Warning. This book is based upon known historical events and people, and they will be freely discussed in this review. If you are unfamiliar with this period and wish to remain spoiler free, I recommend you not read this review.
This is the first of two books based on the life of Princess Henrietta Anne(Minette), younger sister to Charles II. Told in the first person narrative, the book begins in 1654. The Stuarts are in exile and a young Minette is living in Paris with her mother, with money and apartments provided by the French crown (well, they are all family). The bulk of the story in this book revolves around Minette’s teenage years living at the French court and the slippery slope of being a penniless princess in the world of kings and courtiers. The latter part of the book covers Minette’s grand visit to England after brother Charles gets his crown; her return to France and marriage to Philippe, Louis XIV’s younger brother.
My thoughts? I liked this one a lot, I’ve always been interested in Minette’s story and there aren’t that many books to pick and choose from – more often than not she’s a secondary character – so hats off to Ms. Clegg for telling her story. I generally don’t like the first person narrative, but I thought it was well done in this one, extra pluses for not talking to herself about how beautiful she was (a pet peeve of mine). I appreciated the way dialogue and interaction with other characters was used to recount back-history to the reader, as opposed to the tedious info dumps I’ve seen from other authors. It was abundantly clear how much she loved her family (especially her brothers), as well as how her brothers adored her. I very much appreciated this take on Minette, she was a genuinely good, caring person without the heavy sugar-coated Mary-Sue heroines so popular these days. I’m looking forward reading more on Philippe and Armand, and again hats off to the author for not succumbing to the temptation to overwrite Philippe’s character and turn him into a flaming OTT homosexual.
I did find a few typos scattered here and there, but nothing that really detracted from the story. Anxiously awaiting book #2.
FTC disclosure: Amazon verified purchase.