Author: Sally Christie
Publisher: Atria Books
Date of publicattion: March 21, 2017
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.
See what others are saying about The Enemies of Versailles
“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.
“Sally Christie’s The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV’s France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy.” (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS)
“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy)
“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution…. Historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)
“Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)
Apartment Hopping at Versailles
Apartments were key to life at Versailles: they reflected your social status and your favor with the current monarch. Apparently shuffling his courtiers around between apartments was one of King Louis XV’s favorite games! How large your apartment was and what amenities it might have – windows, ceiling height, a faucet, near a kitchen or far away from the privies – was a good way to gauge who was in favor or not. What floor you were on mattered as well: generally the main floor was reserved for royalty or Princes of the Blood (more distant relatives of the king), and the higher you got, the lower the ceilings became.
Being able to live in the palace was reserved for those who had a charge, or official position, in one of the royal households or in the government. As the 18th century progressed, along with the size of the king’s family – Louis XV had eight children who survived infancy – the palace became more and more crowded. Beyond the grand state rooms the place was a jumble and a rat’s nest: rooms were divided and re-divided, both vertically and horizontally (!) as more and more courtiers vied for a coveted spot in the palace. Even the smallest of apartments and the least prestigious – perhaps just a single room under the eaves – was coveted, because, well, Versailles!
While keeping their perch in the palace, a courtier would most likely also have a house in the town of Versailles, just outside the palace gates. Here, their servants lived, they kept their carriages and their wardrobes and they might entertain – only the largest apartments at Versailles could accommodate enough tables for a grand dinner party.
The Marquise de Pompadour – a girl from a relatively humble background who rose to become the most powerful woman in France – really knew she had arrived when she was given a grand ground floor apartment that had previously been occupied by one of the king’s daughters.
After Pompadour’s death, the apartments were occupied by Mesdames, Louis XV’s unmarried daughters who were staunch enemies of all their father’s mistresses. Madame Adelaide, the eldest daughter and one of the protagonists of The Enemies of Versailles, was keenly attuned to the social snobbery and nuances of etiquette at Versailles, and no doubt delighted in her prestigious rooms that she shared with her sisters. You can see their rooms, called Mesdames Apartments, on the public tour of Versailles and they are really worth the visit.
When Louis XV’s final mistress, the Comtesse du Barry, arrived on the scene, she didn’t vie for a prestigious ground floor apartment but chose to remain “under the eaves” on the third floor. Her apartment was extensive – 13 rooms, the largest in the palace at that time – and delightful: low ceilinged, cozy, intimate, each room painted in a different pastel color, and even a tiled bathroom (apparently she loved baths!).
Her rooms aren’t generally open to the public but while doing the research for my books, I was able to go on a backstage visit. What a treat it was to wander through her rooms and breathe in the memories of that delightful woman who unfortunately had such a tragic end during the Revolution.
You can see some pictures from that visit on my website www.sallychristieauthor.com.
About Sally Christie
Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.
Connect with Sally
Sally Christie’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, March 7th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, March 8th: Reading Reality
Thursday, March 9th: Books Without Any Pictures
Friday, March 10th: Books à la Mode – Spotlight/Feature
Monday, March 13th: Historical-Fiction.com
Tuesday, March 14th: From the TBR Pile – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, March 15th: Let Them Read Books
Thursday, March 16th: Scandalous Women
Friday, March 17th: BookNAround
Monday, March 20th: Books ‘n Tea
Monday, March 20th: An Accidental Blog
Tuesday, March 21st: Read Love Blog – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, March 22nd: The Maiden’s Court
Thursday, March 23rd: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Monday, March 27th: Must Read Faster
Tuesday, March 28th: Hoser’s Blook
Thursday, March 30th: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, March 31st: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Spotlight/Feature
Monday, April 3rd: A Holland Reads – Spotlight/Feature
Wednesday, April 5th: Becky on Books
Friday, April 7th: A Literary Vacation