France is at its lowest point. The country is bankrupt and colonies and prestige are lost, seemingly forever. I feel as though the end of the war in some way mirrors my own battle, for I have fought and fought, and though they say I am victorious, what have I really won?
A continuation of the mistresses of King Louis IV and the culture it created in Europe and the church. Reinette Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson known as the Marquise De Pompadour is the focus in the Rivals of Versailles as so many desired to unseat her in the life of King Louis. As a little girl, she was told that she would be the little Queen to King Louis. Her mother took this prophecy to heart and groomed her to be the mistress of the King. Once she became powerful, many others plotted her destruction and for the King to banish her from Versailles.
It is an interesting account of the culture and how these many women claimed to love the King never knowing their fate. The manipulation of these women to obtain security and power is revealing that we never change. Just watch the Bachelor or the Bachelorette and you can see what I mean. A show I never watch but the commercials give me a pretty good ideal what goes on. What I found interesting and compelling is how much the Marquise understood the king and his needs. Later in her life, she was more of a trusted friend than a mistress. The church turned a blind eye and gave the King absolution in all of his discretions which in todays world would include being a pedophile. Power corrupts absolutely and the people follow.
The King was a beloved King of the people until poverty struck down the country and then the people turned on him. He is not portrayed as a evil man but a man that ran away from resistance and ran to instant gratification. A man that feared death and used women (and the women used him) without any restraint to feel alive. The women as well were not portrayed as evil but were used as pawns to the kings weakness and they themselves embraced the power that could be theirs if they captured the kings heart. Some were funny, witty and always compelling.
Many times during this read I would google a person of interest or a painting that was depicted and it gave more depth to this well written novel. A historical favorite.
A Special Thank You to Atria Books and Netgalley for the ARC the opportunity to post an honest review.