Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

I used to be adamant about my distaste for Romance novels. I knew them as the Harlequin Romance novels my mom used to devour alongside Junior Mints on a quiet Sunday afternoon or the bodice rippers one of my friends used to have her nose buried in during high school lunches. I thought they were an inferior literary genre– simple, formulaic, and full of smut, which I did not want to read; in hindsight, I think that perspective was deeply rooted in internalized misogyny. Then a few years back, I read the Flat Share by Beth O’Leary, and my appreciation for Romance literature started to blossom. I’m still learning my preferences when it comes to the genre, so my experience is hit and miss, and unfortunately, my most recent venture into the genre with Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade was a big miss.

Continue reading Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

Like many folks, or at least like the folks in my liberal echo chamber of the internet, I spent a fair amount of 2020 in lockdown unlearning everything I was taught in U.S. History class. Then I was, at some point, struck with the desire to take a somewhat-chronological deep dive into U.S. History and read nonfiction books from an array of perspectives. So, I started my journey with Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. It’s a nonfiction novel that explores the national myth of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and the first Thanksgiving, the relationship between Native Americans and English colonists that degraded over time, and inevitably the deadly wars such as the Pequot War and King Philip’s War.

Continue reading Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Ever since I read My Best Friend’s Exorcism a few years back, Grady Hendrix has topped a very short list of Authors Whose Books I Instantly Buy Hardcover Copies of Upon Their Release, While Simultaneously Reading Their Backlist Books. The list of authors is shorter than the title… So, when the Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was released, I told multiple people I wanted it for Christmas. It was the only thing I asked for, last year. Thankfully at least one person listened to me, and the book didn’t disappoint!

Continue reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Murder in the Mystery Suite Book Review

There is something so delightfully tacky about the book covers for cozy mystery novels. I especially love the book covers that have a beautifully illustrated background but then have other elements from the novel (say, books, a cat, a bicycle) photoshopped in from what I assume are stock photographs. They remind me of the hidden object games I became obsessed with my final year at college when I was avoiding attending my business law lectures. The textures seem a little off, but I find the book covers endearing and comforting, and this is probably why I couldn’t resist purchasing a copy of Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams. Either that or it was the cat on the cover. I’m 100% more likely to pick up your cozy mystery novel if there is a cat on the cover as demonstrated here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Murder in the Mystery Suite (A Book Retreat Mystery, #1) by Ellery Adams

Released: August 2014
Publisher: Berkley
★★★☆☆

Add to Goodreads

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…


It’s easy for cozy mysteries to become formulaic. Typically, the main character is a female, who is thrown out in to the world on her own after a recent divorce/break up with her boyfriend/death of her husband. She’s still getting used to life on her own, but luckily she has been able to turn her hobby into a career, so she has a distraction as she navigates her grief. Then, someone dies in or around her business, and she’s thrust into a situation where she has to figure out whodunnit.

Also:

  • the female lead has a cat (or maybe a dog to appeal to those other readers)
  • a potential love interest is introduced
  • if the female lead is new in town, she may be a suspect in the murder mystery
  • the setting is usually a very small town, where all of the townsfolk have been able to turn their hobbies into careers too
  • the female lead probably lives in an old Victorian-style home

Murder in the Mystery Suite had several of those elements, but then Jane, our heroine, discovers a family secret hidden within the walls of Storyton Hall that sets this novel apart from the rest of the cozies. What I thought was going to be my typical cozy mystery ended up having more action and adventure than usual complete with secret agents, a little bit of espionage, hidden rooms, and blow dart guns. Murder in the Mystery Suite was probably one of the most thrilling cozies I’ve ever read!

There were some inconsistencies, like the fact that this story takes place in rural Virginia, but all of the characters seemed prim and proper; I kept thinking the story took place in England. Also, Storyton Hall is initially described as falling on hard times, and yet the resort was able to invest enough money for a week-long Murder & Mayhem themed program complete with costume parties, multi-course gourmet meals, and Rolls Royce town cars to pick up attendees. If readers can look past that, Murder in the Mystery Suite promises readers a fun and engaging whodunnit. Mystery novel nerds will especially love all of the literary references made throughout the story!

Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to picking up the second book in this series, Murder in the Paperback Parlor, in which Jane plans a romance novel themed week for Valentine’s Day.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I had a difficult time immersing myself in I Found You by Lisa Jewell, and I’m not entirely sure why. This novel had many characteristics that I appreciate. It was atmospheric. The writing was beautiful. It involved a mystery that I desperately wanted to solve. Yet, I started this book four separate times before finally reading all the way to the end.

What Jewell successfully created in I Found You is an atmospheric novel, rich with vivid imagery and an underlying sinister feeling that both entices readers to keep turning the pages while at the same time making them feel slightly squidgy about the story that is unfolding. And, for the most part, I think that’s what I was really sticking around for– the atmosphere and, yes, the squidginess, though that seems to be the case with most of the books I’ve been reading lately. Because honestly, I found the plot line to be somewhat predictable, the characters to be kind of unrealistic, and the pacing to be somewhat slow compared to the usual thriller. And, let’s be real– if a man suffering from amnesia shows up on my property during a rainstorm, I’m not inviting him to spend the night in my detached garage (even though the previous tenants were so thoughtful to leave behind their mildewy box spring); I’m calling 9-1-1 not only to get this guy medical attention but to report a missing person. And, God forbid he enters my home uninvited to toast my hypothetical daughter a bagel and watch cartoons with her! How did the protagonist, Alice Lake, find this totally acceptable and endearing when the average person would lose their mind?

Yet, despite my grief with the characters, part of what made this story so compelling is not just the alternation of narrators (between modern-day Alice Lake and Lily Monrose as well as the past’s Graham Ross), but also the alternation of timelines. While I’ve struggled with alternating timelines in the past, Jewell incorporates one that is not only intriguing but even blends the voices of the past and present together in a way that truly had me on the edge of my seat.


I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Released: June 2016
Genre: Mystery
Age Group: Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of the protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

TLC Book Tours
This novel was provided for free from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

How to Be Everything: a Guide for People Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick

In kindergarten, I wanted to be either a tiger or a cowboy-girl. Throughout elementary school and high school, I wanted to be a teacher, a librarian, a writer, a publisher, an actress (despite my crippling fear of public speaking), a website designer, some unnamed profession that would allow me to afford a loft in a New York City high-rise and eat carry out every night because I didn’t want to cook or do dishes. In college, I had no idea what I wanted to be anymore. I think I still wanted to be a teacher, but I refused to admit it because it was the expectation whenever I told someone I was majoring in English. Maybe I wanted to be a technical writer. Maybe I wanted to be a translator. Maybe I wanted to do it all but couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work, which is why I wish How to Be Everything by Emilie Wapnick existed back then.

There is no hiding it. How to Be Everything is a “self-help” book, but it’s not the kind of “self-help” book that you would be embarrassed to admit that you read…and appreciated. It’s full of personality, positivity, brainstorming activities, and challenges to help you put your dreams in motion. The book also presents four different models to help you take control and design your ideal career path that embraces your multipotentiality. Currently, I follow the Einstein Approach; it’s the idea that, for those who require stability, a person chooses a day job that is “good enough” but provides the means to pursue interests after hours– I’m an accountant by day and a book blogger/avid reader/writer/amateur cook/gamer girl/superhero by night. I’d love to take the Slash Approach though, which could mean having 2…3…4 different jobs but all of them embracing a different aspect of a person’s multipotentiality.

How to Be Everything would make a great gift for someone entering college or someone entering the workforce for the first time because they’re just starting to design their lives and their careers. I would also say this book is great for anyone who feels dissatisfied in their job; maybe it will plant the seeds of change in a person’s life. For me personally though? I’m not sure How to Be Everything influenced my mode of thinking drastically; it was empowering though and validated what I already suspected about myself. At almost twenty-nine, I follow the Einstein Approach (unintentionally) for a reason. While I wish I could take the Slash Approach to my career, I’m not comfortable with the thought of throwing caution to the wind, sacrificing stability, and changing my career (anytime soon). I’m not sure what Jon and I would have to achieve before I felt comfortable stepping back from a job that is “good enough” to pursue a career path that satiates my curiosity and desire for creativity.


About Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick is a speaker, career coach, blogger, and community leader. She is the founder and creative director at Puttylike.com, where she helps multipotentialites integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling, and fruitful careers and lives. Unable to settle on a single path, Emilie studied music, art, film production, and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University in 2011. Emilie is a TED speaker and has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, The Financial Times, The Huffington Post, and Lifehacker. Her TED talk, “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling,” has been viewed over 3.5 million times, and has been translated into 36 languages. She has been hired as a guest speaker and workshop facilitator at universities, high schools, and organizations across the United States and internationally.

Find out more about Emilie at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


How to Be Everything: a Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick

Released: May 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Group: Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a familiar question we’re all asked as kids. While seemingly harmless, the question has unintended consequences. It can make you feel like you need to choose one job, one passion, one thing to be about. Guess what? You don’t.

Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn’t make you a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” Your endless curiosity doesn’t mean you are broken or flaky. What you are is a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.

How to Be Everything helps you channel your diverse passions and skills to work for you. Based on her popular TED talk, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”, Emilie Wapnick flips the script on conventional career advice. Instead of suggesting that you specialize, choose a niche or accumulate 10,000 hours of practice in a single area, Wapnick provides a practical framework for building a sustainable life around ALL of your passions.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie is such a tough act to follow. Especially if the next book that is picked up is also of the historical fiction variety. How could anything even compare to a book that I’ve anticipated reading for months? Enter The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron– a bit of a historical “whodunnit” set in 1927 Boston and on the Vaudeville stage. It had the ingredients to become an instant favorite, yet in the end, I just sort of felt like something was missing.

I think the thing that frustrated me the most about The Illusionist’s Apprentice is it’s one of those stories that bounce around the timeline. The story opens in 1926/1927 in Boston. Then, six chapters later, we’re back in 1907 to reveal some small insight into one of the characters. A few pages later, we’re back in 1927 only to bounce back to 1924 in the next chapter for some more character insight. And so on and so forth. Part of me can appreciate what the author was trying to do; there were so many details in the past that seemed unassuming at first, but they ended up being totally relevant to the end of the novel. My biggest qualm was…I just felt disoriented. And I don’t think it’s through any fault of the author or the story; I think I just prefer more linear storytelling. I struggled to keep track of the timeline in Linda Lafferty’s the Girl Who Fought Napoleon after all. That being said, I also felt…well…bored? The timeline shifts slowed the pacing of the story down, sure, but what really frustrated me was that I finally discovered a novel that boasts being written about the jazz age that doesn’t revolve around/involve flappers, and I kept getting stuck in Wren’s sad childhood in 1907.

What I was really sticking around for was Cambron’s writing and world-building. It was beautiful and atmospheric and full of intrigue both on and off stage. Plus, I was totally enamored by her choice to set the story against America’s Vaudeville scene, which is this jarring juxtaposition of gilt and grit and occasionally the grotesque. It’s a breeding ground for secrets and double lives and protagonist Wren Lockhart (illusionist, not magician) has them both; she’s a puzzle I wanted to unlock.

It also made me want to listen to nothing but dark cabaret music for about a week straight, so I’ll leave you with this:


The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

Released: March 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Age Group: Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her.

Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

TLC Book Tours
This novel was provided for free from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

About a month after publishing a blog post about how I was nervous to start reading Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris, a reader pointed out that a fair amount of time had passed and I still hadn’t written a review for the novel; she was curious about what I thought of the book. The truth is…it took me nearly a month to read the novel, and it was a pretty grueling experience.

I went into reading Dead Until Dark with skepticism. I’ve never developed a fondness for novels about vampires, and I suspected this novel was mostly smut, yet I was pleasantly surprised in the first few chapters. I was impressed by the character of Sookie Stackhouse and how vivid her voice was. She seemed like a down-to-earth and simple southern girl who had an insatiable curiosity about vampires. She also had a peculiar gift that allowed her to read the thoughts of others, which…okay…I wasn’t that impressed with. It was a little too Bella Swan for my taste (and yes, I realize Dead Until Dark was published first), though I was willing to overlook it.

And then everything changed following her first roll in the hay with Bill, the vampire. Sookie Stackhouse? Surely her name is really Mary Sue!

  • She’s the most gorgeous girl in Bon Temps, Louisiana, which she and everyone in Bon Temps constantly remind the reader about. I guess the only reprieve the reader gets is at least Sookie doesn’t try to convince you she’s just mediocre looking despite an excess amount of male attention.
  • She refers to her magical ability, which allows her to read the minds of those around her, as a “disability”. Gross.
  • Said magical ability is a result of her not-so-human status (which is actually revealed in later novels, I just accidentally found a spoiler).
  • Spoilers also tell me of a love pentagon? A love hexagon? Just no.
  • She’s abstained from any romantic and sexual relationships because of her mind reading ability, so naturally her first sexual encounters, with a vampire of course, reveal she’s actually a sexual beast. Who doesn’t come out the gate swingin’ though, amiright? (Just kidding. The answer to that question is “NO ONE”).
  • She essentially has a minimum wage job, but she doesn’t ever have to worry about money because a giant “nest egg” has been willed to her. On multiple occasions. This allows her to take all the time off from work that she needs with no consequence. That and her boss is in love with her. How convenient.

There was a mystery in this book too that became quite muddled after Sookie lost her V-card. I mean, it was a compelling murder mystery at first, but then the story morphed into this weird relationship power struggle between Bill and Sookie. Bill was a bit of a wet blanket unless bedroom activity was involved, and Sookie was excessively stubborn by refusing her gentleman caller unless bedroom activity was involved. I forgot about the mystery until the last couple of chapters, which in all fairness, wrapped up nicely.

In the end, while I didn’t hate Dead Until Dark, it definitely didn’t impress me. I sort of wish I could have my month back to trudge through a different novel.


Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris

Released: May 2001
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Mystery
Age Group: Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability.” She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome–and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life….

But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of–big surprise–murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next….

The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

Pardon me. I’m just feeling a bit emotional right now. I’ve officially finished the final installment of the Mistresses of Versailles series by Sally Christie– the Enemies of Versailles. I know I’ve dedicated a fair amount of blog space to this genius series already, but allow me just one more post (at least this quarter because I know the Enemies of Versailles is going to be mentioned again in my 2017 wrap up post).

My love for this series was so unexpected because it was entirely out of my comfort zone. I only dabble in historical fiction, and I try to steer clear of any books that could be described as “steamy”. Yet, here I am, consuming these books faster than Victoire consumes her cordial. These books are vibrant and full of life and personality. They’re hilarious. And, tucked in between bed sheets pages of scheming mistresses and unfaithful kings, there is actually a lot of substance, whether it’s the surprising depth of the characters or…well…the socio-economic structure of 18th century France, the fall of the House of Bourbon, how brothels work, and the French Revolution.

The series as a whole was consistently well-written and engaging, but the Enemies of Versailles was perhaps my favorite novel of the trilogy. In the Sisters of Versailles and the Rivals of Versailles, there were several narrators. While the shift between the many narrators made the novels seem fast-paced, I did find the flip-flopping to be confusing at first. I also found some narrators more compelling than others. But the Enemies of Versailles only had two narrators– Comtesse du Barry, the king’s official mistress, and Madame Adelaide, the king’s daughter.

It’s been interesting to watch King Louis XV’s mistresses decline in social standing throughout the course of the series. The Sisters of Versailles were nobles. Madame Pompadour was bourgeois. And Comtesse du Barry, despite what the name suggests, was of even lower social strata and made ends meet through prostitution. Comtesse du Barry, like previous mistresses, was portrayed as an airhead at first, distracted by gilt and gems, but she later grows into her role at Versailles (thankfully not as maliciously as previous mistresses).

To give a voice to Madame Adelaide, the king’s daughter was also a fascinating choice. I suspect one of the reasons is to juxtapose France’s First Estate (the nobles) against the Third Estate (the commoners), as the tides of revolution lap at the gates of Versailles. But it also demonstrates how unnatural the royal family feels– like the queen and her children just simply existed in the background because King Louis XV had more important things to pay attention to (certainly not church sermons though). With the children being taken care of by wet nurses and tutors and whose marriages were treated as business deals and war strategies, it’s surprising they would even have any kind of attachment to their parents. And yet, Madame Adelaide seems to truly adore her father and not just because he is the King of France. Their relationship made me feel so sad though. I got the sense that Madame Adelaide wanted to have a real relationship with her father but couldn’t. Not only has she been constantly cast aside when King Louis XV preferred to dote on mistresses, she, like every other royal subject, had to request an audience with her father!

The Enemies of Versailles didn’t seem as fast-paced as the two previous novels, but there was more character-building and more world-building this time around. Christie’s challenge was to make readers care about these two women, who seem self-centered and too caught up in living in material excess (maybe kind of like the Kardashians). Because, inevitably, the novel ends at the beginning of great turmoil– the French Revolution. The final scenes of this novel, this series, when royalty is being beheaded and nobles are being tried for being spies for the old regime are some of the most emotional. Throughout this entire series, Louis, his mistresses, his family, the court at Versailles, heck! even church leaders are caught up in this gross obsession with wealth at the expense of everyone else. They’ve bankrupted their country and raised the deficit and yet, the government will not make any motion to reform taxes. People are suffering, and to make matters worse, the nobles don’t even recognize the damage they have done. There is this wonderful passage to capture this:

“Six hundred black crows breaching the walls of our palace. Who are these men? Nothing, their blood denuded of that essence that marks the noble races. The nobles have defended France, the clergy has prayed for France, but what have these men done? Probably they do some tasks that are important, but they are menial ones, and why should they have any glory or power for that?

And yet, the final chapters are the most gripping. Despite their attitudes, I still hoped Madame Adelaide and her family could escape the revolution. I still hoped Comtesse Du Barry’s pleas wouldn’t fall on deaf ears as they dragged her to the guillotine.

I can’t praise these books enough!


The Enemies of Versailles (the Mistresses of Versailles #3) by Sally Christie

Released: March 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Age Group: Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

After decades suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches inevitable revolution.

TLC Book Tours
This novel was provided for free from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Four Reasons Why You Should Read the Mistresses of Versailles Series by Sally Christie

If you’ve read Books & Tea longer than a minute, you will know two things:

  1. I’m worse than you at reading series. Unless you are a non-reader; then I suppose you are worse by default. (Seriously though. I’m really bad.)
  2. Despite my lack of follow through with book series, I’m obsessed with the Mistresses of Versailles series by Sally Christie. I devoured the Sisters of Versailles. I read the Enemies of Versailles with fervor. I was even inspired to make some Pain Au Chocolat for the mistresses!

To say I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the third and final installment almost feels like an understatement, and now it’s almost here. The Enemies of Versailles officially hits the shelves March 21, 2017. If you’re late to the Sally Christie bandwagon, or you’re not quite certain you really want to invest your time into a historical fiction series, hopefully I can change your mind.

Four Reasons Why You Should Drop What You’re Doing and Read the Mistresses of Versailles Series Right Now

  1. If you’re a reluctant reader of historical fiction, the Mistresses of Versailles will change your mind. I think historical fictions gets a bad wrap. It’s sometimes perceived as stuffy and dry, and perhaps this is because we can still recall how dull high school American History or World History classes were. Or, perhaps we’re intimidated by tomes full of information rich world building. Either way, the Mistresses of Versailles shatters these perceptions. Sally Christie’s novels are full of life and personality and vivid imagery of life at Versailles and 18th century France.
  2. These books will make you laugh out loud. This is another way this series will shatter your perception of historical fiction. I think it’s an unwritten rule somewhere (that Sally Christie tossed to the wind) that historical fiction is definitely, 100% not supposed to be funny. Aside from the mistresses’ schemes and antics, Christie’s writing is clever and witty, which will have you snorting and chuckling (chortling?).
  3. If you’re a fan of double entendres, you will find this series satisfying. Allow me a brief digression. Fact: I’m a fan of Shakespeare. Also Fact: One of the reasons I love Shakespeare’s plays so much is because of all of the eloquently disguised references to butts. I happen to have a crude sense of humor, and Shakespeare makes me giggle chortle, and Sally Christie definitely gives Shakespeare a run for his shillings.
  4. You will realize that you’re actually mildly obsessed with 18th century France. Going into this series, I knew very little about 18th century France aside from the French Revolution (because school) and Marie Antoinette (because Sofia Coppola), and I found neither to be particularly memorable. (The Mistresses of Versailles takes place before the French Revolution anyway). In between chapters, you’ll find yourself surfing Wikipedia to learn everything there is to know about 18th century France, and you’ll start secretly hoping that Sally Christie does to the House of Bourbon what Phillipa Gregory did to the Plantagenet and the Tudors.

the Enemies of Versailles (the Mistresses of Versailles #3) by Sally Christie

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

After decades suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.


Have you read in of the books from Sally Christie’s Mistresses of Versailles series?