The Enemies of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #3)
Author: Sally Christie
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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 is quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades of 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 irrevocable change.
My Review: 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.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars