Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie | Review #TLCBookTours #Giveaway

The Enemies of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles #3) by Sally Christie
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Received: for honest review via TLC Book Tours
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Books-A-Million

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.

In The Enemies of Versailles, we find the King's daughter Madame Adelaide becoming the enemy of his most recent mistress, Jeanne, known as the Comtesse du Barry. Jeanne is no more than a common prostitute who ends up charming the king with her beauty and interesting bedroom games. The Comtesse is even more frowned upon than the Marquise du Pompadour was. “That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute quite another kettle of fish.”

Madame Adelaide's story is interesting as she is never married and is still living at Versailles with her family. She at first seems bitter, but then I realize it is jealousy over her father spending less time with the daughters and more with his mistress. Adelaide looks up to her father and really just wants to be loved by him. I think she is hostile and strict with propriety is due to the fact that she has never married, never had an affair and dotes on her father. Only after waging a small silent war against the indecent woman who shares her father's bed, does she realize that there is more to life. After her fathers passing and the revolution happening, she finally sees that letting her guard down and enjoying the small things might have made her happier had she tried them many years ago. It's sad that it takes her father's death and the downfall of the monarchy for her to realize that there is so much more to love and enjoy than following the rules and being perfect.

Jeanne, the Comtesse du Barry, falls in love with Louis after having met him at a private dinner party at Versailles. His men know his appetite for lovely young women and she is chosen to help keep the king happy. The most interesting thing about their relationship isn't that she was a prostitute, but that he remained faithful to her. He had such a wandering eye in his younger years, but I guess with age he must have decided the love of one woman was enough and he only needed to visit her bed instead of so many? Or perhaps all of her training kept him interested for so long? Unlike the Marquise, who became his best friend, Jeanne, remained his love until his death. She made him happy, as he claims to Adelaide during one of their infrequent conversations.

Between the two women, I felt the most for Adelaide because all she wanted was her father's love and attention and it took her so many years to realize she didn't necessarily need it to be happy. Jeanne was interesting, but I felt that she was more about the fame and fortune of being at court and in such an important position of being so close to the king. I know she loved him, but there were times where it felt like she was just a gold digger. Funny how both were looking for his love and attention, but in different ways.

I enjoyed the story of the rival between the two women and even the tidbits about Marie Antoinette as well. And I was happy with how this book wrapped up the lives of the Bourbon family. I always enjoy the detail in Ms. Christie's writing with the descriptions of clothing and hair styles, jewellery, furnishings and the entertainment of the times. It felt like walking into the era and being surrounded by all the is beautiful at Versailles. I have seen Versailles when I was 14 and I loved picturing the different scenes playing out around the gardens and chateaux.

This final chapter in the life of Louis XV, was an important piece to understand his life and those around him. How hard it must have been to be Louis, not really interested in his role as king and relying on others to make decisions while having a very naughty appetite for women. It seemed as though he longed for love, to be cared for and to fill some void, perhaps with all of the women. 

Read more about the women in Louis XV's life in my reviews for The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. 

About the Author:
Sally Christie was born in England of British parents but grew up mostly in Canada. As a child she moved around with her family and then continued her wandering as she pursued a career in international development; she’s lived in 14 different countries and worked in many more. She’s now settled in Toronto and loving it.

Sally lives and breathes history; ever since she read Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots when she was 10, she’s been an avid history junkie. She wishes more attention and technical innovation was devoted to time travel, because there is nothing she would rather do than travel back in time! Writing historical fiction is a poor substitute, but it’s the best one we have at the moment.

When not reading and writing history, she’s a tennis and Scrabble fanatic.

Website | Goodreads


  1. I'm not familiar with this series, but it sounds so intriguing. I wanted to visit Versailles when I was in Paris a couple of years ago but ran out of time. I do hope to get there some day though. This period of French history has always fascinated me. Great review!

    1. Oh I'm glad you liked my review. I wrote it late at night while baby slept beside me and was so tired. I just hoped it made sense LOL

      What I remember about Versailles is the gardens. They seemed to go on forever.

      And you just made me realize I didn't link back to the other two books. So I'm off to edit my post with links! ;)

  2. Living in the court at that time must have been like living in a completely different world ... it is so hard to imagine!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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