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In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches inevitable revolution.

416 pages, Paperback

First published March 21, 2017

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About the author

Sally Christie

4 books386 followers

I’m a life-long history buff and I really wish time travel were a possibility—I’d be off to the eighteenth century in a flash!

Since I can’t travel back in time (yet), I have done plenty of global travel: as a child I lived in England, Canada, Argentina, and Lesotho, and attended eight schools in three languages. I continued my global wanderings with a career in international development, but now I’m settled in Toronto and loving it.

The Sisters of Versailles is my first novel, though I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. When I’m not writing I’m reading, reading, reading; disappearing down various rabbit holes of historical research, and playing lots of tennis.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 110 reviews
Profile Image for Karina.
849 reviews
December 10, 2019
Although I really enjoyed this one it was not my favorite. It was a dual narrative from King Louis XVs daughter Madame Adelaide and the last known mistress Jeanne Becu. Adelaide was supposed to be a pious and virtuous daughter but she comes off vain, bitter, and angry. Her words are almost lusty for her father and just when I felt empathy for her she quashed it with her arrogance. While I liked Madame du Barry (Becu) with her kindness and her story I found her self interest and stupidity annoying.

I did like how the author introduces the young dauphine, Marie Antoinette, and the whole consummation trouble the new heir and King had, just as King Louis is dying. The peasants are getting angry and Marie is slowly paying for her childish ways. The last 100 so pages were a bit worthless as in to say; I think the author should have started a new novel with that ending to make it into a new beginning.

It was a good end to the trilogy but not the juiciest of the three. I think the author did great with her historical fiction knowledge.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews798 followers
June 26, 2019
Here we are at the end, the last book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy that started with the Sisters of Versailles and the five Nesle sister sisters, with four of them becoming mistresses to the King before Marquise de Pompadour took over the story and the King's affection in The Rivals of Versailles. In The Enemies of Versailles is Marquise de Pompadour dead and it's Jeanne Becu later Comtesse du Barry that will be the last mistress of the King. With du Barry comes also the end as the French revolution is looming on the horizon. She may not be the one to bring down a dynasty. But, the world she will come to belong to, the court is miles away from the ordinary people. And, the people have had enough! Off with the heads!

The Enemies of Versailles is a fabulous ending to a fabulous trilogy. I have enjoyed each book, but I have to admit that The Rivals of Versailles is the book I loved the most. Why, because I came to adore Marquise de Pompadour. She was such a marvelous person and the one that perhaps was the best for the Louis XV. I found her to be both strong and smart. Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry, on the other hand, is in her own way a very nice person. I did not, however, like her as much as I liked de Pompadour. But, what I liked with Comtesse du Barry is her like of scheming, it was everyone else around her that schemed. I think she would have been just as happy with a comfortable life with someone that she loved. Now, the book also had the point of view from Adelaide, the daughter of Louis XV. And I liked the contrast between the two main characters. Adelaide is such a stuck up person, who all through her life only wants her father's love. But, every mistress he has is an enemy to her, but it's not much she can do about that.

The books can be read separately, but I recommend starting from the beginning. By starting from the first book will you meet a young Louis XV and you get to follow his life through the women that he chose as mistresses. Also, through the books, can one also follow the growing dissatisfaction among the people.

Sally Christie is a superb author and when I came to the end of this book was all I could think "I want more, I want her to continue the story, I want the story of Napoleon through the eyes of the women around him".

4.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
Profile Image for Debbie W..
760 reviews566 followers
April 15, 2020
What an incredibly satisfying end to this trilogy! Once again, Sally Christie paints a sumptuous narrative through the POV of Louis XV's mistresses, and in this book, also through one of his daughters. The conversations/thoughts of these women, although ignorant of the plight of France's citizens, were at times quite amusing, especially through the unfinished similes. These characters were so relatable that I felt a deep sympathy for their demise. Christie is a master storyteller! Her descriptions of the opulent surroundings, including the food, clothing, jewellery and overall settings made me feel that I was a part of Versailles. I recommend reading these books in chronological order so that you "get" some of the references.
Elizabeth Wiley is a superb narrator! Her voices for female as well as male characters were so distinctive and believable. I love how she narrates death scenes - very heart-wrenching!
I highly recommend these books/audio-books to any historical fiction fan!
Profile Image for Lois .
1,863 reviews477 followers
December 5, 2019
This was easily my favorite installment of the trilogy. This book features 2 distinct voices: Adelaide the daughter of Louis XVth and Madame Du Barry, the last mistress of Louis XV.
I do not necessarily agree with the authors portrait of DuBarry as kind, placating and people pleasing. I rather like her but she was most definitely scheming and calculating. Versailles was a court that required much scheming and calculation.
Profile Image for Anna.
869 reviews46 followers
April 4, 2017
I loooove this trilogy Sally Christie has cooked up here. I love it enough to put Christie on my list of favorite historical fiction writers, despite the fact that this trilogy is her only published work so far. She's just so talented.

Taking "The Enemies of Versailles" as a stand-alone, I really enjoyed it, although it was my least favorite of the trilogy (my favorite being Book 2, "The Rivals of Versailles" - it's really, really hard to beat Madame de Pompadour). It tells the story from dual perspectives: that of Louis XV's final mistress, the Comtesse du Barry, and that of one of Louis XV's daughters, Adélaïde.

It's strange to say I liked the book when I didn't really like either of the protagonists. Marie Antoinette is tied for my favorite historical personage ever (with Anne Boleyn), and so I've read a TON about this time period. However, everything I've read/watched thus far portrays du Barry as basically a big bitch, someone who was with Louis XV only for the power and prestige and jewels, and who didn't care at all about being a nice person. Christie chose to portray her in a more sympathetic, kinder light; probably partly due to the fact that she is the protagonist here and not Marie. I still didn't find much in common with her flighty, frivolous personality though - but neither did I find much in common with Adélaïde, the aging, grumpy, rule-stickler, prude daughter of Louis XV. They are almost mirror opposite characters, so they were interesting to see played off one another: Adélaïde is just as straight-laced as Jeanne du Barry is bubbleheaded. Marie Antoinette is relegated to a side character here, so that was a change of pace from my norm (I am hoping Christie eventually decides to write something from her point of view).

Despite not having much love for either du Barry or Adélaïde, that doesn't ruin the book for two reasons. Firstly, Christie manages to portray empathy and humanity in even the most annoying characters. This is the time period in which the French Revolution begins, bloody and terrifying, changing these characters' entire lives. du Barry's attitude and priorities are silly right up to the end (and I'd argue she gets even more frivolous as the danger increases), but instead of making me angry, this made me feel pity for her and her inability to A) realize the full implications of what was happening to her and B) change her fate. Adélaïde, in true mirror fashion, does the opposite: the turbulent times make her realize that everything she thought was so important before really wasn't, and she wishes she would have been more loving and more open to those she loved - although by this point, it made me feel for her because it's a big case of too little too late.

The other reason I adored this book/series is the way that Christie writes about this reign. There is nowhere I'd like to go back in time to see more than Versailles during this time - the fashion, the scandals, all the craziness. Christie portrays it all the best I've ever seen it done. Anyone interested in French history, really good historical fiction, and anything I've written about here should check out this amazing trilogy.
Profile Image for Jenny Q.
1,007 reviews54 followers
March 27, 2017
Giveaway @ Let Them Read Books!

4.5 Stars. If you follow my reviews, you know that I adored the first two books in Sally Christie's Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, both making my list of best books in the years they were released, and I was awaiting the final installment with a mix of anticipation and sadness. Madame du Pompadour's novel was a tour-de-force, and she left huge footsteps to follow. I was skeptical that I could fall in love with the woman who took her place alongside an ageing king who had grown so debauched, cruel, and oblivious that no woman could possibly want to be his mistress for anything other than the perks. But I was wrong.

We first meet Jeanne Becu as a seven-year-old child working as a servant in a courtesan's household. Her unparalleled beauty, even at such an early age, makes life difficult for her as lecherous men seek to take advantage of her and women are jealous of her. She soon finds herself shipped off to a convent, where she spends the next ten years of her life. Though she stifles under such harsh living conditions and religious teachings, Jeanne's generous heart and sweet nature earn her many friends, and when she is finally released, she quickly lands a job at one of Paris's most exclusive dress shops, where beautiful girls attract customers and help sell the wares. Then one day the Comte du Barry walks in, and the rest is history. I knew little about Jeanne other than that she was Louis XV's last mistress, so there were a few surprises for me as I savored this story, some delightful, some tragic, so I will leave the details of what happens from here for the reader to discover.

This book differs from the others in that we have alternating chapters from the viewpoint of Jeanne's avowed enemy, Princess Adelaide. Desperate for any scrap of attention from her father, she determines to be a spinster and convinces her younger sisters to do the same, so that she may always be at her father's court. Thus she never knows romantic love and cannot understand the appeal of intimacy. Though she has a list of reasons why Jeanne, "the harlot," as she calls her, is an abomination in the world of Versailles, underneath it all, her hatred stems from nothing more than pure jealousy. She fosters animosity toward Jeanne in every courtier she speaks to and quickly turns the new dauphine, Marie Antoinette, against her. Adelaide is so resistant to change, so wrapped up in comporting herself in the manner she thinks befitting a princess of France, so blinded by her own self-importance that she allows the best of what life has to offer pass her by. In the end, the death of Louis XV sets both women adrift.

The contrast between these two women could not be more stark. I love Jeanne! A truly sweet soul, she is a free spirit, easily contented, a breath of fresh air at court for those smart enough to embrace her, and she genuinely enjoys making people happy. She managed to see qualities in Louis that not many did, and she brought out a side of him that actually managed to make me feel sorry for him, which I thought impossible after declaring my undying hatred for him at the end of Pompadour's book. I dreaded seeing how the court would snuff out her light. She faces more criticism and ostracizing than any of his other mistresses due to her low birth and the few years she spent as a courtesan under Barry's tutelage. Her beauty, charm, and joie de vivre do manage to win over some of the courtiers, but she faces constant ridicule and rude behavior. My heart ached for her at times. On the other hand, Adelaide is so ridiculous in her rigidity that I would despise her if I didn't feel so sorry for her. She becomes a relic in a world that is moving on without her.

Because I really didn't warm to Adelaide, even though she is necessary to give us a complete picture of the court and the political crisis developing, and because I sometimes had trouble following the passage of time--in some places the story jumped ahead years in a blink and in others only a few months had passed when it felt like years--and because I also found parts to be somewhat repetitive as Jeanne and Adelaide often described the same events as they alternated chapters, I thought I would end up rating this book a tad lower than the others. But the final chapters, in which the French Revolution comes for both women, were so intense, so fraught with emotion, and so devastating, that my estimation went right back up. And that final page had me in tears, as did the author's note.

The author describes this as a trilogy that "examines the personal life of a controversial monarch through the lives of his many mistresses, with a focus on those intimate moments that make history, just as surely as wars and great men do." And that is a perfect description. All three of these books focus on the very human side of history, the lives lived behind the facts that made the history books, the women relegated to the shadows of famous men's legacies. These are sexy, decadent, intimate, and emotional glimpses into the final years of Versailles' glory and the downfall of the nobility, and though I am sad to see this trilogy come to an end, I can't wait to see what Sally Christie will write about next.
Profile Image for Ellie.
340 reviews18 followers
December 23, 2016
How I wish there were going to be Books #4, #5, #6...etc. I loved this trilogy. Sally Christie has brought to life the intricacies of the women of Versailles. The daughters of Louis XIV, as well as the Pompadour, Mantenon, and Madame Du Barry, all come to life in these epic novels. And I shouldn't forget Marie Antoinette along with her high hair. This is the last book, unfortunately, but as delicious as the first and second. The clothes, the whispers, the looks, the snobbery, the laughter....all so well written about. Thank you Sally, I look forward to reading more of your books! This entire trilogy was fantastic. It was wonderful to loose myself in them. Thank you Atria Books and NetGalley for the perusal!!
Profile Image for Carole P. Roman.
Author 72 books2,204 followers
April 15, 2017
I loved this book. Don't ask me why I started with this one, but I did and I ordered the other two and will read them next. The story of Jeanne Du Barry captivated me from the very first page. Sally Christie breathes life into her pages, creating a court of very different women, their voices so real, I felt like I was wandering the halls of Versailles right along with them. Madame Adelaide, Louis XV elitist daughter disdains her father's immoral lifestyle creating a rift in their relationship that leaves her both bitter and heartbroken. No man can measure up to her perfect father and she clings to her royal superiority. Her rigid viewpoints won't bend when the young dauphine, Marie Antoinette brings change to the stuffy court. She believes relaxation of routines and rules will bring down the entire society. She incites the new princess to join their resistance to welcoming her father's mistress.
Jeanne du Barry sweeps into the kings life creating a haven of peace from the rigors of ruling. Her refreshing candor is a fine escape for him, but she wants more. She want to be accepted by his court. A civil war ensues pitting daughter against mistress leaving the king embroiled in their conflict. While he is an absolute monarch in total control of his country, he cannot make his children accept his lady love and bring her the happiness she gives to him.
This story was rich and it transported to me to another time. Versailles in all its glory was...glorious. The food, the jewels, the glamour of the court was enjoyable to read about. In contrast, the king;s death, followed by political unrest and the horrors that became the French revolution entered the book tiptoeing softly until it smothered the splendor of the great court, extinguishing the end of the 18th century and ushering a new age that would change the world. Sally Christie's book is simply brilliant.
Profile Image for The Lit Bitch.
1,252 reviews391 followers
March 17, 2017
Here we are yet again with another book series reaching its conclusion! On the whole this has been a solid, well written, and interesting series and I was sad to see it coming to an end.

I had big expectations for this conclusion and overall I wasn’t disappointed.

There is something so elegant and magnetic about the French court…..at least for me. While my heart will always be in the British court, the French have an elegance and lure that is different than other books on royalty. Having enjoyed the other two books in the series, I was excited to see where this book would take us in the court.

I’ve read some books on royal mistresses so I know a little about the Comtesse du Barry before reading this story. Of all Louis’s mistresses, this was the one that intrigued me the most. Reading her story (albeit the historical fiction version) was insightful and intriguing. One of the things that I noted about Christie’s other books, was the way she portrays her female lead characters.

I’ve read a a lot of nonfiction books on royalty and that talk about the relationships Louis had with his mistresses, but none of the books made the mistresses stories as ‘real’, sexy, and yet modern as Christie has done in her books. And this installment was no different.

Christie keeps the dialogue modern, the text crisp, and the historical facts to the point and relevant. She doesn’t go off on tangents and I love that about her novels! The story alternates between Jeanne and Madame Adelaide’s perspectives which kept things interesting and moving along briskly.

The one things that bothered me at times throughout the novel was Madame Adelaide’s inner dialogue and thoughts. I felt like she was spoiled and arrogant and kind of annoying at times. Yes she was a princess and as other reviewers commented, her inner dialogue was a little over the top which I would agree with.

Overall I thought the account of their lives was believable and interesting. I wasn’t as invested in this one as I had been with the other books in the series but on the whole I felt like it ended on a high note. I liked how this book incorporated the Revolution as well as the having Marie Antoinette come into play. This is a well researched but yet fresh and modern novel with scandal and intrigue built it!

See my full review here
Profile Image for Erin Al-Mehairi.
Author 13 books75 followers
March 22, 2017
I love the descriptive writing of historical author Sally Christie! I missed out on reading book one in her Mistresses of Versailles series, but once I read book two last year I was hooked. I really believe you can read each one as a stand alone, but it’s a great series to read together as well.

The Enemies of Versailles (book three) continued on a tradition of “being seeped in reading” for me last weekend, the sentences so smooth and delicate, yet filled with emotion and substance, that I breezed through it in no time. I needed swept away to another place, no matter how unconventional, for a short time and the novel certiainly gave me that escape. This is a hallmark of quality writing, the type of such I aspire to acheiving.

I love how Sally focuses her novel around protagonists that are female and fiesty, hustling in rags to decadent gowns sometimes to forward their life. The Enemies of Versailles sees Jeanne Becu go from back streets to the palace in eighteenth century France – a France not far from a Revolution.

Sally makes her female characters shine. If you didn’t think you could fall any more in love with the next mistress of the King, you do. Another steals your heart in a way that plausibly you don’t even think should happen. Somehow she endears us as readers to these women by giving them strong, vibrant personalities under a surface innocent-like quality. Sally created Jeanne in a manner in which she blazens up the page with her light-heartedness. It’s apparent Jeanne gave Louis XV a new sense of normalcy to readers that is genuinely lost otherwise, and especially after book two in my opinion, and she remains true to herself even as the people surrounding her at court are nothing less than monsters. However, the intrigue that the book displays as we see the drama unfold creates a desire to turn pages quickly.

Madame du Barry is the focus of the book, but this time around, Sally does juxtapose chapters between her and Adelaide, the daughter of King Louise XV. I suppose that Adelaide is the villan in that she persecutes du Barry in her mind as well as outwardly. We see a poor woman’s rise to court paralled with a woman who has known luxury throughout her life. We see the extravagent nature of this time, spiraling in increasing fashion out of control, and why it led to the horrific revolution. We even get to see Marie Antoinette in this book, and I was thrilled, as she’s one of my favorite historical people to read about. The reasons for the uprising, even though we all know them, are made evident in this novel, and we see the desecration of the royal family. However, this happens all the while as we still focus on the emotions and action of the female characters at the heart of the story.

In the spirit of author Juliet Grey/Leslie Carroll, Sally Christie has brought readers an excellent series of historical fiction sprinkled with beautiful sentences and scenes ripe with descriptions so as if you are living right there in the moment. The Enemies of Versailles is the best of the three. I can’t wait to see what else she writes in the future. I’ll be one of the first in line. Highly recommended!

I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Marlene.
2,947 reviews205 followers
March 12, 2017
Originally published at Reading Reality

The Enemies of Versailles, and the entire series of the Mistresses of Versailles, beginning with The Sisters of Versailles and continuing with The Rivals of Versailles, is a fascinating blend of historical fiction and herstorical fiction, telling the story of the reign of Louis XV of France through the eyes of the women who shared his bed and/or his heart.

So instead of viewing this history through the lives of its movers and shakers, usually male, we see the king from the perspective of his mistresses and, in the case of this final book in the series, from the point of view of his oldest daughter, the unmarried and extremely upright (also uptight in modern terms) Adelaide.

It’s not a pretty picture, and it isn’t intended to be, particularly at this point late in the king’s life. It is to Louis XV that the famous phrase is attributed, “apres moi, le deluge”. And while he may not have known precisely what horrors the deluge of the French Revolution was destined to unleash, it is clear from this account that he was well aware that whatever followed him was going to be less rich, less glorious, less regal, and pretty much just less of everything.

It turned out he was right. From the perspective of the monarchy and the aristocracy, the Revolution indeed brought much less of everything, except blood. There was plenty of that. An outcome that Louis himself does not live to see, although the principal narrators of this story, his daughter Adelaide and his last mistress, the Duchesse du Barry, witness the revolution in all its horror.

In this book, and the trilogy as a whole, Louis appears as a self-indulgent and even indolent ruler, willing to let his advisors run the country while he dallies with his mistresses and escapes from the pomp and ceremony of court life as much as possible. And, of course, his advisors are more than happy to take the burdens of monarchy off of his hands, the better to further their own ambitions.

At the center of this book, and of the final years of Louis’ life, we see a man caught between two opposing forces. On the one side, his daughter Adelaide, ruthlessly virtuous, desiring above all else to save her father’s eternal soul by persuading him to give up his licentious ways. On his other side, the courtesan Jeanne Becu, Duchesse du Barry, encouraging the king to while away his hours in her company, giving her as many beautiful presents as possible and ignoring the world outside her boudoir.

Adelaide never stands a chance. Louis always prefers his mistress’ charms, whoever that mistress might be. But as we watch the court squabble over who should have precedence, and how best to capture the attention of the aging king, we know that we are watching the equivalent of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, or fiddling while Paris, substituting for Rome in the famous saying, burns.

Escape Rating B: This is a series about which I have had mixed feelings from the very beginning, and I leave the series with lots of them. But most of those mixed feelings are about the history portrayed, rather than the portrayal itself. In other words, this series made me think. Among other thoughts, making me glad that I am reading about this period rather than living in it.

The world portrayed in the series is fascinating, enthralling, rich, decadent and strange. There are two sayings that seem to apply equally: “The past is another country, they do things differently there” and, to paraphrase just a bit, “the rich are very, very different from you and me”.

One of the things that strikes me is the appalling waste. Not just the wretched excesses of the court, but also the waste of the brains and talent of the women in this series, and this era. As much as I would not want to have spent five minutes in her company, I found Adelaide and to a lesser extent her sisters, to be utterly pitiable. They all had brains, and probably talents of one sort or another. And absolutely no outlets for any of that except through moral rectitude to the point of priggishness, extreme protection of their privileges and status, and endless backbiting and jostling for position in a court and an era that simply saw them as less than nothing.

Then of course, there’s the wretched excess of the court itself. That so much time and effort was expended, and so much wealth wasted, on ceremony that was extended and elaborated somewhere past the nth degree fascinates and disgusts at the same time.

The Revolution was a bloodbath of epic proportions, and yet it is all too easy to see it looming on the horizon, at least from our viewpoint, and wonder why no one at the time seriously saw it coming. But the same is true, to a much less bloody extent, in the run up to the American Revolution. Hindsight, as always, is 20/20.

About the books and the series. Looking back, there is one thing about each of the books that made the first parts a bit difficult to get over. In each book, the story of the mistress or mistresses begins with their childhood. And while the child certainly makes the woman, that period of each of their lives just wasn’t as compelling, or even as interesting, as what happens to each of them as they find themselves, or are thrust in the case of duBarry, into the king’s orbit. One reason I found Adelaide sympathetic in this particular book was that by the time this story begins, she is an adult, even if her understanding is somewhat lacking in particulars because of her very peculiar sheltered life.

In some ways, both Adelaide and du Barry remain infantilized by their circumstances until the Revolution robs everyone of any possible pretensions. They had to either grow up or die. That one did and one did not provides a last and final contrast in the remarkable circumstances of their lives.
Profile Image for Sara Giacalone.
448 reviews40 followers
February 16, 2018
This last installment of the Versailles Trilogy takes us through the revolution, up to year 1800. Each book was very enjoyable, with different voices used throughout to tell the story and interesting insights into the last years of the Bourbons in France.
Profile Image for Heather C.
493 reviews81 followers
March 31, 2017
I have been fascinated with Christie’s Mistresses of Versailles series since the first pages of The Sisters of Versailles. French history in general is an area that I am not as familiar with and therefore the stories are always new and exciting. While I still found many of the things that I enjoyed about the prior novels in the series, Enemies of Versailles didn’t carry quite the same level of feelings that I had for the first two books. Let me explain.

In both The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles, the women featured were all lovers of the King. This lent the chapters a competitive nature and added to the scandal that it was of the time. The Enemies of Versailles pits du Barry, his last lover, against his eldest daughter, Adelaide, and then to some extent the dauphine and later Queen, Marie Antoinette. Understandably, there is a very different dynamic at play here; at the very least they are fighting over very different types of love and power. This wasn’t as compelling a driving force for me as had been previously. It was a different kind of rivalry than I had come to expect from this series that wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Additionally, I couldn’t help but take the side of du Barry (because you always pick a side in these types of stories). While she was the King’s lover and raised up from the gutter, she was for the most part kind and easy to read her way of thinking in her chapters. Adelaide was more difficult. Her frustration with du Barry all was because of simply her role as the lover of her father was a sin and she wanted to bring him back to the right side of God. It truly felt like a little girl not getting her way, which wasn’t cute on like a 50 year old woman. She was vindictive and conniving, yet she was supposed to be above everyone else. So ultimately I enjoyed the du Barry chapters more. One thing that I did enjoy was when Adelaide was with her whole bevy of sisters. There interactions reminded me of that of the Nesle sisters from The Sisters of Versailles; the backbiting, the one-up-manship, etc.

This book presented a different view of Marie Antoinette as well. Typically books about her feature her as a central character and we see her in a sympathetic light, or juxtaposed against the view of her from the common people. This was interesting to see how the two factions, du Barry and Adelaide sort of fought for control over her when she first came to court. She is a more minor figure in this story, but she is still used as a tool in the battle between the women. I actually enjoyed her portion of the story, even seeing her in a different way.

Overall, this was a good read, but not my favorite of the whole series.

This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog and a copy of this book was received from the publisher as part of a blog tour.
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 1 book21 followers
March 27, 2017
Sally Christie closes the doors of Versailles with the last book of her magnificently tantalizing trilogy we have all been impatiently waiting for since her last release. Through the splendor of palaces, to love and heartbreak, Christie has created such a fun, colorful—and in the end tragic—picture of life during such an important time in history. She gives life and a voice to several women, all interesting in their own right, throughout her books. In Enemies of Versailles, it is the infamous Comtesse du Barry and Princess Adelaide. Much like The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles, The Enemies of Versailles contains all the charm, the naughtiness of court life, and the addictive gossipy fun plus more.

You will be tempted to drop everything to finish this book and the entire series if you haven’t yet had the chance to pick these books up.

Personally, I found the contrast and the stark differences between the comfort loving Comtesse du Barry and the proper Princess Adelaide to be highly entertaining—from Adelaide’s shock and disgust to Comtesse du Barry’s want of affection and acknowledgment. The two women were strong and knew what they wanted in life and both facing tragedy within the rise of the revolution. I’m very sympathetic for their fates.

I can’t wait for Sally Christie to write more books (and soon I hope).
Profile Image for Elysium.
389 reviews53 followers
March 31, 2017
The book focuses on the last official mistress of Louis XV, Jeanne Becu, better known as Comtesse du Barry. Coming from humble origins she gets a lot of enemies on her way to Versailles and one of them is Madame Adelaide, daughter of the king.

I’ve never liked the women in these books but still somehow loved the books. I don’t know why but here it didn’t work out so well. They were both selfish and wanted the easy life. Adelaide might know Greek but knows nothing about real life. And Jeanne practically grew on the streets; you would think that kicked some sense into her but no. She certainly wasn’t picked for her wits for sure… Even Marie Antoinette was silly and frivolous but even she grew up a bit (too late but still) when needed.

I did feel sad about Louis XV, though. I haven’t been a huge fan of him but I could feel his frustrations with his grandson. Of course, he didn’t help his grandson’s time as a king. Getting a kingdom on a brink of a revolution and debauched life Louis lived and money spending…

I would have liked if it was better stated in what year we were because suddenly you notice the story jumped 2 years, 10 years…

Overall I think this was ok. Which is a shame because I really loved the previous books and in this, I didn’t really care if people got guillotined or not.
Profile Image for Leeanna.
538 reviews93 followers
March 28, 2017
This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.


The Mistresses of Versailles is a trilogy I’ve been recommending to anyone I know with an interest in historical fiction, especially fiction about French royalty. Most of the French historical fiction I’ve read centers on Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette or Napoleon. This is the first series I can remember reading that dives into Louis XV and the remarkable list of women and mistresses in his life. Looking at history, the build up to the French Revolution, the problems in the country, and Louis’s own problems through the lens of his mistresses and their relationships with him -- it’s good reading.

THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES follows the end of Louis XV’s reign through the eyes of two women in his life: Jeanne Bécu, the Comtesse du Barry and Marie Adélaïde, one of his daughters. Jeanne was the first prostitute to be raised to maîtresse-en-titre. Previously, I’d only seen her in fiction through the eyes of Marie Antoinette; the two had a contentious relationship. So it was refreshing to see Jeanne in her own words, so to speak, rather than through the eyes of a teenager who was led to hate Jeanne for her low birth and the influence she had on the king.

The same thing with Adélaïde -- I’d only ever seen her as the stern, spinster aunt, more concerned with etiquette than anything else. There’s a lot of that Adélaïde here, but I understood more about her and why she was so set on proper behavior, thanks to the author writing from her viewpoint. Adélaïde’s story is quite tragic really, and I appreciated the chance to see inside Versailles from such different perspectives.

Jeanne and Adélaïde both want the same thing: to make the king happy. But they go about it in vastly different ways, with Jeanne actually providing happiness and Adélaïde failing miserably because she tries to safeguard what little is left of her father’s virtue. As the women age, Adélaïde’s evolution from royal to citizen reminded me of the Marquise de Pompadour’s evolution from bourgeois to marquise.

If you haven’t read the other books in the series, and say you’re interested in Jeanne or Adélaïde, you can read THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES without being lost. I do recommend you read the other two, because I think each volume builds upon the last, both with the women in Louis’s life and the history leading up to the French Revolution. This final volume isn’t escapist as the first two (I compared them to a historical soap opera), but a worthy end to the trilogy. I look forward to see what Sally Christie tackles next!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration; this did not influence my review in any way.

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Profile Image for Colleen Turner.
437 reviews102 followers
April 19, 2017
Find my full review at http://aliteraryvacation.blogspot.com.

As the synopsis says, The Enemies of Versailles is the third book in Sally Christie's entertaining Mistresses of Versailles trilogy and, having read all three books, I find it a fitting ending to this exciting and dramatic series that highlights the luxuriant and ever shifting world of Louis XV's court. This particular novel, however, was probably my favorite as it branches outside of the glitz and glamour of the Court into the dangerous and bloody streets of a people no longer content to let their nobility live the high life while they starve.

The story goes back and forth between two perspectives - that of Louis XV's final mistress, the lowborn Jeanne Becu (who becomes the Comtesse du Barry), and one of his daughters, Madame Adelaide - and it would be nearly impossible to find two women so different. Jeanne is somewhat lazy, especially when she is young, and is quite content to use her charms and skills of seduction to create a comfortable life of luxury. With this being said, she is also kind and giving and loving towards those that are close to her. On the flipside is Adelaide - cold, rigid, strict Adelaide - who can barely stand anyone other than her father and, at times, her sisters and who put propriety above happiness or connections with other people. I will say that, while I didn't particularly like her, I did feel sorry for Adelaide as she obviously yearned for her father's attention and love and he seemed more content to give that affection to his mistresses and his court. It is due to this great gulf between the women that we, the reader, get such a well rounded look at the court and France during this time and I thought it was such a great idea to expand our view of the people and the times surrounding them.

I think my favorite aspect of the story would have to be what came after Louis XV died (yes, the story continues after our main man is dead!). The story progresses through the French Revolution and the heartache and terror that the nobility and those closest to the throne experience during this time is palpable. While I can't say that I felt bad for the court when the members began losing their possessions and vast excesses I did ache for them as the horror compounded and the began losing their lives because of this world most of them were born into. There is a particular scene with the Comtesse du Barry when she is no longer able to use her charms or the vast amount of goods she had collected to buy her way to freedom that was actually hard to read as I hoped against hope that she would find a way to survive like she had time and time again. If you don't already know how her storyline ends this book is the perfect way to discover it!

Another aspect I very much enjoyed was getting to see Marie Antoinette from such a unique perspective. She came off as such a sad character to me as nothing she did made a difference in how people looked at her. The nobility seemed to think she was improper and too informal while the common people of France used her as a symbol of the excesses of the court regardless of what she actually did or didn't do. I kept hoping that she and Jeanne would band together as misfits of the court and get along, but even though they had more in common that I expected that wasn't meant to be. In the end, both were somewhat isolated and dragged along through a court machine that didn't quite want them until the bitter end that neither could escape.

The Enemies of Versailles is wondering historical fiction and has really whetted my appetite to learn more about French History. Stretching from the end of the mistress Pompadour's hold on the court through to the end of the French Revolution, these women do a remarkable job of placing the aging King at the back of the story and letting their own lives shine through. While I don't think it's necessary to read all three stories in order I do recommend it as it gives you a fully rounded glimpse into the end of an era of extravagance and into the modern age of government.
Profile Image for Aimee Ertley.
13 reviews
March 5, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy; read them quickly, one right after the other, and had trouble putting them down. Loved immersing myself in the glitteringly beautiful and extravagant yet politically charged and back-biting world of Versailles under Louis XV. Before these books, I was somewhat familiar with Madame Pompadour and Madame du Barry, but knew nothing of the Mailly-Nesle sisters, who were the king's earlier mistresses.

I loved the way Sally Christie structured these books, interspersing fictional letters from the characters among various scenes in and around Versailles, Paris, etc. Loved the characters' voices and the snide, tongue in cheek commentary; the dialogue is fun, the stories well-written. I love this time period, and she does an excellent job of weaving in the feel of the turbulent time leading up to and during the French Revolution around the stories of the central characters.

In particular, I think she captures well the attitudes of the courtiers, bewildered by the growing unrest of the average citizens beyond the palace walls, simply because they had no concept of what life was like outside Versailles. Christie does a wonderful job of making the palace characters sympathetic in spite of their often cavalier and sometimes downright nasty attitudes about the plight of the French people.

At the heart of all three books are the stories of Louis and his colorful mistresses, their personalities, the surrounding casts of characters and loads of court gossip. These are really fun reads, and it's impossible to resist being sucked into the tales of all the palace intrigue, scandal, and romance.

If you're a Francophile like me and geek out over all things Versailles, then these are must-reads. If you enjoy historical fiction, or even just enjoy page-turning, character-driven stories with sumptuous, beautiful scenery, then definitely check out these books!
Profile Image for Lígia Bellini.
240 reviews16 followers
June 20, 2017
That was an excellent ending of the series! Actually, i saw Comtesse du Barry as a nice, but also a extremely futile person. She came from a humble family, but she only "grew" on her status, because she was beautiful and had her "ways" to seduce a man, but her attitudes were silly and even childish. Of course, her only worry was to please the King Louis XV and be loved by everyone. The world outside Versailles was a turmoil, because of the famine, poverty, frustration with the unnecessary expenses from royalty. But the royalty didn't care. They were busy gossiping about Du Barry, about Marie Antoinette and her frivolous behavior. I think the Revolution "exploded", because the citizen got on their limit. Everything was so decadent that the establishment of a republic government was becoming a new solution for them. The reading about the princesses of the Court and specially, about Madame Adelaide is hilarious, actually. I had no idea, about King Louis having a daughter, Louise, whom became the Abbess of Saint Denis. She was even beatified. But Adelaide was always worried to get attention from her father, the King. She never accepted his mistressess and was always making sure to everything looks perfect (which wasn't!), following the rules and the routine on the society. It's intriguing to read how everything was falling apart from Louis XV's reign to worse when Louis XVI became the King. The french people never accepted Marie Antoinette and her style of life. King Louis XVI was a weak King and didn't know how to deal with the country. I believe that Louis XV left him a chaos to rule. It's really sad how dreadful things happened on France, during the Revolution. Everyone paid their price and in awful ways. That was a great reading!
Profile Image for Melanie Vidrine.
379 reviews
August 31, 2021
Finished the trilogy about the mistresses of Louis XV throughout his life. While these are historical novels, they are very faithful to the actual history of France during the 1700’s. I believe I found this one most enjoyable, probably because of its structure. And having a family tree at the beginning surely helped. Thanks to Amy Cunningham Smalley, co-host of “The Perks of Being a Booklover” podcast, for this recommendation.
Profile Image for Kerry.
280 reviews6 followers
February 26, 2017
Having read the two previous books from the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy, I was ecstatic when asked if I'd read and review the third and final instalment. I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books and this one did not disappoint. The Enemies of Versailles begins with Jeanne Becu leaving the convent as a young teen. Because of her beauty she is quickly snapped up to sell ladies finery to the nobility of France. Jeanne becomes enamoured of the Compte du Barry who seduces her into a lifestyle of debauchery. He quickly sees her value in enticing the nobility to his salon and card games at which point he offers her to the many men who attend in the hope of an invitation to Versailles. When this happens, Jeanne quickly comes to the attention of Louis XV who is mourning the death of the Pompadour but also awaiting the death of his pious Queen. Du Barry marries Jeanne to his brother so that she can be presented to the King, thus begins their love affair that ends only with his death.

Whilst Madame du Barry is the primary character of equal standing in this story is Louis's daughter Adelaide. The two stories are intertwined beautifully to create an understanding of the intrigue, politics and etiquette of a debauched French Court. Adelaide's hatred of Jeanne is relentless until the final moments of Louis's life where there is an understanding of Jeanne's love of her father.

But the story does not end with the death of Louis. It is during this component of the story that you feel the impending doom creeping up as the story continues through the French Revolution and the final days and eventual fall of the Bourbon family. Jeanne's life after Louis, then her eventual imprisonment and her death are both heartwarming and sad. Adelaide and her sister were able to escape France to Italy where they lived until their eventual deaths. Despite survival, you feel the sadness of their situation and the loss of most of their family members.

The Enemies of Versailles is a wonderful end to a brilliant series. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books and this final instalment was a fitting epitaph to a very sad time in history.
5 reviews
February 10, 2017
Like another reader on here, I am so sad to see this trilogy end. I love the way the author writes and the way she creates scenes that just suck you in so you can imagine you're actually sitting in the room and participating in the conversation! This book, like the others, was full of these intimate scenes and I loved Jeanne du Barry - a simple woman caught up in times and events so beyond her - and her nemesis Princess Adelaide. I really liked the scenes with the young Marie Antoinette as well, and the lead up to the French Revolution was really well done, and so sad - you understand pretty early on it's not going to end well for anyone...
Profile Image for Paulita Kincer.
Author 6 books33 followers
March 20, 2017
I read the first two books by Sally Christie in the Mistresses of Versailles series and enjoyed them, but my favorite might be this final book The Enemies of Versailles. The books stand alone, but it's intriguing to read them in order to see how King Louis XV evolved from a religious, devoted husband to a man who resisted the efforts of his family to force him back to the church as his guilt ate away at him.

But the books are not told through the viewpoint of the king, instead, for this final book, we see the world of Versailles through one of his daughters, Adelaide, and his last mistress Jeanne du Barry. Perhaps there were never two women more different. Adelaide was born as a princess of France. She avoided marrying so she could stay in the luxury of Versailles, and although she tried to do good works, she always followed etiquette and thought the poor should stay in their place. She never had any sympathy for the plight of those outside the chateau.
Jeanne, however, was born into a poor family and went to school at a convent. Her beauty propelled her into the wealth of Versailles and the arms of the King, but she always had a kind heart, even for those who hated her.

This book is full of rich details that help the readers feel as if they are at Versailles, sharing the gossip and the intrigue, but also the emotions of the historical characters. Good historical fiction is a great way to get a grasp on the times the characters lived through, and this one does that. It has stuck with me through the end when (spoiler alert/not really) the French Revolution sees the next king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette beheaded.
The actions of the king and all of the people in Versailles feel so real as I finished the book last week and saw the health care plan and the budget put out by the Congress and President of the United States. It makes me realize that the people in power, again, have no idea what middle class and working people are going through.
This book is a fast read and whimsical escape into the past, at least until the end when the reality of repeating history might jar the reader.
I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
376 reviews126 followers
February 4, 2017
I'm not even sure how I ended up with an ARC of this book. My reviews of the previous two novels weren't exactly glowing. After the end of the second novel, I had promised not to even bother with the final book in the trilogy. Well if I had a nickle for every broken promise, I'd own a lot more books.

I was not blown away by the final installment of the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The manner in which the author handled the French revolution and the demise of the nobility was rather well done. I actually found myself feeling sorry for a character. This is quite the accomplishment since most of Christie's leading ladies have been nothing more than brainless, foot-stomping, spoiled brats. The leading ladies in this novel are not much different, especially Madame Adelaide, daughter of Louis XV. The reader is constantly beat over the head with Madame Adelaide's arrogant internal dialogues. I get it. She's a princess. She was raised to believe she's better than everyone else. When one is reading about French princesses who spend most of their time feasting in the halls of Versailles, the arrogance is implied. There's no need to keep reminding me.

Countess du Barry was once again portrayed as just another one of Louis XV brainless mistresses who cares more for shiny jewels and new clothes than whatever is going on in the world around them. However, her end was excellent writing. If the writer had applied that level of emotion and insight to all three of these novels, I would be recommending them until I was blue in the face.
Profile Image for Sarah W..
2,135 reviews16 followers
April 2, 2017
The last of Louis XV's mistresses - Madame du Barry - comes to life in this final installment of the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. Born an illegitimate child into the lowest social order, Jeanne du Barry rose to become the mistress of the French king during his last few years - a position which placed her in opposition to the king's daughters and the young queen-to-be Marie Antoinette. I enjoyed Jeanne's spirit, which I feel the author captured well, and I was saddened by her end. This is a must-read for historical fiction fans!
Profile Image for Grace.
434 reviews15 followers
March 14, 2017
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

The Enemies of Versailles is the third book in Sally Christie’s Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. But don’t worry–you don’t have to read either of the previous books to be able to understand this one. Each book in the series focuses on a different mistress of Louis XV of France, and their stories are fascinating.

The Enemies of Versailles alternates between the point of view of Adelaide, Louis’ frumpy daughter, and the Comtesse du Barry. Of the two, I found du Barry much more compelling. Jeanne was born in poverty. After working for a time at a fashionable shop, she became mistress to Barry, who in turn started pimping her out to the nobility. But Jeanne is independent and used Barry to propel herself all the way to Versailles as she becomes the king’s mistress and companion. By this point, Louis is already pretty old, and Jeanne brings joy back into his life. And it’s extraordinary, because it’s unheard of for someone from the lower classes to become mistress to the king. Usually that is a station reserved for the nobility. Even Madame Pompadour, the king’s former mistress, was at least bourgeois. It’s a clear sign that times are changing for France.

Adelaide, on the other hand, is super religious and judgmental of her father’s bedroom habits. She’s extremely upset about Jeanne, but slowly comes to the realization that she is no longer the lady of the court. And through her eyes, we get to see the arrival of the king’s son’s new wife, Marie Antoinette. The portrayal of Marie Antoinette was largely sympathetic–she was married at 14 and was still a child, completely unprepared for court intrigue. And as she matured and started realizing the political climate of France, it was too late, and she had to make the best of a bad situation.

While I didn’t like Adelaide as a character, I did understand why her perspective was important. She has a closer relationship to Marie Antoinette than Jeanne did (which was basically none at all), and it was important to see that both the conservative and more free-living factions of the court fell into the exact same trap and were blinded to the excess of the court while the people of France were starving. Adelaide fought back against what she saw as sexual excess, but didn’t have any understanding of the excess that is jewels and servants and fancy food and gowns and parties that cost exorbitant amounts of money. Because Versailles was so insulated from reality and from non-nobility, nobody saw the revolution coming in any faction of the court. People got really good at surviving and even thriving in the narrow society of Versailles, and that’s all they saw. It was an interesting perspective, especially in light of more modern discussions of social media silos, where people tend to interact mostly with information that confirms their own viewpoints or identities.

I’ve enjoyed this trilogy so much, and greatly enjoyed learning about the women of the French court that you don’t learn about in your average history class. Sally Christie brought Versailles to life, in all its wit and beauty and venom.
Profile Image for Lauralee.
Author 2 books19 followers
March 25, 2017
The Enemies of Versailles is the third book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. The story is told from Madame du Barry’s perspective and her enemy, Princess Adelaide. Jeanne Becu rose from her humble beginnings only to find herself at the top spot in France. She has become the official mistress to Louis XV. However, Jeanne has made many enemies who disapprove of her humble beginnings. One of these is Princess Adelaide, who is tired of her father parading his mistresses at court. In order to get Madame du Barry to leave, she persuades Marie Antoinette to fight against Madame du Barry. However, the fight between Marie Antoinette and Madame du Barry takes a backseat as the French Revolution looms near.

I found the characters of Madame du Barry and Madame Adelaide to be very unlikable. In some ways Madame du Barry is very similar to Madame de Pompadour. She is very selfish and proud. There were some moments that it seemed that she may have truly cared for Louis XV. However, I found her to use him more for her own benefit. During the French Revolution, I did start to care for her and empathized with her. Her fate in the French Revolution didn’t seem fair.

I also didn’t like Princess Adelaide, while I agreed with most of her opinions about Madame du Barry, I found her to be a narrator that you could hardly trust. Princess Adelaide was very judgemental. She was also very manipulative. The thing that I did not like about her was that she didn’t care about the deaths in the French Revolution, especially Madame du Barry. She didn’t care about the chaos in France because it didn’t affect her for she had sought refuge.

Overall, this novel was a very superficial novel of Madame du Barry. The writing was the same. It was stilted and repetitious. The dialogue was still juvenile. The plot was so fast-paced that it didn’t take the time to flesh out the characters. This left me very disappointed because I wanted to learn more about Jeanne’s background and to understand her character more by the time she arrived at Versailles. The book still has trouble with the narration. The story is mostly told and not shown. This novel should have been a nonfiction book. Still, the thing that I did like in the novel was the French Revolution. I thought the death of Madame du Barry to be very moving, and thought that she didn’t deserve her fate. Even though I didn’t like the last two books as much as I did The Sisters of Versailles, I recommend that you should read this trilogy. It is very worthwhile. While the trilogy is about the mistresses of Louis XV, it is actually about Louis XV himself. The author does a good job showing how Louis XV changed throughout his life. At first, he wanted to be a good king and be faithful to his wife. Through the course of the trilogy, Louis XV has a series of mistresses and helped bring about the French Revolution. These books helps us to understand how Louis XV managed to reach this point. Overall, I recommend this series to fans of Juliet Grey, Heather Webb, and Laura Purcell.
(Note: I read an ARC copy of this book in courtesy of Netgalley.)
Profile Image for Karla.
84 reviews7 followers
April 7, 2018
The Enemies of Versailles is a fitting conclusion to The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. Here is the twilight of Louis XV and his last mistress, the Comtesse du Barry. Beyond the intrigue of Versailles, the arrival of the dauphine and the not so welcomed presence of the new favorite of the King, the revolution is lurking.

I was not enchanted by the Comtesse du Barry as I was by the Marquise de Pompadour in the previous novel. Therefore, there was too much idleness in the beginning chapters, kept somewhat interesting by the musings of Madame Adélaïde, the fourth daughter of Louis XV. However, when Marie Antoinette arrived at court, it was almost impossible to stop reading. We are witness to her first awkward years at Versailles, foreshadowing her reputation as Queen of France. "She's going to ruin France" courtiers said. Sadly for them, they were right in sensing that she would not be helpful to the precarious French monarchy.

The characterization in this book was wonderful. Though I'm not an admirer of Louis XV, I applaud Sally Christie for making me dislike AND pity him. Sure, he was a bad King, but at the end of the day he was a flawed man too. Perhaps because of what was coming in the plot , old and new characters were fully fleshed out.

The last third of the book was probably the best part for me. It's the ending of a fairytale and the beginning of an era that most people (especially those at Versailles) failed to foresee because of tradition and selfishness. And so we bid adieu to the palace dreamt by the Sun King.

Madame Palatine once wrote:
"I believe that the histories that will be written about this court after we are gone will be better and more entertaining than any novel, and I am afraid that those who come after us will not be able to believe them and think they are just fairy tales."
She was right.
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