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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  41 reviews
1676. In a hovel in the centre of Paris, the fortune-teller La Voisin holds a black mass, summoning the devil to help an unnamed client keep the love of Louis XIV.

Three years later, Athenais, Madame de Montespan, the King's glamorous mistress, is nearly forty. She has borne Louis seven children but now seethes with rage as he falls for eighteen-year old Angelique de Fontan
Paperback, 300 pages
Published September 15th 2016 by Fireship Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction has a higher bar for me. Not only do I need riveting characters that wheedle and panic and scheme; I need to smell the powder on their wigs and see the sores on their faces. Not only do I need a gripping plot filled with intrigue and peril; I need to feel the heat of the execution pyre and the motion of the royal carriage as it rolls across the countryside.

This book offers all of that and more. (It also manages to do so within a reasonable number of pages, unlike many bloated
Amy Bruno
Heads up, HistFic lovers! CHARLATAN by Kate Braithwaite is on sale for only $.99!
Helen Hollick
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
' Kate Braithwaite has crafted a compelling and convincing piece of writing out of a real-life scandal. '
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
Vanessa Couchman
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and well-researched tale woven around the "Affair of the Poisons" during the reign of Louis XIV.

Athénaïs de Montespan, Louis' official mistress of longstanding, has fallen out of his favour. At the same time, interrogations are taking place to determine who has used the services of quacks to rid themselves of inconvenient spouses or to take part in black masses to regain the lost affections of lovers. The inquiries go right to the heart of Louis' court and people at the highest leve
Maren Albans
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kate Braithwaite's debut novel, Charlatan, is an incredibly well-crafted book. You are instantly taken to Louis XIV's France, with mystery, intrigue, and intricate plot lines. Kate's style is easy to read, her descriptions are vivid, her characters are well-developed, and her depth of historical research is impressive. This book kept me hooked right through to the end. ...more
C.P. Lesley
Paris, 1676. At the house of the fortuneteller Catherine Montvoisin (La Voisin), while two hooded forms watch, a wayward priest burns a piece of parchment in a spell designed to awaken the passions of Louis XIV of France. Three years later, those performing the ceremony become the target of a police investigation into the so-called Affair of the Poisons. Through interrogation, strategic imprisonment, and selective executions, the police gradually close in on La Voisin. But because of confessions ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've long been fascinated by the French court of Louis XIV, and I've always rather fancied myself sweeping the long corridors of Versailles, but since I am not in possession , as yet, of a time travelling machine, I have to rely on the work of good authors, like Kate Braithwaite, to bring this period alive in my imagination.

From the very beginning of this story my imagination was fired and even as I turned the first page I was transported back to a dark and dirty time, back to a time where dange
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Charlatan is a fictional historical read based on the real life revelations of the Affair of the Poisons. I have to admit this is the first historical novel I’ve read set in the 17th century. The story begins in Paris, 1676, with a dark, terrible mass ceremony is undertaken with words of witchcraft and sorcery and unimaginable scenes all in the name of snaring a lover. The story continues 3 years later with the King’s Officers of the Law conducting extensive interviews, interrogations, torture a ...more
Andrea Todd
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! To be true, I forced myself to pay attention through the prologue and try to make sense of the scene enfolding, I wondered if the whole book would require this level of concentration. I adore historical fiction, but this felt more like a scene of religious black magic. Indeed it was. Slow to pick-up on the book's theme, as the story would tighter, I found myself sometimes reading with mouth agape hunched forward waiting to be told what would happen next. At one point, while figh ...more
VERDICT: Brilliant evocation of a scandal that shook the court of Louis XIV. With witchcraft, love, jealousy, the French royals made it just as exciting as the Tudors, and Braithwaite makes you feel you were in their midst. A great new voice in historical fiction.

my full review is here:
Sarah Miller
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gripping! Based on meticulous research, Kate Braithwaite’s masterful historical fiction Charlatan transports readers back through time to the 17th century, to witness the intrigue and politics of French nobility and society. Its vivid portrayal of the triumphs and trials of daily life are sure to capture readers’ hearts and minds.
Nov 10, 2016 added it
Excellent piece of historical fiction! Will have you captivated and intrigued
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, france, paris
This book has a dark beginning that sets the scene for an extraordinary tale, played out behind the opulence and glamour of the court of Louis XIV in the late 1600’s, where wife, mistress, lover and children (legitimate and not) play the daily carousel around the Sun King.

Athénaïs, Madame de Montespan, has been Louis’s favoured mistress long enough to bear him seven children, but the King’s eyes are now on another. What lengths will she go to, to keep his affections, and is her position in court
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
I absolutely loved this book and it hooked me from the start. After having recently watched the BBC TV historical drama Versailles this was the perfect book to keep me going when the series finished. I enjoyed the fact that it focused in on one of the storylines touched upon in the TV series and explored it in much more detail. The writing was so elegantly done that I had to keep to reminding myself it was a book I was reading and not still part of the TV series.
1676. In a hovel in the centre o
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
An intriguing and engaging historical fiction novel, Which when reading you can tell it has been widely and well researched. The descriptions of Paris and the individual locations in the book are so vivid you can almost touch, hear, and smell them. The characters are well described and you really get the feel of life as the Kings mistresses at the court of Louis XIV, King of France. The dark side of Paris and the world of fortune tellers and poisoners is an interesting angle of court life. You d ...more
Melissa Muldoon
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written, well-researched novel that looks into the Affair of the Poisons during the reign of Louis XIV. Police chief La Reynie conducts an investigation that takes him down a dark path of sorcery, witchcraft, and other unseemly practices hoping to uncover the truth behind the so-called witch La Voisin and a most famous client who has an intimate connection to the King. A history buff, still I hadn’t heard of this case. It was a delight to read and be taken away to ...more
Penny-sue Wolfe
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By no means is this my usual read, infact i am very much a contemporary setting kind of reader. But what drew me to this book was the fortune teller as i love the dark side.
This book did not disappoint! The twists and turns were so exciting! You fall in love with the characters and hope that the badness doesnt touch them. Found it difficult at times to keep up with who was who due to it being set in France. And it is based on real life people! A cracking read! Five stars!!
Chris Tunnicliffe
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great read about France in the 1600's. This book covers the hunt to uncover witches, Fortune tellers and the like, documenting the methods used to extract confessions and the lies some people would tell to save themselves. The methods of torture used were described in all there brutality.
Charlatan gives good descriptions of the way the royal court was and tells the story of real people in history.
If you are a fan of historical stories this is an awesome read.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing historical fiction, well imagined and richly detailed. The story was set in a place and period of time that I knew very little about, and I think it says lot about this book that reading it has made me want to know more about this time. An engrossing plot with lots of tension, interesting characters, and dialogue that reads as if you are in the same room, this was a much enjoyed book.
Georgina Roberts
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read, told from the point of view of two sets of people, one set courtiers at the Royal Court and the other set prisoners charged with crimes against the king.
I love historical fiction but haven't read any before about foreign kings and queen, this book set in France was a good one to go with I believe. I would definitely like to read more about French history now after reading this.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
An interesting read about a part of history.. French history.. that I wasn't familiar with.
The palace intrigues of the court of King Louis and the conspiracies by his women to retain what belonged to them made for fascinating reading.
Athenais was an interesting character who pulled me into her story.
Sapna Chamaria
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this book.. takes you back into time with its convincing characters and story line. One of my favourite historical reads!
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this, quick read, but well written, suspenseful.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have a feeling this is me, as all other reviews are good but I did not enjoy this book. I had a heck of a time getting into it, the beginning is dense, full of unnecessary names, and took far to much effort to understand. I stuck with it hoping it would get better, at least for me it didn't. It did get easier to follow after about half way, but it remained flat without a lot of redeeming qualities. ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting read but I did find it a bit lightweight after reading Paris by Edward Rutherford. It reminded me too much of books I used to read as a teenager about Louis XIV and his love life.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
With vivid descriptions of the glamour and opulence of 17th century France, author Kate Braithwaite has written an impressive novel that brings her readers into King Louis XIV's court. It is a place filled with deception, carrying favour, scandal and intrigue. When new revelations come to light concerning the use of Dark magic, panic ensues within the court as certain people are threatened to be prosecuted for witchcraft.

Police attempt to figure out who is dabbling in the Dark Arts and will not
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Braithwaite's Charlatan is a delightfully raw read that gets under your skin. One of the King's mistresses, Athenais, is aging and he's preferring fresher flesh. She is desperate to win back the affections of her King, for the welfare of her many children. When she is introduced to the world of witchcraft, she thinks she's dabbling with harmless love potions. But she finds herself at the centre of a scandal so dark it stands to jeopordise everything she has built with the King. The novel holds t ...more
Leslie Lindsay
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dark, intricate tale of sorcery and witchcraft set in 17th century France.

Kate Braithwaite's CHARLATAN is brimming with intrique, power, mystique. There's more.

Scandal. Panic. Fortune tellers. Scheming woman. Love affairs. Prisoners in dungeons.

It's dark, intricate plotting, well-developed characters will pull you in and not let you go even when you're taken on a bumpy journey in a royal carriage down rutted roads to the execution pyre. You'll feel the heat, your nose will singe with the sc
Mickey Watkins
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MZ Fairtlough
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
To what lengths would you go for love? That is the question at the heart of Charlatan, Kate Braithwaite’s debut novel about sorcery, jealousy and intrigue at the glamorous court of Louis the Sun King.

Braithwaite paints an irresistible picture of the magnificently decadent court of Louis XIV on the one hand, and the hell of Paris’s underbelly on the other. The thread that ties these worlds together is the temptation to call on the darker side of nature to achieve our deepest desires. Aristocrats
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