BEFORE VERSAILLES, by Karleen Koen
Devotees of historical fiction will gobble up this book, which shows its meticulous research in many ways. Set in the court of a very young Louis XIV, it details his courtship of his sister-in-law, Madame (the sparkling Henrietta, sister of England’s ever-amorous King Charles II), and the subsequent involvement with Madame's lady-in-waiting. The politics of court life are fascinating, as are the machinations of Viscount Nicolas, creator of the still-stunning chateau of Vaux le Vicomte. A good read, despite the author’s intrusive and ham-handed comments about what’s going to happen some day. That kind of author's excess takes the reader straight out of the story. A good companion novel to read would be Exit The Actress, by Priya Parmar, about King Charles II‘s court, containing many letters between the two royal siblings. It's a 3+ .