This is the second book in the Mistress of Versailles series by Sally Christie. The first book, The Sisters of Versailles, was fantastic and you can read my review here.
This book picks up right after the first in the series, though can be read as a standalone, and is told from the perspective of a few of Louis XV's mistresses. After the Nesle's sisters are no longer part of court, Louis' next mistress is Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson. Jeanne is naive and not popular at all because she's middle-class; the court looks down on her and suspects she won't last long. But Jeanne has staying power and survives for much longer than anyone expects. Other women come in and out of the picture. Some faster than others. Louis XV seems to have an insatiable appetite for sex and the court has to stoop to finding prostitutes.
Since Jeanne is a long-term mistress of Louis XV, we learn much about her perspective. What she has to do to appease the king, what she tries to do to make friends, and how the court entertained themselves back in the 1700s. The characters are shallow, which I'm sure is true to the time. And yet I'm amazed by how these shallow, naive women seem to so easily dally in the world of royalty and, for the most part, survive. It's a game of chess and all about playing the right move at the right time. This is where the intrigue is in the novel; how these women survive and thrive in this environment.
The book reads a bit like a soap opera at times, though less cheesy, and would make for a great summer read.
I can't wait for the next one!
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this.
First Line: "The gypsy's hair is as red as blood, I think in astonishment."