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Mistress of the Sun

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  2,842 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
The author of the internationally acclaimed Josephine B. trilogy presents a new, irresistible historical novel, based on the life of Louise de la Vallière, who, against all odds, became the most beloved consort of France's Louis XIV, the charismatic Sun King.

Set against the magnificent decadence of the seventeenth-century French court, Mistress of the Sun begins when the e
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Touchstone (first published 2008)
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22nd out of 345 books — 673 voters
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Historical Fiction - France
16th out of 354 books — 214 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 15, 2008 C.W. rated it it was amazing
In her first novel in eight years (following the international success of her Josephine B. trilogy) Sandra Gulland has chosen an enigmatic figure—Louise de la Vallière, mistress to Louis XIV and mother of four children by him. Louise has been overshadowed in history by her more glamorous successors and the flamboyance that characterized the later years of Louis’s reign, but in her captivating jewel of a novel Gulland offers an abso
Jing Rainbole
Jun 17, 2011 Jing Rainbole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finished the book, I sat and stared out the window, and just replayed the whole story in my head. Gulland's writing really made me connect to the character, Petite, or Mademoiselle de la Valliere. I love this book so much, and I fell in love with Petite, her morals and strength, characteristics I want to remember and try to live up to.

The story follows the life of Louise, a mistress of King Louis XIV. From her childhood where she demonstrated her courageous character through her passion f
Erika Robuck
Aug 07, 2010 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing
“The astrologer present at Petite’s birth had written…that her ‘affective sensibility tended to overheat,’ concluding with the warning that her mild manner veiled a voraginous passion. Petite had yet to discover what voraginous meant, but because of a line in the Aeneid (“Neptune came upon them, with all his vorages and his waves full of scum”), she thought it might have something to do with a whirlpool.” (Chapter Eight)

Mistress of the Sun, by Sandra Gulland, was published in the spring of 2008.
Feb 24, 2009 Elisabeth rated it it was ok
I have to admit, I was actually somewhat disappointed with this book. I really enjoyed the Josephine B. trilogy, and have read it a few times, and had really expected more from Sandra Gulland's second work. I felt that the characters were rather undeveloped --many of the characters felt very one-dimensional, despite opportunities to really flesh them out.

Also, the plot felt very patchy and unevenly paced. I didn't really care for the entire first section of the book, where I think the character
Nov 13, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
Deserted Island Book Rating System --
4 stars: Reread but only because there are no libraries on deserted islands.

I loved the main character for her morals, her drive, basically everything about her. I don't think there was a single other character I liked though. I felt that all characters aside from Petite herself really lacked depth, though they easily could have been fleshed out.

The pacing of this book felt so incredibly lopsided to me. So much time is spent telling us all about Petite's chil
Jun 27, 2012 Misfit rated it did not like it
Clearly I'm in the minority but I do not get all the hype. The author has stuck so many little details of 18C life (factual? I don't know) that in no way move the story along and it became quite irritating. Very slow paced, I gave up at page 200 and L&L are barely getting better acquainted. IMO you're better off reading Dumas' take on Louise and skip this. I wish I had.
Apr 15, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
4 stars, by Sandra Gulland. This book is the sister companion to The Shadow Queen, and I honestly loved them both. I am a great lover of historical fiction, and this one was no exception. It was a delight through and through. I wish I had reviewed it before reading Queen of the Night, as they are now getting conflated together. But as this is my first time posting reviews on Goodreads, I am now going for the last 5 or 6, and that is a shame. Particularly for this book. I remember parts of it tha ...more
Jun 02, 2008 Teddy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
Recommended to Teddy by: Harper Collins ARC
Shelves: read-in-2008
I just finished this very good work of historical fiction. Here are the links to my review: (Please vote if you feel so inclined):

My Blog (I would love to hear about the books you have read on this
topic or books by Sandra Gulland):

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
I bought this after reading Gulland's Josephine B trilogy which I loved! This one did not cut it for me though. There were so many times where I just wanted to toss it away and wipe my hands of the whole thing. I persevered though, barely.
Maia B.
Apr 05, 2011 Maia B. rated it it was ok
This book has an excellent premise, is set in a marvelous time period, and is full of mystery, intrigue, Lots of it. And yet it falls flat.

Petite and Louis's romance seems more based on sexual attraction than love. They don't talk to each other that much - mostly he pressures her into spilling other people's secrets (at least once) and they thrash around in bed, on the floor, outside... The two of them do not seem particularly well-matched and Petite seems to have trouble
Mar 01, 2012 Julia rated it did not like it
Shelves: historic
I read Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte trilogy and was totally in love with it, so I went for Mistress of the Sun imagining it to be as great as the trilogy
I recognize the hard researching work Gulland had to do for this book and I am in no way saying that I hated the novel. I managed to finish it, so it couldn't be too bad. But it was just such a disappointment.
I liked Gulland because she wrote about strong women and the Josephine books were full of them. But in Mistress of the
Jean Marie
Oct 10, 2010 Jean Marie rated it really liked it
I probably love this book for two reasons. One the story is brillantly written and the emotion of the mistress, Louise, is channeled perfectly, almost as if she herself had written this tale. The other reason I love this book is it was the book I was reading during my move away from home and during the part of the story where Louise moves away really touched me during the upheaval of my life.
The story is about Louise de la Valliere who was one of the many mistresses to Louis XIV of France, the
♔ Jessica Marie
Jun 05, 2009 ♔ Jessica Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, for-review
This book is set in one of my all time favorite historical eras; the court of the Sun King. I was immediately attracted to the main female character, Louise de la Valliere or as she's better known as, Petite. The book follows the life and the loves of Petite, which is constantly changing except for two things ... her infatuation of horses and her fear of the devil.

I absolutely fell in love with Mistress of the Sun. The characters are so well portrayed that you cannot help but become intertwined
Anna Karras
Feb 11, 2008 Anna Karras rated it really liked it
Man, I am a sucker for historical fiction.

And I am super lucky that as I librarian I get to review books for Library Journal. My editor Wanda, sends me about 6 historical fiction books a year, and I get to read them. This was the latest.

While in the past I have mostly been enamored of Tudor history, I have read a few on the French Court. This particular book was one of the mistresses of Louis XIV, better known as the Sun King. This is the king who built Versailles, and made France the greatest k
Aug 05, 2009 Nightfalltwen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I finished this a couple of days ago and decided to hold off on my review because I wasn't quite sure what I thought about it. After some time away from the book and some time to mull over my opinion, I have to say that I didn't hate it, but I didn't absolutely adore it either.

I found the plot would speed up and slow down repeatedly which made the entire book read very choppily.

It's hard to review historical fiction when it's based on people who actually existed. You've got Louis XIV and Louise
Jul 19, 2011 Allie rated it liked it
Well this was my first book to read after two months of studying for the my first part of the CPA exam. I enjoyed its simplicity. The constant references to witchcraft were interesting. I enjoyed learning about Versailles, especially since I am traveling to Paris in August and hope to convince my hubby to visit the palace with me!! Anyway a pretty good book... I will continue to read French Historical Fiction until I visit on August 15th.. Any suggestions anyone?!?! I have some lined up but will ...more
Carrie Slager
Feb 10, 2014 Carrie Slager rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-bought
Historical romance isn’t something I often read, but when I do make an exception to my rule I’m almost always impressed. Sandra Gulland succeeded in sucking me in to the world of King Louis XIV and his tumultuous, backstabbing court. It’s not often that I really believe how authors set up romances between known historical characters, but the one between Louise and Louis was quite natural. It was gradual, but with an undeniable, mysterious attraction.

Of course this book focuses more on characters
Tammy Frederici
I do love historical fiction!
Oct 20, 2015 Colleen rated it liked it
This book was pretty much everything I want in a lighter read. I'm not sure how Guilland managed to make a page-turner out of this plot, but she did. And the writing was strong enough that I didn't feel like my verbal skills were actively diminishing as I read.

The tropes around Petite as a "cool girl" (is that the right reference? Gone Girl?) were tired and got obnoxious, but like I said, sometimes you're just looking to be entertained without killing too many brain cells.
Jun 15, 2011 Recynd rated it really liked it
I rather enjoyed this story of Louise de la Valliere, a low-born noblewoman with a penchant for horses who caught the eye of the young Sun King, ultimately becoming his acknowledged concubine. Sandra Gulland is as deft a writer as she is a historian and the tale she weaves with "Mistress of the Sun", while perhaps not wholly original, was certainly worth the time it took to read and ultimately left me feeling a little better informed about the era than when I started.
Susan Ortega
Sep 21, 2011 Susan Ortega rated it it was amazing
Love that Petite, a lesser noblemans daughter who becomes the mistress of the King of France, is torn between her love for Louis the man, and the church. A horse whisperer, early in the book, tells young Petite that the devil gives away nothing for free. It is a delight to see this theme played out in several ways in the book. Its a page turner. ...more
Catherine Delors
Feb 22, 2010 Catherine Delors rated it it was amazing
Atmospheric and deeply moving, the life of Louis XIV's most discreet mistress, from Versailles to the Carmel.

Interview of Sandra on my blog:
Lynn Bornath
This book had everything from love and betrayal to grand parties and frightening medical practices. It was an excellent read and I recommend it. Read the full review.
May 04, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it
Set against the seventeenth-century French court, Mistress of the Sun begins when a young Louise falls in love with a wild white stallion and uses magic to tame him. This one action of her youth shadows her throughout her life. Unmarriageable, and too poor to join a convent, Louise enters the court of the Sun King, where the king is captivated by her. As their love unfolds, Louise bears Louis four children, is made a duchess, and reigns unrivaled as his official mistress until dangerous intrigue ...more
Apr 17, 2015 Bethany rated it really liked it
There are very few historical fiction authors who make me feel as completely immersed in the time period as Sandra Gulland does. After finishing this and her most recent book The Shadow Queen, I feel as though I've just returned from a lengthy time-traveling journey to the reign of the Sun King. I wasn't quite as enthralled with this one as I was with her Josephine B. trilogy, but it was still fascinating and engrossing and I kept finding myself picking it up to read "just a few more pages."

Apr 27, 2012 Nanci rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book. Reading this reminds me how much I enjoy French history, even though I don't spend as much time on it/reading about it as I should.
Jun 20, 2008 Danelle rated it really liked it
Although I didn't 'mourn' after finishing this book as I did with the Josephine B. trilogy, I devoured it just the same!
Apr 07, 2009 julia rated it it was amazing
excellent writing and captivating storyline. once again, brings history to life and humanizes the people of generations' past.
Dec 06, 2009 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just saw Sandra Gulland in SMA for a book reading. She was delightful and I am enjoying this book.
Laura Lee
May 21, 2012 Laura Lee rated it really liked it
Historical fiction, mistress of Louis IV. Really enjoyed it. This is not a bodice ripper. Good stuff.
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I'm the author of the JOSEPHINE B. TRILOGY, the internationally best-selling novels based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon's wife. The Trilogy is now published in 17 countries.

I most recently published THE SHADOW QUEEN, the "sister" novel of MISTRESS OF THE SUN. Both novels are set in the Court of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

An American-Canadian, I was born in Miami, Florida, and lived i
More about Sandra Gulland...

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“Splendid,' Abbé Patin said with a sheepish grin, pulling up alongside. 'There is nothing quite so thrilling as riding in fear of one's life.” 1 likes
“For the king, love like an alter fire, eternal” 1 likes
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