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To Dance with Kings

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,637 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
On a May morning in 1664, in the small village of Versailles, as hundreds of young aristocrats are coming to pay court to King Louis XIV, a peasant fan-maker gives birth to her first and only child, Marguerite. Determined to give her daughter a better life than the one she herself has lived, the young mother vows to break the newborn’s bonds of poverty and ensure that she ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by Broadway Books (first published 1988)
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Dec 22, 2009 Marian rated it liked it
Meh. A good friend of mine (whose opinion I seriously respect) has been recommending I read this book for YEARS. I finally borrowed it and I have to say, I'm a little underwhelmed.

Like most have written, the concept of this book is brilliant: following four generations of women through Versailles. The problem is the execution. I couldn't really get invested in any of their stories and Laker's writing is really awful. I like a trashy romance as much as the next person, but I found myself rolling
The blurb on the back cover of this novel proclaims:
"An epic generational tale of loves lost, promises kept, dreams broken, and monarchies shattered, To Dance with Kings is a story of passion and priviledge, humble beginnings and limitless ambition."
It pretty much sums it up.

The historical romance genre does not have much appeal for me, and I wasn't sure that I would like this book, but there are redeeming features such as the wealth of historical detail which sweeps us through the magnificent
Oct 11, 2008 Sheree rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
This is an intricately told tale set during the reigns of Louis XIV, XV & XVI with a backdrop of the splendours of the French court, culminating with the turbulence & horror of the French Revolution. This sweeping saga chronicles the rise and fall of Versialles, spanning four generations of women from the one family, Marguerite, Jasmin, Violette and Rose, all of whose destinies are entwined with those of their monarchs.

Rosalind Laker's superb imagery and historical accuracy brin
Neither has the substance to stand as a satisfying historical fiction nor does it succeed as historical romance, with its basically NA plot dressed up as some lofty historical generational saga. DNF@40%.

(view spoiler)
Nov 04, 2013 Sandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
800 strani iscitani so zadovolstvo ... Poveke traese ama vredese..
Nov 16, 2013 Marie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans!!!
Here is my review on my blog:
Maia B.
After three hundred pages I gave up.

This isn't because I don't like long books. I do. Emma, Gone With the Wind, The Once and Future King - all long books, and all among my favorites (well, GWtW isn't, but I do really like it). The reason I bought this one was because it was long and it looked silly and it would admirably fill a few long summer days.

Not really.

It's a multi-generational story, but what this really means is that it would be ten times better as a series of four books. Violette, from
Apr 27, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok
Shelves: given-to-gloria
phewww....glad to be done with it!! Not my usual genre anymore but I wanted an epic muligenerational family saga and that's what this is, I just should have picked somewhere other than France. I know nothing of the language or any of the areas that were frequently mentioned throughout this book. If you like this kind of thing, you'll probably like this book, but I found it incrediably B-O-R-I-N-G!!! A 600 page snoozefest, although thruthfully I died out and skipped the last 50 pages. It was noth ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this novel!!! The story of Chateaux Versailles' royal court during the reigns of three kings and told through the lives of four generations of woman!!! A must read for any historical fiction fan!!! So, so sad that the journey is over!!!
Dec 09, 2013 Marie80 rated it it was amazing
Многу ми се допадна!Повторно би ја читала..... и повторно..... и повторно.........
Dimitar Jovanovski
May 14, 2016 Dimitar Jovanovski rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Fantastic historical story told through four generations of strong women. A story full of love, twists, intrigues... One of my favourites, definitely.
First Sentence: "With the crimson, emerald and purple plumes of their hats streaming out behind them, four young men rode at speed into the village of Versailles one May morning in 1664, scattering squawking geese in their path."

To Dance with Kings follows 5 generations of women in France. Jeanne is a peasant woman whose chance meeting with 4 musketeers in the village of Versailles on the day of her daughter's birth makes her dream for an aristocratic life for her daughter she would have never
Sep 25, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2016
Beginning with a peasant fan-maker in the tiny village of Versailles giving birth to her only child, a girl named Marguerite, in May 1664, To Dance With Kings chronicles the lives of four generations of women, their fates all shaped in one way or another by the glittering court of Versailles from its inception under Louis XIV all the way to the French Revolution. It's an epic family saga and a vivid portrait of the reigns of three kings all in one.

I very much loved the concept of this book, whic
This was a long, fairly engrossing book, and I learned a lot about the lead-in to the French Revolution, and the Revolution itself, by reading it. I didn't know a ton about French history going into this, so that was interesting. I found the different generations of women to be a little too similar for my tastes--I felt like they weren't individual enough as characters--but I did find the arcs of their stories to be satisfying and realistic. My biggest gripe with this book was the extreme violen ...more
Dec 10, 2009 MAP rated it liked it
I tried, but I never could be swept off my feet by this one. The characters all seemed to blend together: when the women were young, they all had the same characteristics. As they got older, they all matured into a different set of same characteristics. Many actions and reactions seemed slightly off -- some from their historical counterparts (like Marie Antoinette) and some just from general human behavior. And the various romances and relationships never seemed to have any foundation, and there ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Katie rated it it was ok
I read this book because it popped up on a search for books similar to Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Somewhat similar genre, but nowhere NEAR as good as POtE or WWE. I liked the descriptions of style of clothing and court life of Versailles.
Jan 25, 2014 Jerrel rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I read this book YEARS ago but I remember LOVING it and recommending it to tastes change and I would imagine I would still enjoy it but perhaps it would be a 4 instead? I don't know. I can only go based on memory. Perhaps I'll pick it up and read it again.
Angela Scott
Aug 09, 2013 Angela Scott rated it really liked it
Definitely a good book with great historical facts!
Versailles, 1664. Peasant fan-maker Jeanne Dremont gives birth to a daughter, Marguerite. The birth is witnessed by a drunken musketeer, Augustin Roussier, who promises he will be back for Marguerite in seventeen years. Jeanne is thrilled by the promise, and vows that her daughter will rise from her poverty and become a member of the royal court; to do that, she will become Augustin's mistress.

So begins To Dance with Kings, a family saga which, starting from the reign of the Sun King and ending
Nov 20, 2015 Annette rated it really liked it
This is a story of three generations women beginning at the reign of King Louis XIV and ending with the French Revolution. The author does a great job bringing the atmosphere of the court of the Sun King and his progress on expending the famous palace of Versailles; and detailing the brutality of the French Revolution.

In 1664, in a small village of Versailles, France, a girl is born to a peasant fan-maker woman. She dreams for a better future for her only child. At the same time, Augustin, an a
mari dewitt
Feb 19, 2017 mari dewitt rated it it was amazing
WONDEFUL historical novel.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 20, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those Who Love Historical Romance
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This follows four generations of mothers and daughters from 1664 to 1793 and is set in Versailles through three reigns from the Sun King to Marie Antoinette, from the age of Lully and Moliere to that of Mozart and Voltaire to that of Robespierre.

It begins with the birth of Marguerite, the daughter of an artisan and a fan maker; she's named by a drunken musketeer who jokes he'll be back for her when she's seventeen. Her mother Jean takes the joke seriously though, and raises her daughter to expe
May 09, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I came across this book one day at the library of my high school in my sophomore year (more than 20 years ago). The cover caught my eye, so it became the one and only book I checked out of my high school library.

I started the book later that night and had a hard time putting it down. Two days later I finished it and so started my appetite for reading mass quantities of books. I did read when I was younger too, but being a teenager kind of got in the way for awhile. Another thing that started whe
Becky R.
Jun 19, 2011 Becky R. rated it it was amazing
As far as epic stories go, this story of Versailles at its height of glory was such a great read. Starting with Versailles as nothing more than a hunting lodge, being built and expanded, we come to be attached with the first daughter, Marguerite. Her life unfolds with love and tragedy, followed by her child and so forth. Each generation has its own challenges, loves, and back stories, so each new story just adds more to an already engaged storyline.

I really loved the long, epic sweep of this st
Yossra kerkeb
Mar 12, 2013 Yossra kerkeb rated it really liked it
To Dance with Kings was recommended to me by friend who kept on insisting I read this. I was reticent at first but I'm glad I gave it a shot.
The story takes place in Versailles and starts when Louis XIV ruled until the French revolution. So basically what we have is Jeanne Drémont a peasant's wife in the village of Versailles,specialised in the making of fans.
Jeanne has wanted a child for a long time and is giving birth to her daughter in the beginning of the story. While she's,actually,givi
Interesting insight into the time of the French Revolution with an entertaining story.
May 18, 2014 Deslyn1262 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Deslyn1262 by: book club selection
This is the book which got me hooked on historical romances. I bought it through a monthly book club in 1989 and I read it so many times over the years that it fell apart. Although I have tons of books on my ereader, I recently order another hard copy for my library. History, romance, political upheaval and engaging characters all skillfully combined in this masterpiece. If you love historical romances you should read this book.

I was transported to the French court with the detailed descriptions
Jun 01, 2012 Janet rated it liked it
This was a very long story and still I liked it. The story and characters were good. It took place over four generations which made it always changing and interesting. The dilemas and predicaments the characters faced being in such close proximity to that much power also made it interesting and heartbreaking at times. A remarkable thing to note is that every single character in the book gazed at one another "up through long and lush lashes" (is that possible?)which must have been a real hoot if ...more
Beth Bedee
This is definitely a sweeping saga. It follows the lives of 4 generations of women through their connection with the court at Versailles. I enjoyed it.

I felt more connected to some women than others, but that's what reading about characters is all about. I couldn't put down the section on Jasmine because I felt her story was so tragic. I also enjoyed Rose's story because I'm obsessed with the French Revolution, although she angered me at times with her stubbornness.

I liked how the common theme
Jun 30, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! If you're on the fence in reading this one, I'd say go for it! For you speedy readers, it'll take you no time at all!

This story spans four generations of women; Marguerite, Jasmin, Violette and Rose and their connections to the French court in Versailles under the rule of Louis XIV, XV, ending with XVI and the French revolution. Lesser in the typical 'erotic' style storyline/writing that I normally prefer reading- this one was a refreshing change in genre! I loved th
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A pseudonym used by Barbara Øvstedal.

Barbara Øvstedal was an author previously writing under the pseudonym Barbara Paul and Barbara Douglas. She wrote a few books under this pseudonym but later changed to Rosalind Laker when Barbara Paul gained recognition. Her many books include The Sugar Pavilion and To Dance with Kings.
More about Rosalind Laker...

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“Women were not and never had been the weaker sex, she reflected. They could make sacrifices from which men would ever shy away.” 1 likes
“In her own mind she was adding that forgiveness did not necessarily mean that forgetting went with it.” 0 likes
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