[Review] The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: Sandra Gulland
Publisher: Doubleday April 8, 2014
ISBN: 978-0385537520
Genre: Historical Fiction, France, 1600s, King Louis XIV, Sun King
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Rating: 5 Stars for Excellent. 
Source: Free advanced reader copy from France Book Tours, Doubleday, in exchange for a review. 

Link for book at Publisher: The Shadow Queen. 

Link at Amazon: The Shadow Queen. 
Hardcover $16.73 and Kindle $10.99


From the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.
1660, Paris
Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set.  From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother’s astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she’s socially scorned.
A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.
Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed.
Indeed, Claudette’s “reputable” new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King’s favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.
Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch war, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France. [provided by the author]
My Thoughts:
There are several reasons why I gave The Shadow Queen 5 stars for excellent. 
1. The main character Claudette, or Claude (which is the name she is referred to most often) is an admirable heroine. I found her to be intelligent and witty, imperfect and easy to relate to, she is a person who I could be friends with, a person most people would trust and feel at ease with. She has faithful devotion to family and close friends. Claude has dreams and aspirations; however, she is faithful to fulfill commitments to those in her care. 
2. Claude and her family are actors. It is intriguing to learn about this type of life during the 1600s. I didn't have a clue as to how difficult it was to earn a living, how the Catholic church viewed them, and theater life in general. My interest is peeked, and I'll be looking for more books on the life of a performer in theater.
3. Paris in the mid to late 1600s. The Shadow Queen, is an eye-opening description of the poverty in Paris. The descriptions of housing, streets, and Paris in general, gave me a well-rounded view. Although, the wealthy lived quite differently in lush and splendor. 
4.  Claude's brother is a dwarf. The prejudice, fear, and abuse, he suffered brought me to tears. I felt the love and tenderness Claude had for her brother. 
5. Claude became apart of the royal court, she is a maid to the mistress of the Sun King. The two women are strong-willed. Claude being the level-headed one. I was drawn to the similar, yet different personalities in the two women. I was moved and perplexed by the faithful devotion of Claude. 
6. Black Arts are brought forth in The Shadow Queen, it is a historical reality of the these women. People utilize magic potions to achieve control over another. I found it to be pitiable, not fearful.   
Sandra Gulland is the author of the Josephine B. Trilogy, internationally best-selling novels about Josephine Bonaparte which have been published in over seventeen countries. Her forth novel, Mistress of the Sun, set in the 17th-century court of the Sun King, was also a bestseller and published internationally.
Her most recent novel is The Shadow Queen, also set in theera of the Sun King, published in April of 2014 by HarperCollins in Canada and Doubleday in the U.S. 
See more on her website: www.sandragulland.com
Sign-up for her author newsletter: http://www.sandragulland.com/contacts/
Follow her on Facebook  | Twitter  |  Pinterest  | GoodReads


Monday, April 21
Review at Impressions in Ink
Tuesday, April 22
Review + Giveaway at Turning The Pages
Wednesday, April 23
Review + Giveaway at The Avid Reader
Thursday, April 24
Review + Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Friday, April 25
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Saturday, April 26
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Sunday, April 27
Review + Giveaway at Vvb32 Reads
Monday, April 28
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, April 29
Review + Giveaway at Doing Dewey
Wednesday, April 30
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Thursday, May 1
Review + Guest-post + Giveaway
at Books A to Z
Friday, May 2
Review + Giveaway at Book Nerd
Sunday, May 4
Guest-post + Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Monday, May 5
Review + Giveaway at Just Reviews
Tuesday, May 6
Review + Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, May 7
Review + Giveaway at Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, May 8
Review + Giveaway at
Musings of a Writer and Unabashed Francophile
Friday, May 9
Review + Giveaway at Literary Chanteuse
Saturday, May 10
Review + Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks



  1. thanks for your great review, it starts so well this tour! glad you enjoyed it so much


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