The Sisters of Versailles

FINALLY! I broke my streak with war and nightmares. I really was not sure it was every going to end!

I have read dozens of books about Henry VIII and his scandalous court. Seemingly everyone has heard of his lustful boredom and endless pursuits. However, two centuries later, another king followed in his very sexed up shoes.

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King Louis XV of France–Louis the Beloved–ruled from 1710 to 1774. He was married to a Polish princess, but after seven years of marriage, he was becoming bored, and his advisers decided they needed to find a replacement close and quiet. According to Sally Christie in her new book The Sisters of Versailles, they found the perfect solution in Louise Nesle, serving as one of the Queen’s consorts.

However, because this is a scandal story, of course it doesn’t just stop there. There were five Nesle sisters. I’ll leave you to read what happens.

Christie’s historical fiction drips with so much sticky sweet scandal that you would think you were biting into a caramel apple (just keep it away from Diane, or she might snatch it from you). Every chapter holds a new drama–either a fight that is “not very sororal” according to the Nesle governess Zeilie, or littered with sexual innuendo so dirty even I couldn’t have come up with some of it. And that’s saying something. (I did make sure to take note of them…don’t you worry! clickFILEclick)

The Goodreads blurb states that these women have never before been written about in English, which devastates me, because I very much want to read more! Not that Sally Christie hasn’t done a fantastic job, because she has…but this is one of those sections of history I could get addicted to. It’s like a historical soap opera or reality show. Keeping Up with the Nesles. Now THAT is something I would watch! Oh man. Who do I talk to at HBO to do this?

Seriously though guys, if you like Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, or Hilary Mantel…really any of the great scandal writers from Henry VIII’s court…you’re going to love this one. Same idea, different king. History really does repeat itself, doesn’t it?

 

Netgalley provided this ARC for an unbiased reviewReleases on September 1.

 

Buy it Here:

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A Game of Thrones

I had completely intended on doing a write up every night like I did for the first 200 pages…

…and then I started reading, and got so wrapped up into the story that I failed miserably. So, I’m sorry. I should know better than to force myself to break a book apart like that. It’s why I hated reading books in school!

But, I am done now, with the reread of A Game of Thrones. and I loved it, even more so than the first time through. Maybe especially more so than the first time through, because now it all makes sense. I had hoped it would. Having the TV characters and scenes and places in my head completely put everything into perspective and just “decomplicates” Martin’s plot mazes.

I had originally planned on making a list of everyone who dies, but soon found that to be impossible. Kudos to the people who mark the books with postits….that would make me absolutely crazy.

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This was a brand new book when I started…oops!

Some thoughts:

1. About Viserys, and my “Wake the Dragon” comment on before…I think that while he may have insinuated raping Dany repeatedly, and in his mind that’s what he was threatening, I don’t think that he ever really had that much power or strength. Viserys was very much a boy playing a king, and he may have gotten some scary slaps in, enough to scare pre-Khaleesi Dany, but not enough to completely tear her apart. And after analyzing it…I don’t think he ever raped her. I think she was scared of it happening, before she was married, but I don’t think it actually did.

2. I love the descriptions of the food in the Seven Kingdoms. Thank you George RR Martin, nom nom nom. My favorite things to eat have always been very simple–meats, cheeses, fruits. And this is exactly what is portrayed here. Simple roast fowl with crisp skin. Herbed broth. Lemon cakes whenever a treat is needed. There is always wine or thick yeasty beer. Soak it all up with some heavy dark bread. Oh, and the cheeses. I so want the cheeses. Hard or soft, yes yes yes. Old world food at it’s very finest. It was what they could get, when they could get it, and only the best served in the palaces, of course. Obviously this is not the most important thing in the book, but it always peaks my interest.

3. Battle scenes have never interested me all that much in any book, and I tend to scan over them. Many writers spend a LOT of time on battles if they include them. So far, it seems like Martin, while he does include some, they are a page or so, and then he’s back into the dialogue. Or, it’s people talking about the battle rather than a narrative. It’s so much more interesting that way…still bloody, still action packed, but more informative and less rambling.

I’m looking forward to Clash of Kings. Taking a break though, so you’ll see a few books in between. Catch up with you later!

 

A Game of Thrones–Day 1

***Spoiler Alert***

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I am about 200 pages into A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin–Cat has just been to visit Ned after Bran’s attempted murder. Jon is trying to adjust at life at the wall. This is my second time through it, and whoa. Now that I’ve watched the shows, I can’t believe how much my eyes are opened from the first time I read it. I remember being so lost between all of the characters and plots and the world of Westeros. Now that I have pictures in my head, everything just makes so much more sense!

There are a few things that are standing out in my mind though so far.

1. Everyone is just so YOUNG! I understand why the aged the characters in the show–with all the nudity and sex and the marriages, it would be hard for a lot of people to grasp certain things happening with 13 year olds. Not to mention probably illegal to show and so impossible for HBO to get license to publish. But even the adults are so much younger. Ned and Robert are only in their 30s, which would mean their wives are probably in their early 20s. It’s just a different period (even if it is fantasy).

2. Viserys’s “Dragon.” Did he rape Dany? Repeatedly? What did he mean by she “wakes the dragon”? There’s only one dragon that I can imagine whenever he says that, and it infuriates me. But then, later, at the wedding she is shocked as if she had never seen anything like that type of violence before.

3. Something else about the wedding, and this is something that everyone debates–the sex scene between Dany and Drogo afterwards. She is scared, yes, he’s big, and powerful, and they don’t know the same language. But he tries to communicate with only word he knows, “No.” But it’s kind of like “I am Groot.” There are different inflections, and he uses body language to make up the rest. He waits for her to respond as he touches her. He is affectionate. And he does not rush her. This is not rape. In the show, it was portrayed much more violently then in the book. He takes her as Dothraki take their women, and later she teaches him a better way. But in the book it is very loving, very patient.

That’s all for now. Back to reading. I’m really enjoying the differences so far, and breaking everything down! Let me know if you have any thoughts or opinions on the above. I’d love to hear especially what you think about #2. It’s really left to interpretation I think, so I’m sure there are many theories.