Book Review: Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland

Mistress of the Sun is the story of Louise de La Valliere, (known in the book by her pet name Petite) who became the mistress of King Louis XIV of France, he was also known as The Sun King. As a young girl her father had taught her to ride a horse, her favored horse was Diablo. Diablo was a menacing temperamental horse, he was beautiful and grand. To me this was a foreshadowing of her future enamored feelings for and relationship with The Sun King. When she was a young teenage girl she went to work and live with the Duc d' Orleans and his family. She was waiting maid to his daughter Marguerite. After the Duc's death she went to live in the palace with his widow and daughter's. Her affair with the king began shortly after her arrival.
Louise de La Valliere
Petite had been in a convent before going to live with the Duc and his family. In the convent she felt safe and well-cared for. She'd hoped to continue to live there. Her mother and step-father had made arrangements for her to be a waiting maid. How different her life would have been if her mother had left her alone.

Positive Points:
  • The exotic, enticing, and sensual intoxication of King Louis XIV is presented in story. The women at court swooned and fainted when near him. They had heart palpitations. It did not matter their age, nor if they were already married, women were enthralled by the king and could easily be bedded by him. I was shocked by these women who were persuaded easily to give up their life for the king. I have to remember this was another era, another culture. The author examined this attribute of court life, both the temptations, pursuance, and results. 
  • The king ruled the kingdom of France and Navarre. He ruled his family. He ruled court. What he said and wanted was granted. He was like a god to them. I felt after having read Mistress of the Sun, a better understanding of life under the domain of a king. 
  • I felt the story was well-researched and Petite (Louise) came to life for me. 
Negative Points:
  • All the swooning and love-making adventures were a bit over the top. I got a bit bored. It never felt as if their was a "real" love, but rather a lustful conquest/past-time. Maybe the king gave all the love he could give. It's a world I just don't get, much less would want to live in.
Published by Simon and Schuster 2008, paperback in 2009
400 pages
Historical Fiction/17th Century/France/September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012/Louis XIV/The Sun King/Mistresses of Kings

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Paperback $6.40
Kindle $12.99

September In Paris Reading Challenge 2012---Book #6 for Reading Challenge.