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 is quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades of 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 irrevocable change.
March 21, 2017 at
Here we are at the end of another favorite trilogy. And what an ending it is. Because each book deals with different mistresses of the king they can be read as standalone but I highly recommend starting at the beginning with The Sisters of Versailles, which I think is my favorite in the series. The Rivals of Versailles is Book #2, click on titles to take you to my review.
Jeanne Becu is a young child only seven years old when we first meet her. She will spend the next 10 years in a convent, but it is while working in dress shops that her life takes an about face after Comte du Berry walks in. She will become the last Mistress of Louis the XV, life isn't boring, how can it be in the French court?
Plus being hated by the King's own daughters doesn't help. Alternating chapters with Princess Adelaide, never married and obsessed with hating Jeanne she managed to convince others to do so also. Born into privilege with every advantage she wastes it. Knowing the king always had mistresses, but this one is of such low birth, her religious upbringing and judgmental attitude take over her life. There is so much in life she is missing out on that I actually felt sorry for her.
I love the authors writing style, her words took me to France, I could feel the hostility between these two women as they both just wanted to make the king enjoy his final years of life. I love reading about strong women in history, especially ones I am unfamiliar with, in location and time periods I rarely venture into and this series did not disappoint.
Reading this series has perked my interest in French history, the scandal, liaisons rival those of the English. Definitely a series I highly recommend.
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Sally Christie is the author 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 spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.
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