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Cécile: Gates of Gold (Girls of Many Lands)
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Cécile: Gates of Gold (Girls of Many Lands)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Cecile Revel is given a change to leave her peasant life and serve at King Louis XIV's court. She finds life within the palace gates is not as full of ease and elegance as she had imagined. Faced with a test of conscience, Cecile shows that behaving in a noble matter has little to do with one's place at birth.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Pleasant Company Publications
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Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was young; as a younger me I found it a practically mesmerizing insight into the life of royalty in times of monarchal Versaille and utterly enjoyed reading about a girl who suddenly finds herself diving into the palace's world and discovering whether and where she belongs. The story has a realistically tragic ending, or at least not an ending you would find in some fairy tale: it shows how grandeur can only last so long whether it is taken for granted or not. If Cécile w ...more
Cecile was a fast-paced, easily digested historical fiction set in the court of King Louis XIV of France (also known to history as the Sun King), also known as the Sun King. Not only did Casanova do a great job bringing it to life, she did it in a way that didn't overwhelm the reader with details, with a heroine who was both courageous and vulnerable.

While the plot was straightforward enough - Cecile is a peasant girl who becomes a servant in the Sun King's court - the background details were an
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a good book! While targeted at younger readers, I still enjoyed this book. I found the simple yet still exciting storyline a relaxing a refreshing break from my normal reads.
Betty Strohecker
This book opens with Cecile, a French peasant girl, hunting for mushrooms in the woods when a Royal hunting party rushes through. She sees a horse without its rider and then finds Madame, sister-in-law to Louis XIV, injured from a fall. Cecile summons her father who has some medical skills. After treating Madame, he only asks as reward that Cecile be taken into her service to live at Versailles, and avoid the desperate life of a peasant. Thus begins Cecile's journey into the realm of royalty in ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love this book because it's so ironic how this new life for Cecile just all comes together. This book has many heartbraking parts and joyful parts and romantic parts; it has a lot of drama even though it mostly stays in one setting (the palace). But when Cecile gets this new job, she relizes that she has taken a little more than she can handle with six dogs, a sick father, and two adoring little boys.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book 3-4 times and i never feel guilty. I LOVE this book. Originally I started to read it and didn't like it but tried it again and couldn't stop reading it.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cecile: Gates of Gold, by Mary Casanova, was a very good historical fiction book that I recommend for anyone who likes to read.

This book was about a peasant girl named Cecile and her father who were poor and living in France. When Cecile befriended a lost horse and found a hurt woman, her father, a knowledgeable doctor in the town, helped the woman. In return, the woman offered Cecile a job at the royal palace as the caretaker of her dogs, and she told Cecile to call her "Madame". As Cecile sett
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought that this book was good for a short read. I liked the way that it was written, it was simple, it was not boring though. I did not give it a 5 because I have read better historical fiction previous to, and after this.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good. I enjoyed learning a little more about the French royal family.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this book to be very similar to Isabel just unfortunately less exciting :/
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought the story was lovely and interesting in royal families but too long. I rather read The Royal Diaries series instead.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very sad, but good!
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part of the 2015 Reading Challenge: A book with a color in the title

A quick and fun read.

I didn't know anything about this time period of King Louis XIV's reign before reading this book, but the author seems to have done a great job at capturing what life was like both for the poor and for those who lived with the King. The young girl of Cecile was a great choice for this narrative, and while she's fictional, she fit right in with the historical figures. I didn't realize how much of this book wa
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story takes place in France of 1711. Cecile is the daughter of a poor doctor. She has learned to read and write and is an independent young lady. One day she helps a woman who had fallen from a horse and, as a result, ends up serving in the Versailles court of King Louis XIV.

The story does a good job of showing the differences between the life of the peasant class and the life of the rich people who lived in the palace. Some of the types of intrigues that go on in such a place are shown thro
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Cecile, a French girl in the early 1700's goes from peasant to living in the palace of the king when her and her father help a lady of royalty known as Madame who has fallen off her horse. Madame takes Cecile with her back to the palace to take care of her dogs. Cecile thinks that living in a palace will be grand, but it turns out that living in the Gates of Gold isn't all it seems to be. Cecile uncovers interesting things about her parents' past and also witnesses tragic deaths in the royal fam ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this and if you think it is a little girl's book think again. It is about this peasant girl that goes to Versailles to work as a dog keeper for the king's relative. She realizes that although there is much luxury, wearing pretty dresses and being friends with the princess and her sons, court life is very scary and difficult at times. They will find a way to blame you and frame you. I rated it 4 stars because while I enjoyed it, it got extremely depressing towards the end, inclu ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book Cecile Gates of Gold by Mary Casanova is about a peasant girl who her and her father helped a woman from the court got a reward by working there but doesn't know the rules of court. She notices her very little opportunities and tries her best. While there she figures out that her dad was working as a doctor there but got banished from trying to help the patient and disagreeing with the others. when the royal parents catch a disease the doctors drain out there blood. After they find out ...more
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
One day Cecile is a poor peasant girl and the next she has been offered a position at a court. A servant's position, but that doesn't matter to her. It's been her dream to wear fancy dresses and always have enough to eat. The only hard part is leaving her father behind. Now she has a job taking care of Madame's dogs. Cecile soon adjusts to life at court, but she can't understand the barbaric methods the doctors use. Will she be able to stand up for what she believes in when it really matters? I ...more
Madeline Henricksen
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Cecile: Gates of Gold" features a girl called Cecil who was a peasant and found a royal lady who had fallen off her horse. Cecile's father was a doctor, so she brought him to help the royal lady, who turns out to be a German Duchess, sister-in-law to the King of France. In return for his help, Cecile's father was granted one wish by the princess: to have Cecile become a dog caretaker in the French royal court. Cecile had to walk and feed the dogs every day. Cecile has many exciting adventures a ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an American Girl book recommended for pre-teen girls. It is a story set in 1711 Rileaux France and the Palace of Versailles about a 12 year old girl whose father asks the King's sister-in-law, La Duchesse d'Orléans, to accept her into the court of Louis XIV in repayment for assisting her in her injuries sustained from being thrown from her horse.

In the few short months she spends at court she receives several pieces of bad news and bad luck......but it works out well for her in the end.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Cecile is the daughter of a man who cures people in the villages around his house. when Cecile finds a young women lying on the ground, she rushes to get her father. He is able to cure her and her on her feet. She then is very thankful for helping her and offers him anything he would like. he asks for Cecile to go to live with in court life. She decides to give her the job to take care of her six dogs at court. Life at court isn't easy, she must overcome her fear of others, make sure she knows t ...more
Kristine Hansen
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cecile is a girl given an opportunity to serve in the courts of King Louis XIV - as the tender of the dogs of one of the noblewomen of the court.

This book offers a unique look at this time period, and life in the courts through the eyes of a common girl who has a lot of common sense and a quick wit. I wish there were more books about Cecile to tell us what happens to her afterwards. I guess that's best left to the imagination of the reader.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't choose this book, but I guess im lad i read it. This book was sufisticated, but their was a lot of stuff I was confused about in this book. This book was good, I could understand it but, it was like boring, in the beginning, but I like the then and now part, it was like kind of the same but different. Instead of that, I kind of liked the book. I wouldn't really be the one to read it over and over again it was alright.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was my favorite novel in childhood. Featuring a strong but relate-able heroine in the character of Cecile, the author does an excellent job evoking Louis XIV's court. The ending seems to be controversial with some, but as a kid, I dug how bittersweet it was. A great read for kids 10 and up.
Katie Nanney
I enjoyed this book. I have always been a fan of historical fiction and what it would've been like to live during a certain time period. I liked that the book made King Louis XIV and his court seem like people you could relate to. It's a great way to learn a little more about history. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a good read about historical France in the early 1700's.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: childhood
So these used to come with the Girls of Many Lands dolls that were manufactured by the American Girl Doll company before American Girl Dolls and I had Cecile and I loved her. The period/foreign clothes of the actual porcelain doll and the historical fiction book. I wish I'd had more of these dolls now instead of the American Girl Dolls.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it liked it
It's a pretty good book. Nicely paced until the end, lovely characters, good plot. The end just came a bit too abruptly, like the author was trying to cram it in using less pages (most likely the editors fault :P). Good read though!! I like the little blips of historical infomation A.G. puts at the end of "their" books.
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
lives in france, and her dad is a docter and gets sick, cecile gets a job to train dogs (how much I LOVE DOGS) and leaves her dad for a week to wach them... the she gets breaking news her dad......(dies!) and has to live in the palice parentles... but there is a mistery to her father before, How he married her mom and why and where but was he also a threat?????
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I like "Cecile Gates of Gold" because Cecile wants to go to court and one day she gets her dream. I like when a horse runs into Cecile and she drops her basket and then Cecile hears a small crying sound. I like when gets to go to court and watch dogs and stay in the palace. I don't like that Cecile gets sent away by the king for not letting doctors see a boy.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grace Ann
I thought it was a very good story. Cecile is a strong character. The story also doesn't end in a predictable happy ending.
The whole story is reliably true to the time period and very exciting to read. You really root for Cecile as she tries to stay afloat at the French court at the young age of 12.
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Mary Casanova is an award-winning children's author of novels and picture books. Many of her books stem from her life on the Minnesota-Canadian border; yet some of her stories have taken her as far away as France, Norway, and Belize for research. Whatever the setting for her books, Casanova writes stories that matter--and stories that kids can't put down.

Her book awards include: American Library A
More about Mary Casanova...

Other Books in the Series

Girls of Many Lands (8 books)
  • Isabel: Taking Wing (Girls of Many Lands)
  • Leyla: The Black Tulip (Girls of Many Lands)
  • Saba: Under the Hyena's Foot (Girls of Many Lands)
  • Spring Pearl: The Last Flower (Girls of Many Lands, China)
  • Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway (Girls of Many Lands)
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