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Archive - Open Reads > May - Frech Royalty Reviews

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message 1: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (last edited Apr 23, 2012 11:36AM) (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1546 comments Mod
Please post your reviews for the French Royalty books you read for the month in this folder. Remember, each review will earn you a chance to be a picker in the future.

message 2: by Christie (new)

Christie (christiesmith) I just finished The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson. I was not impressed. Anyone wanting a novelization of Marie Antoinette's life would be better served by reading Juliet Grey's Becoming Marie Antoinette. Erickson calls her book "historical entertainment" not a historical novel, which I guess gives her free rein to make stuff up. (view spoiler) I did not like the diary format at all. Months and sometimes years would go by between entries. The book is supposed to span Marie Antoinette's life from the time she is a teenager to right before her execution. The tone never changes and the character doesn't seem to grow at all over the course of the book. Some important and historical events that happened to Marie Antoinette are completely left out. The book was entertaining and a quick and easy read.

I'm also getting ready to read To Dance with Kings: A Novel and hope to finish it before the end of the month.

message 3: by Christie (new)

Christie (christiesmith) I actually ended up reading a semi-French Royalty related book without meaning to. Just read Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers. It is a young adult historical fiction/fantasy book about a young female assassin (I know probably not realistic) serving in the court of and befriending Anne, Duchess of Brittany (then 12 years old) who would later marry Charles VIII of France in 1491 and Louis XII of France in 1498 after Charles' death. The daughter from her 2nd union would also be queen of France as wife of Francis I. Though not strictly a royalty-related book, Grave Mercy did provide a fascinating look into the early years of Anne of Brittany and the consequences of the multiple betrothals her father had made for her before he died. I look forward to learning more about her. I just thought it was interesting that I picked up a book about French royalty without even planning to.

message 4: by Lyn (Readinghearts), The mod of last resort/Mod #3 (last edited May 25, 2012 12:13PM) (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 1546 comments Mod
Christie wrote: "I actually ended up reading a semi-French Royalty related book without meaning to. Just read Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers. It is a young adult historical fiction/fantasy book about a young female a..."

Christie - I read this one last month and LOVED it. I can't wait for the next one to come out. I loved all the political intrigue that the author put in the book. And, like you, I thought it was interesting to bring Anne of Brittany to light and want to learn more about her.

message 5: by Christie (new)

Christie (christiesmith) I know I'm a little late, but I just finished To Dance with Kings: A Novel by Rosalind Laker yesterday.

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 thought possible before. Marguerite, Jeanne's daughter, becomes caught up in the Sun King's court at Versailles and begins a passionate love affair which changing political tides cut short. Jasmin, Marguerite's daughter, leads a charmed life until she catches the eye of Louis XV and is banished from court. Violette, Jasmin's daughter, has a rebellious streak that leads her to the dark underworld of Versailles. Finally, Rose, Violette's daughter, as Marie Antoinette's lady-in-waiting finds herself caught up in the violence and terror of the French Revolution.

This book was the kind of historical epic that I very much enjoy. There are many real-life main characters, including: the kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI, their consorts, mistresses, and enemies. The Palace of Versailles plays a large role in the book almost as a main character itself. The book follows it beginning with it's transformation from a rarely used hunting chateau to the premier royal residence in Europe to its downfall in the revolution. The rooms are described with such vivid detail that you almost feel you are there. Then there are the women themselves which are who the book focuses on. They are very well-drawn and it is very easy to get swept away with their stories. You feel their tragedies and triumphs, their great romances and great losses. I did not really have a favorite among them, I loved reading about all. They were all quite fascinating.

I used it for the Royalty Reading Challenge as a book where a castle/palace/royal residence features prominently. The descriptions of Versailles are amazing and it really is like a character in the book.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette (other topics)
Becoming Marie Antoinette (other topics)
To Dance with Kings (other topics)
Grave Mercy (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

R.L. LaFevers (other topics)
Rosalind Laker (other topics)