Author: Sally Christie
Publisher: Atria Books
Part of a Series: Mistresses of Versailles
Type of book: France, Versailles, Revolution, King Louis XV, King Louis XVI, 1750-1800, courtiers, daily life at Versailles, mortality, mistresses, daughter/father relationship, spinsterhood, lessons, Marie Antoinette, alliances, changes, time
Year it was published: 2017
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.
There are basically two narrators; that of Cometesse du Barry and Princess Adelaide and both are contrasting. Just like in Rivals of Versailles, the two women are drawn wonderfully and are extremely complex people who stay consistent to their lives and personalities. Comtesse du Barry is a breath of fresh air and a fun loving woman who cares more for comforts and being content rather than plotting and scheming. She is also extremely generous and is sensitive.She also hates and cares little for politics. I honestly couldn't pin down what personality she might have had, Princess Adelaide is Louis XV's daughter who is a spinster, is extremely rigid and feels as if she is Atlas and carries the world and then some being the daughter of France. She also strikes me as extremely pompous, arrogant, and extremely judgmental. Adelaide's three younger sisters also have appearances; Victoire is one of the younger sisters and she tends to be easygoing and forthright, although she doesn't measure up to Adelaide's exacting standards. Sophie, I admit, is a favorite of mine because she has fascination with what is considered sexual words, and Louise is charming and realizes early what her older sisters never realized. In here King Louis XV is still a libertine but is frightened of death and for some odd reason is devoted to Jeanne and doesn't seem to care for having other mistresses.
Change can happen either gradually or radically, but it has an origin
The book differs quite a bit from its predecessors; The Sisters of Versailles as well as Rivals of Versailles. The previous two books contained multiple narrators as well as the letters that characters wrote and exchanged which added quite a bit more flesh to the story. Enemies of Versailles has two narrators in first person narrative; that of Adelaide, a spinster princess who is King Louis XV's daughter, and Jeanne Becu, better known as Comtesse du Barry. Also for some odd reason the chapter titles reminded me of Chinese classic chapter headings, in particular Dream of the Red Chamber which was published and created in 1700s. The characters are consistent and are both to be loved and hated.
(From back of the book)
Sally Christie is the authro 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 has spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto. To find out more about the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, visit sallychristieauthor.com
So this is what it's like to finish a series; heaviness within the heart, the inner voice screaming "NO!" and realization that this is the end; the characters one has grown to admire and care about will no longer have future books written about them. I'm awed, astounded, sad and heartbroken that this is the end of Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. The book has really lived up to the previous two books; Sisters in Versailles and Rivals in Versailles, and perhaps in some cases even surpassed Rivals in Versailles. For me as well, the story means both a beginning and an ending to chapter in my life; ending the fact that I am free as I was, and beginning a new chapter with my baby boy. Interestingly enough, the series have been with me when I was pregnant with my son (Sisters of Versailles) and one of the first book I read a month or so after my son's birth is Rivals of Versailles. Enemies of Versailles was around my son's first birthday. I really don't want to say goodbye to the series, but still, for a wonderful and vivid portrait of the final glittering years of Court of Versailles, do pick up and read this wonderful gem.
This was given to me by publisher in exchange for a review
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)