Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: The Wardrobe Mistress

The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie AntoinetteAuthor: Meghan Masterson
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

It's Giselle Aubry's first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette's newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it's a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen's wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in the Parisian countryside where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.

From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Leon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.

But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything...maybe even her head.

The Wardrobe Mistress is Meghan Masterson's fascinating and visceral debut, not to be missed.

“I turn away from the smell of death, pressing my lavender scented handkerchief as tight as I can against my nose.” 

“There must be no repercussions to this,” says Marie Antoinette. Her quiet voice slides through the room like the whisper of a steel blade.” 

“I falter in the doorway, swept with memories of my reckless behavior last time I saw him. I sipped wine from a bottle. I kissed him. And as my pulse flutters with excitement, I know I would do it again, given the chance.” 

Ever since middle school, and discovering my love for history and all its wonder, I have been in love with anything referring to Marie Antoinette. This story paints an entirely different picture than the one that history has left us of the “let them eat cake” Queen of France. This story gives us a caring, loving woman who just wanted peace and unity amongst her people. The book follows Giselle, the newest wardrobe lady, for the Queen. Giselle is fascinated by learning more about the infamous Marie Antoinette and while others pour all their energy into hating her, Giselle is enamored by what seems to be a sad, lonely woman who just wants love and admiration. Giselle is surrounded by many people, some of her closest friends included, that are supporters of the revolution so she is often torn regarding the new King and Queen of France.

As much as I would have loved to have read the story from Marie Antoinette’s point of view, Giselle was a happy second. Her character was naïve at times, but quickly grew into a rather loveable dynamic character. She is surrounded by people who would have her think ill about the Queen, especially her uncle who has charged her with spying on the Queen. I loved the detail that Masterson gives readers about the revolution and how she covers important events like the storming of the Bastille. The action leapt off the page and I was glad that the fact was mixed with fiction. The best part of this book by far was the romantic relationship between Giselle and Leon – two young lovers with opposing political viewpoints. Such a beautifully written tale that took me no time at all to read!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for my honest review***

No comments:

Post a Comment