Sunday, 23 September 2012

Review: Before Versailles - Karleen Koen


Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man--the man before Versailles? 
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He's still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get--including his brother's wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love. 
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king's finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought--a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . . 


My thoughts:
First I must mentioned that I have read this book before. I think that is a sign I have become too much of a book lover, I thought the title was familliar but the cover was different and, oh yes I started to read and look at that. I had read it before, well let's just read it again then.

This is a book of many POVS, at times. Princess Henrietta's maid of honor Louise  is a main character but there are many others that want to say something, or think something. Since there are many players at this court.

It takes place during 4 months in 1661, Louis XIV is a young ruler in love with his sister in law and they have an affair. Then Louise comes along as a maid of honor, and of course he starts an affair with her, madly in love again. Affairs are going on left and right. People are young and in love.

Viscount Nicholas is spying on everyone, someone is questiong the king about his paterneity, and in the woods a boy in an iron mask is seen. A plot thread involving the Queen Mother and Cardinal Mazarin.

You know it will not be a happy end for Louise (of course I checked). He was a young king and he grew tired and cast her aside. He will have many more lovers. But that is not the story here, no here they are in love, for a while. They are happy, for a while. They are young and silly. And he does what kings do.

Sometimes it was hard to get a feel for everyone. Maybe it was the short period of time we knew them.

Conclusion:
A book for the lovers of French history. Love, lust, betrayal and intrigues. 

Cover: Fitting

Pages: 480
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: Sep 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first pub 2011)Source: For review
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37 comments:

  1. Somehow I feel meh. I prefer real history.

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    1. Real history? Well most things are real here, except for the iron mask then

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    2. Not having read the book I can't argue - let me just say that the story seemed somehow artificial.

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  2. Oh a French-English book, so fun!

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  3. I don't think I've read any French historical fiction. I'm too obsessed with the English, lol.

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    1. Same here if I am gonna be honest, but that is mostly cos that is what I find

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  4. I don't often read about French history, but I do enjoy it. I need to read more.

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  5. The cover is definitely different from the version I read too. I liked it, but there was a lot going on and it kind of dragged a little.

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    1. It did drag a little. Dunno why, sometimes I just can't put my finger on it

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  6. New covers are confusing lol :D I've read one of Koen's books and wasn't blown away but I've seen this before and it sounded good so had to add it to wishlist. And I haven't read much about Louis XIV.

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    1. I know! I am bad, but I take it as a sign that I am a true booklover. I have just read so many books ;)

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  7. I feel ya, I've read some books over without meaning to, but enjoying all the same.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  8. I laughed at how you realized you read this before, this use to happen to me all the time..now i keep spread sheet and careful records ..i hate when they re-release or change cover. Glad you enjoyed it the second time

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    Replies
    1. Lol, yes I should have checked goodreads! ;) of course that only helps me a few years back

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  9. LOL I love how you are reading it and then it hits you "oh yes I have read this before". This has happened to me often LOL

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    1. Hihi, I am glad that I am not alone ;)

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  10. I hate it when I'm tricked by a cover change or change of title into rereading something.

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    Replies
    1. I should have remembered, but honestly I suck at titles

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  11. I love french history. lol. I should check this out even though I didn't like 'Through a glass darkly'. great review.

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  12. Well I am all for A book for love lust betrayal and such!

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  13. I hate it when I get reading a book only to discover I've been suckered into a new cover of it! This does look like a good read though!

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    1. The thing is..I did not see the cover, I just suck at names ;)

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  14. Nice review, I have read some books by her, something to do with a dark mirror? Emigrating to America to start over?

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    1. Hm...dunno, but a glass book was just mentioned and I know the library has another book by her

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  15. He was in love with his sister? I did not know that. Sounds like this is a bit of a downer for poor Louise, but historical fiction never fails to fascinate me!

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  16. That is why I hate it sometimes when they change the cover. You are expecting something different and you've read it before! LOL

    It still sounds like an interesting historical romance.. or at least...lust. LOL

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  17. "Affairs are going on left and right. People are young and in love." - sounds like fun! ;)

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  18. It must be good if you went ahead and read it again!

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  19. Haha! I love that you had already read this one. That has happened to me before but I usually don't reread.

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