Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland
I love good historical fiction. The kind where the author spends a lot of time in research to really bring the reader into the time period. Sandra Gulland is that kind of an author. I read her Josephine B. trilogy (based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte) a few years back and loved it. This newer selection, Mistress of the Sun, is based on the life of Louise de La Vallière who became the mistress of King Louis XIV of France (known as the Sun King). Gulland has the ability to write in such a way that you feel like you know exactly what life in 17th Century France would be like. She is detailed enough to be accurate, but not in such a way that it becomes tedious and boring. The story itself is interesting as Louise (better known as Petite) is a most unlikely mistress. She is born of low nobility, interested in more masculine pursuits (such as horses, dogs and hunting) and walks with a limp. She is an innocent, having been raised partially in a convent, and knows not very much of how the intregues of court life works. I commend Gulland on her research right up to the letter to readers at the end, explaining all the characters she left out that would have been relavant, but also would bog up the story with too many people. Great read.