THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES is the sequel to THE SISTERS OF
VERSAILLES, Sally Christie's debut novel. In this book,
we get to follow Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson also known as
Marquise de Pompadour or Madame de Pompadour. Young
Jeanne was told as a child by a gypsy fortune-teller that
she would one day become the lover of a king and be the
most powerful women in the land. And she became, by
scheming and some luck, the mistress of King Louis XV.
But, being the mistress of the king also means she
gathers a lot of enemies who would do anything to see
her thrown out of the king's bed and Versailles. And, she
has to be vigilant to all those younger women who would
do anything to take her place.
I was eager to read THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES after
reading THE SISTERS OF VERSAILLES a while ago. The first
book was enthralling to read, and I was looking forward to
reading about Madame de Pompadour, a woman who I heard
much about but did not really know more than the basic
facts about her life. I had some problem really warming up
to Jeanne in the beginning, for a while I thought I
wouldn't care so much about her as I did the sisters in
THE SISTERS OF VERSAILLES. But, when other women started
to make their moves to become the king's mistress did I
realize that I'd become quite attached to Jeanne. I
liked her, and I wanted her to be at the king's side. It
was quite amusing to read about some of the women who
tried to take her place. The story shifts a couple of
times from Jeanne's point-of-view to some women who
thought they could be the new mistress. But, they
really didn't have her shrewdness.
Christie has a wonderful way of describing the court
life, but I also like that she manages to write about the
injustice against the bourgeois, the middle class. You
can in the story see the shift in how the people view of
king, how the once beloved king becomes hated and there is
an attempt on his life. One can see the roots to the
revolution that would one day change France forever.
THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES is a wonderful book, a truly
great portrait of one of the most famous women in
history. You don't have to read THE SISTERS OF VERSAILLES
to enjoy this book. But, the first book is just as
interesting as this one. I think THE RIVALS OF VERSAILLES
suit anyone who likes reading historical fiction, and
especially those who like to read about a strong woman.
And you thought sisters were a thing to fear. In this captivating
follow-up to Sally Christie’s clever and absorbing debut, we meet
none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest
beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever
to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles.
The year is 1745 and King Louis XV’s bed is once again empty.
Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a beautiful girl from the middle
classes. As a child, a fortune teller had told young Jeanne’s
destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most
powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a
little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the King’s
All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to
replace the bourgeois interloper with a more suitable mistress.
As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many
rivals—including a lustful lady-in-waiting, a precocious
fourteen-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious
Nesle sisters—she helps the king give himself over to a life of
luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows,
and France inches ever closer to the Revolution.
Told in Christie's celebrated witty and modern style, The Rivals
of Versailles will delight and entrance fans as it brings to life
the court of Louis XV in all its pride, pestilence, and glory.