After loving The Sisters of Versailles, Sally Christie’s first novel in the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy, I had been anxiously waiting for the second novel The Rivals of Versailles to be published. Yet again Sally weaves fact and fiction to bring us another enthralling story full of court intrigue and an exciting look into the reign of King Louis XV and one of his most influential mistresses, the Marquise de Pompadour.
The Rivals of Versailles follows King Louis XV and his many mistresses but one in particular stands out, the Marquise de Pompadour. Beautiful, but coming from humble beginnings, she was the first bourgeois mistress ever of the King. Born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, the Marquise de Pompadour not only becomes the king’s lover but also one do the most powerful women of the time. She was not only beautiful but also very intelligent. She learned how to make herself indispensable to the king and even more impressive she continues throughout to do this without using her sexuality. In knowing King Louis sexual appetites this is impressive.
We see through the Marquise de Pompadour’s eyes the many mistresses that the king went through; the many rivals that she had to contend with while always being worried that she would lose her position with the king and without it she was nothing. I also learned a few new things about King Louis in terms of sexual likes and dislikes that left me disgusted with him but it certainly highlights the power a King was afforded to have anything he wanted whenever he wanted.
It was interesting to learn of each of the Marquise de Pompadour’s rivals and of her insecurities regarding them, but also of her hand in procuring many of these rivals for the king. Despite all of these rivals none were able to convince the king to remove her from his life. She had the king’s heart and France for close to twenty years until her death.
The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy is a favourite of mine. While it is beneficial to read the first book in the trilogy to gain the full experience the books do stand well on their own. The Rivals of Versailles is an excellent pick for those who love historical fiction. Put it on your summer reading list and enjoy. I loved it and can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy, The Enemies of Versailles. Highly recommended!
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Source: Digital review copy received from the publisher for an honest review. No compensation received.