22 April 2014

Today's Read: The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

The Shadow Queen by Sandra GullandWhat would it be like if you were low born to a family of French traveling actors in the mid-1600s? Now suppose your father died and it was up to you to care for your mother and little brother? That's how life started for young Claudette, but that was not where she would end up.

Winter was coming--I could smell it. Even so, we headed north, following a cow track across a barren field, away from all the lawless soldiers.

Onward. I shifted little Gaston onto my right hip and set my eyes on the far horizon. . . . Onward toward Poitiers, where we might earn a meal performing for crowds. News spread that the King and Court were there, mobilizing for yet another battle.
The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland (Random House / Doubleday, 2014, p. 3; uncorrected proof)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: later decades of the 1600s; Paris, Versailles, the theater
  • Circumstances: Claude des Oeillers (Claudette) struggles to make a better life for her mother and brother, rising from traveling actor to member of the French theater to companion of Louis XIV's mistress
  • Characters: Claudette and her family; Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV, the king; famous playwrights; various people at court and in the theater
  • Genre: historical fiction
  • Strong points so far: the personal and ethical conflicts Claudette struggles with; the details of the French theater in the 1600s; seeing the court through the eyes of an outsider
  • Themes that have caught my attention: politics of the theater; role of the Church in daily life; the intrigues of the court; moral dilemmas; love of family
ISBN-13: 9780385537520
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Unknown 4/22/14, 6:55 AM  

I love books set in different centuries who bring history to life, and it seems to be the case with this book. I would read it.
My post is here

rhapsodyinbooks 4/22/14, 7:06 AM  

You ask, "What would it be like if you were low born to a family of French traveling actors in the mid-1600s?" My first thought was: I'd be using outdoor bathrooms! LOL

JoAnn 4/22/14, 7:32 AM  

Sounds like some good historical fiction to me!

Kim@Time2Read 4/22/14, 7:38 AM  

Sounds interesting. That is a thought I have often about earlier times....that for most people who weren't born to nobility, it probably wan't a lot of fun.
This week I am spotlighting Up At Butternut Lake by Mary McNear.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 4/22/14, 7:40 AM  

The intro didn't really speak to me, but your summary did. Seems a bit like The Boleyn Girl, which I loved?

Here's Mine: http://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/fiction/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday-intros-shotgun-lovesongs/

Harvee 4/22/14, 8:52 AM  

I'd read this as I'm often in the mood for a good historical novel.
Book Dilettante

bermudaonion 4/22/14, 8:58 AM  

I just can't get into historical fiction like that even though most of my friends love it. I think the cover of this book is fabulous!

Unknown 4/22/14, 9:04 AM  

I think I would enjoy this. I liked your description of strong points. I hope you enjoy it.

Greg 4/22/14, 9:16 AM  

I would read this (and I may!). I like the idea of them traveling across the French countryside, and going from the theater to the court and seing both sounds very interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one.

Laurel-Rain Snow 4/22/14, 9:57 AM  

I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this one sounds like one I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Literary Feline 4/22/14, 10:43 AM  

This sounds wonderful! I would keep reading. I've been wanting to read this author for ages. I really should move her up on my TBR pile.

Lindsay 4/22/14, 12:46 PM  

I think it would be a very hard life to be born into. I like this opening a lot. The first person narrator draws me in to their plight. Love the quick facts about it too. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

kayerj 4/22/14, 1:22 PM  

that's a lovely opening. I'd keep reading. I have not read "The Bees" is it part of the Swallowcliffe series? Thanks for stopping by today. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Daryl 4/22/14, 1:59 PM  

you almost always (except when its a book genre i am not into) make me want to read more/buy the book xo

Anonymous,  4/22/14, 3:18 PM  

You find some really interesting sounding books to read. This sounds fascinating, I'd like to know more about little Gaston.

Ellie @ Ellie Reads All the Books 4/22/14, 4:29 PM  

Sounds good! I hope you are enjoying it :)

Sandra Nachlinger 4/22/14, 5:16 PM  

This sounds like an excellent story. I enjoy books that are set in a different time and place, showing how people lived.
My Teaser is from LOVING CHLOE.

Margot 4/22/14, 6:46 PM  

That first paragraph grabbed my attention. I'd keep reading to find out what happens next.

Julie P. 4/22/14, 7:32 PM  

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. I loved the history of French theatre and the characters were really interesting.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 4/22/14, 8:54 PM  

Not sure about this one? Hope u like it.

Kailana 4/24/14, 1:08 PM  

I really want to read this, but I forgot to pre-order it. Now I have to wait to get a copy!

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