting to note that Madame de Pompadour became the official royal mistress to Louis XV in March 1745, just months after Marie-Anne's death. Makes me wonder, if Marie-Anne would have lived, would Madame Pompadour have ever been the king's mistress? Interesting to speculate on this (if the dates are correct).

It was definitely an interesting dynamic between the sisters, as at times, they were the king's mistresses at the same time, meaning if one was sick, the other would fill in. I find it a bit disturbing actually, but such were the morals of the French court.

On a final note, it must be said. This is an outstanding debut novel. Judging by the historical accuracy and engaging storytelling, Christie is sure to be a major success in the historical fiction genre.

The Sisters of Versailles (Mistresses of Versailles, Book One)
by Sally Christie

Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Pages: 432
ISBN-10: 1501102966
Genre: Historical Fiction

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.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

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 foot – 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, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

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.

“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” —Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy

“Sally Christie’s The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV’s France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy.” – Allison Pataki, author of The Accidental Empress

I’m a life-long history buff – and I mean life-long. One of the first adult books I read was Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots. Wow! That book just blew my little ten year old mind: something about the way it brought the past right back to life, made it live again on the page. I date my obsession with history to that time, but I’d been writing (“writing”) ever since I was able to hold a pencil.

If you’d told my 12-year old self that I’d not be a writer when I grew up, I would have laughed you out of the tree house. With a few detours along the way, to work overseas in consulting and development, as well as to go to business school, I’ve finally come full circle to where I think I should be.

I currently live in Toronto and when I’m not writing, I’m playing lots of tennis; doing random historical research (old census records are my favorite); playing Scrabble, and squirrel-watching (the room where I write has French doors leading out to a deck; I avidly follow, and feed, a scruffy gang).

For more information please visit Sally Christie’s website. You can also find her onGoodreads and Pinterest.

Hashtags: #SistersofVersaillesBlogTour #MistressesofVersaillesTrilogy #HistoricalFiction #France
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @simonschusterPR

GIVEAWAY: One paperback, open to US residents only. To enter, leave a comment below with your thoughts on royal mistresses. Don't forget your email address so I can contact the winner.

Rules– Must be 18 or older to enter.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.



Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. On the one hand, I am no fan of adultery, but many of these women were almost forced into these roles - either for prestige, power, position, or just survival at court. Thanks for the giveaway! TarheelFIT1 (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. This does sound interesting. I also enjoy historically based novels and recently have been reading some harder core versions, such as Nina Mason's novels. I believe at one point it was considered an honor to be the official mistress. Very risky though.

  3. Thanks for this captivating and intriguing giveaway which interests me. Royal historical novels are extraordinary. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. Seems that in that time of arranged marriages, the practice of keeping a mistress was pretty common and therefore acceptable. But I deplore the double standard that also seemed to exist. Thanks for the giveaway. The book sounds great.

  5. This novel sounds fascinating! I don't think enough is written about royal mistresses and they played vital roles many times. Just the fact that this novel has letters within it makes it even more interesting. I also believe they add more insight to a character's development.
    alto1jr @ hotmail dot com

  6. Ever since I heard this novel was coming out, I've wanted to read it. I'm used to (in a good way!) reading novels about ONE royal mistresses, but to read one about several, and all sisters, seems like an exciting concept. Thanks so much for this giveaway!

    marykate dot sullivan711 at gmail dot com

  7. I've been fascinated with this period ever since I read To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker and the story of these sisters sounds marvelous. Thanks for the giveaway. HPelkey1982 at yahoo dot com

  8. I've always enjoyed books based in a court setting, especially if there is a lot of intrigue, and there usually is in a court such as Versailles. And of course the French court is very interesting, as is the time period that this book is set in. Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. Mistresses were to be expected during this time period since most marriages were for political or financial gain.

  10. I know I must have missed this giveaway.. but this book sounds fabulous!

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