Little Jeanne was disgusted by the dirty old woman at the fair who wanted to tell her fortune. While her mother haggled about the price, she was impatient to be away and see the dancing ducks. Ah, but this fortune teller was to change Jeanne’s life forever, for she said that Jeanne would be loved by a king, and be the most powerful woman in the land. Reinette became her name as her mother and her mother’s lover began planning a path to that promised future. She was to be carefully educated, learning from the finest in the land. There would be lessons in painting, drawing, singing, dancing, history, geography.
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson was the most beautiful woman in France and with the thorough education provided by her “Uncle” Norman, some plotting behind the scenes, and a little luck, she overcame the great handicap of being bourgeois to become the mistress to Louis V. Soon she was given lands and the title Marquise de Pompadour. But the plotting behind the scenes continued. Louis had an insatiable appetite and rivals began to appear. All were deftly dispatched. For almost twenty years until her death in 1764, she was by the king’s side and is considered to be one of the three most powerful women of the eighteenth century.
Filled with detail of the extravagant royal court and characters so vivid they jump off the pages, this is a book that is hard to put down. Sally Christie has done her research and stays close to facts, rearranging only a few things to make the story flow. The first book in the trilogy, The Sisters of Versailles, was very good. This one was even better, and I am looking forward to the final volume.
eGalley review Publication date 4.5.16
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