The Rivals of Versailles

The Rivals of Versailles

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"And you thought sisters were a thing to fear. In this scandalous follow-up to Sally Christie's clever and absorbing debut, we meet none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles. I write this before her blood is even cold. She is dead, suddenly, from a high fever. The King is inconsolable, but the way is now clear. The way is now clear. The year is 1745. Marie-Anne, the youngest of the infamous Nesle sisters and King Louis XV's most beloved mistress, is gone, making room for the next Royal Favorite. Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a stunningly beautiful girl from the middle classes. Fifteen years prior, a fortune teller had mapped out young Jeanne's destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the King's arms. All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to replace the bourgeois interloper with a more suitable mistress. As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many rivals--including a lustful lady-in-waiting; a precocious fourteen-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious Nesle sisters--she helps the king give himself over to a life of luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows, and France inches ever closer to the Revolution. Enigmatic beauty, social climber, actress, trendsetter, patron of the arts, spendthrift, whoremonger, friend, lover, foe. History books may say many things about the famous Marquise de Pompadour, but one thing is clear: for almost twenty years, she ruled France and the King's heart. Told in Christie's witty and modern style, this second book in the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the world of eighteenth century Versailles in all its pride, pestilence and glory."--
Publisher: New York : Atria Paperback, 2016.
ISBN: 9781501102998
Branch Call Number: CHRIS
Characteristics: 432 pages ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, chief mistress of Louis XV (1721-1764)

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samdog123 Jan 09, 2017

The second in this series by Sally Christie about the reign of Louis XV, this title is as interesting as the first. Madame Pompadour was a young bourgeois girl when she first made the acquaintance of the King. Foretold her fate as the lover of the king by a gypsy as a child, she makes the most of her opportunities, quickly establishing herself as the favourite of the King. After her poor health causes the affair to end, she still remains a force to be reckoned with at Versailles, orchestrating the King's love life and politics with a deft hand. Really a very admirable woman who made the best of her life--in the commentary at the back, she was ranked as one of the three most influential women in Europe during her life. Looking forward to the next in the series, 'The Enemies of Versailles'.

Aug 01, 2016

This book explores the career of Jeanne Poisson, Madame de Pompadour, who becomes Louis XV's mistress in 1745. As the years pass, she becomes less a lover but retains a prominent role as Louis' friend and political advisor until her death in 1764. During those years, she takes on many rivals and vanquishes them all -- much to the King's other advisors' dismay and anguish. I love her method of keeping track of her defeated foes. This story also documents the increasing abuses of Louis' power and depraved appetites as France inches ever closer to the French revolution. An interesting glimpse into a lost time and place.

May 06, 2016

As a child, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson meets a gypsy that tells her she will one day be the king’s mistress and a very powerful woman. As she belongs to a modest bourgeois family, this prediction seems very outlandish, but her mother believes it and makes sure Jeanne gets the proper education of a lady. With a little help from her godfather’s connections at court, Jeanne manages to meet Louis XV, and they start a passionate love affair. She receives the title of Marquise de Pompadour, and her influence in Versailles grows despite her many enemies. Will she be able to hold the king’s attention despite of him being a notorious womanizer? Will her rivals be successful in banning her from court?

The Rivals of Versailles is a historical fiction and the second book in the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy. I found that the author’s writing style had significantly evolved since her first novel, even though she uses the same devices as in her debut: short chapters that often end with a letter. This gives the story a certain rhythm and helps it go forward in time. In addition, I thought that the Marquise de Pompadour was a fascinating woman, ambitious and bright. When I started reading, I believed the novel only told her story, but it also talks about Rosalie de Romanet-Choideul, Marie Louise O’Murphy and Marie-Anne de Mailly de Coislin, the women who each plotted to unseat the Marquise.

I especially enjoyed the book’s comedic moments, particularly during Rosalie and Marie-Anne’s short-lived stints in the king’s bed. However, at the beginning of the book, it sometimes seemed we didn’t have Jeanne’s end of the conversation, as dialogues only included what her interlocutors were saying. Surely, she couldn’t have charmed Louis XV without talking to him? On the whole though, this was a great read, and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the last book in the trilogy, The Enemies of Versailles, that will come out in the spring of 2017!

The Rivals of Versailles was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.

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