Published by Atria on Sept 1, 2015
Genres: Adult, Historical fiction
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Most of the historical fiction I’ve read centres on the English monarchy, so reading a story about 18th century France was exciting. I know almost nothing about French monarchs, but this story was everything I expect from a good historical fiction. The drama surrounding kings and mistresses seems to be pretty universal, and the court scheming was quite entertaining.
The story viewpoint moved between each of the five sisters, which resulted in a really well rounded look at everything that happened. It made some of the schemes and actions seem more elaborate and cruel, especially when you consider that all the women involved were sisters.
Each women had a distinct, and very different, personality. At times, each woman was almost deserving of sympathy, but when taken together, they were a horrible family of conniving and vicious creatures. It was hard to feel truly sorry for any of them, but it was definitely easy to be entertained.
Overall, this was a highly amusing, and very elaborate historical fiction. The details and feel of the story matched my expectation of a court-based drama, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying my journey to another time.