Misfit's Reviews > The Queen's Lover

The Queen's Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray
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Parts of this review will discuss events that are historical fact. If you aren't familiar with the French Revolution and the fate of royal family, it would be best to stop reading this review. And just so I don't get accused of spoiling, the book jacket and the first pages of the book make it clear that at least in this version Von Fersen and Marie Antoinette were lovers.

The Queen's Lover is the fictional memoirs of Count Axel Von Fersen, memoirs he wrote later in his life. These memoirs are being prepared for publication posthumously by his sister, so you get the odd chapter here and there where she inserts notes to clarify certain events and what not. I could waste time and words giving you a run down on the historical events this novel covers, but the book blurb tells you everything that happens and you could just read that and be done with it.

Sigh. Unfortunately, the memoir format does not work well, and I found Von Fersen to be a most unsympathetic leading man. I understand history says he was known to be quite the ladies man, but let's just say that the sexual details included in these supposed public memoirs are way too much information and add nothing to the story. The sexual descriptions are very clinical, and not necessarily just with the love of his life. Ick, ick, ick what he did (view spoiler). Thank goodness I'm not allowed to quote from the ARC, but if you're thinking you're going to get a fairy tale romance and twu wuv fowevar, you are going to be sadly disappointed.

As for the rest of the story? Tedious. Even Von Fersen's recounting of his attempt to get the royal family out of France was boring (Dumas does it better). Von Fersen's memoirs continue as he recounts events in France - events that he didn't personally witness - so there are endless pages of info dumping via super secret letters between him and Marie A. More info dumping when there's a gap in the Von Fersen's memoirs and the sister takes over and recaps events for you. Frankly, if you are already familiar with this period you aren't going to get anything new out of reading this novel. For those readers looking to learn more about the French Revolution and wanting to be entertained, I'd suggest reading the series written by Alexandre Dumas. At least that way, you can learn and be entertained at the same time.

2/5 stars, and I'm only giving that extra star for the descriptions of of Versailles and the court at the start of the book, I suggest passing on the rest of it. Library only, then buy it if you love it. Reviewed for Amazon Vine.
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Reading Progress

05/03/2012 page 67
22.0% "Oddest thing ever. *Someone* has taken dryline (white out) over a passage on this page. I can rub my fingers over it, it is not a reprint. Can't scrape it off without damaging the page further. Hmmm." 3 comments
05/14/2012 page 140
47.0% "Argh. Von Fersen is now safely tucked away back in Sweden and he's info dumping recounting events in Paris (including dialogue) in his *memoirs*. I am so bored..."
05/18/2012 page 170
57.0% "This is bordering on excruciating. Axel is supposedly writing his memoirs, but he's recounting events from the revolution - events he didn't witness personally (including dialogue!!). Talk about endless exposition."
05/18/2012 page 220
73.0% "Seriously skimming now." 2 comments
05/18/2012 page 234
78.0% "Oh. My. God. This is a man who is supposed to be mourning the love of his life?"
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Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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message 1: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane "Historical fiction of the highest order..." books blurbed like that tend to get my sharpest and most critical eye. Have you read this author before?


Misfit I know, those kind of comments set me on edge as well. Never heard of her, or this book. It popped up on the vine newsletter and the subject matter was of interest. I wonder how many books there are with the title The Queen's Lover. There's the Vanora Bennett one for starters.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

You know that synopsis pretty much tells the whole story. It's like watching a trailer for a new movie after which you might as well skip the movie.


Misfit Lila wrote: "You know that synopsis pretty much tells the whole story. It's like watching a trailer for a new movie after which you might as well skip the movie."

I pretty much skimmed it for a quick idea what it was about, but I have to agree with you there.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I think someone should shorten it because it does a disservice to what otherwise seems like a pretty interesting book. Especially for readers who are not all that acquainted with this period of history.


Misfit Who would we write to? The publisher? Or the author? I know GR librarians can make changes to books, but messing around with the jacket blurbs isn't something I'm going to touch.


message 7: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane I just want to be called Francine du Plessix Gray. Great name for an author.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Misfit wrote: "Who would we write to? The publisher? Or the author? I know GR librarians can make changes to books, but messing around with the jacket blurbs isn't something I'm going to touch."

Honestly, I don't know. Maybe some reviewers will notice it also and mention the fact in the reviews, so others won't be tempted to read the whole synopsis?


Misfit Jane wrote: "I just want to be called Francine du Plessix Gray. Great name for an author."

It is pretty fou-fou, isn't it?

Lila I think I might have an email contact at home for Penguin, might try that. I don't Twitter, but I think Penguin does. Perhaps we can get a Twitter campaign going? FB?

If they don't change it, that will be something I'll mention in a review.


message 10: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane Fortunately my eyes glaze over if a blurb is over 250 words. I generally decide whether I'm interested in a book in the first sentence.


Misfit Jane wrote: "Fortunately my eyes glaze over if a blurb is over 250 words. I generally decide whether I'm interested in a book in the first sentence."

Same here. Although it surely will help Klausner to have all that on the jacket when she gets to review it :p


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 26, 2012 06:51PM) (new)

That's funny Misfit, because I deactivated my twitter acct last year and deleted my fb months ago as well. Or rather unfortunate in this case. It would maybe help now :( they were both just such a waste of time and I started to get caught up in it. That's when I knew it was time to go.

Klausner will indeed have a field trip with it, lol!


Misfit Anyone who feels the jacket blurb gives away too much, I have an email contact from the backside of the ARC: Sarah Hutson, sarah.hutson@us.penguingroup.com

Please drop her a note it you can, thank you.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Misfit wrote: "Anyone who feels the jacket blurb gives away too much, I have an email contact from the backside of the ARC: Sarah Hutson, sarah.hutson@us.penguingroup.com

Please drop her a note it you can, thank..."


Thanks Misfit. Will do definitely.


Misfit Thanks, Lila.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan She's been writing for a long time; I think she writes in various genres.


Misfit Thanks Susan.


message 18: by the_cat (new)

the_cat ** gets the pop corn


Misfit It's not as lively as it might have been. I'd love to quote some of that squicky sex from the ARC, but you know how those rules go.


message 20: by Tanzanite (new)

Tanzanite Sounds like I'm glad I passed on this one.


Misfit Wise move. If this had been library I would have shut the book after a few chapters and walked away. Had to force myself to finish it.


Misfit I'll be naughty and quote in the comments. Quotes from ARC.

(view spoiler)

Ick ick ick. The next scene happened right after his final farewell to twu wuv MA:

(view spoiler)


Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) Pretty dull writing there.


Misfit Pretty dull book all around.


message 25: by MichelleCH (new) - added it

MichelleCH Aww too bad, such potential.


Misfit MichelleCH wrote: "Aww too bad, such potential."

There are some fairly positive reviews out there, so it could just be me again.


message 27: by MichelleCH (new) - added it

MichelleCH I have added it, but I am sure you are spot on...usually we seem to land in the same place :)


Misfit I know, but every once in a while fellow readers can go sideways on books. That's life :)


message 29: by MichelleCH (last edited May 24, 2012 06:25PM) (new) - added it

MichelleCH So true. That is the neat thing about Goodreads!


Misfit I know. It is actually OK to agree to disagree over books.


message 31: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane It would be very boring if we couldn't. I love all the variety of reading.


message 32: by Rio (Lynne) (last edited May 24, 2012 07:12PM) (new)

Rio (Lynne) I'll wait for the library.


Misfit Jane wrote: "It would be very boring if we couldn't. I love all the variety of reading."

Yep. I still don't understand the attitudes of some fan girls when you don't like the books of their very very favorite BFF authors. These things do happen. It's OK when they happen.

Rio (Lynne) wrote: "I'll wait for the library."

A wise move. I'm to the point of not wanting any advanced copies outside of a very small window of authors I'm already a fan of. I'm tired of having to slog through books I'm hating when there are so many books hanging around just begging to be read. The library will get them in the end.


message 34: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Q Thanks, Misfit. Just got an email about this one and was intrigued, but I think I'll skip it.


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