Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: Sandra Gulland
Publish Date: April 8, 2014
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "A series of chance
encounters gradually pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs
de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing
someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as
her personal attendant.
Enticed by the promise of riches and
respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find
that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty
masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs,
who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans
angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed.
Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts
and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate
to hold onto the King's favor, innocent love charms move into the realm
of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that
will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.
against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the
War of Theaters, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about
the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy
relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape
the future of France."
My Two Cents:
Shadow Queen" is an engaging historical fiction tale of Claudette, a
young woman who comes from a family of performers and actors and finds
herself in the center of the court of France's Louis XIV as she becomes a
confidante to Athenais, the King's mistress. Claudette was a real
person, which made this tale even more fascinating to read.
is a really interesting character and I really liked that she was based
on a real historical figure. Her voice felt really authentic to me and I
love the way that she was written. She grew up in a family of
performers and is very good at what she does. I loved reading about her
family and all of their performances that they put on for the nobility. I
think the world of theatre at that time must have been so absolutely
fascinating and it really shines through in this book.
centers on the characters but it also touches on the importance of
performers and actors in the political realm. I love historical fiction
that takes place in the Royal Courts of Europe but a lot of them can
kind of feel this same. The political and religion aspects of this book
gave this book a totally different feeling that I ate up. Although many
enjoyed their performances, the performers were often seen as almost
being evil. The juxtaposition between so many enjoying theatre and how
it interplayed with religion and politics was really interesting to me.
Overall, this was a fascinating take on court life and my fellow historical fiction fans will eat it up!