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03 January, 2009
Book Review: The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin
This was the last book I read in 2008. I read and reviewed this book for Armchair Interviews.
In the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, courtier’s flock to Versailles for many varying reasons. For many it is the prestige and power gained by being a participating member of the court, for other’s it is for their love of the King and his Queen, for many it is a paradise. But for some courtiers like Jeanne Mas du Bois, life in the court is a pretty but unpleasant prison.
Jeanne, is recently returned to life at court after living in a convent for the past ten years. An independent and spirited young woman, Jeanne has a love for history and chafes at the restrictions placed upon her sex. Her uneasiness with her life chafes her spirit, and more than once she finds herself facing her father’s wrath over imagined and real slights to his image of noble courtier. However Jeanne’s cherished uncle, Jules Du Mas, one of the king’s fencing partner’s, encourages her spirited independence while secretly teaching her how to fence
It is during one of these secret lessons, that Jeanne and her uncle save the lives of two musketeers. Jeanne, mistaken for male, is admitted into the circle of friends who are all members of the King’s Musketeers. It is in their company, disguised as the young man Jean-Luc that Jeanne learns of a plot to kill the Queen. Jeanne soon finds herself in a precarious position as she tries to navigate the tangled web of court intrigue. As Jean-Luc she has the freedom that she yearns for, and the honor and respect of the four musketeers. But as Jeanne, female courtier, she is plagued with an impending forced marriage to a boy she care nothing for, a growing love for the musketeer Henri, and the trials of trying to help put an end to the villains trying to kill her beloved queen.
The Courtier’s Secret is Donna Russo Morin’s debut book, and it is a wonderfully spun gem of a story. I found myself transported back to 17th century France, and life in Versailles. I find myself looking forward to reading this author’s books in the future.