French author Annie Pietri crafts an interesting historical novel of the court of Louis XIV. At fourteen, young Marian serves the King's favorite and mistress, Athenais, a beautiful marquise. The Marquise revels in her favor at court, but is filled with paranoia and greed. She keeps Marian close, employing her natural talents as a perfumer creating fragrances to meet her wishes. The danger of the marquise's greed becomes known to Marian and she realizes that the queen and the young dauphin are in danger from this unscrupulous woman. The dark intents within the story are offset by Marian's respect of nature within the royal grounds filled with flowers and groves of beloved orange trees.
This is a well-written novel with a length that provides a good story but will keep newer readers from getting marred down in the historical setting. It includes a short appendix on perfumes during and since the seventeenth century.