Friday, August 7, 2015


Often billed as historical fiction I’d have to add fantasy to my description of Enchantress Of Paris.  It is a juicy summer read with intriguing looks into royal court politics during the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV.  Now, Marie was a different matter for me - first we are told that the alignment of the stars at her birth indicated that she would have powers of divination and was destined to disgrace her family.  During the narrative she is alternately described as beauteous, witty and intelligent clad in gorgeous silken gowns then next thing we know she’s leaping upon her stallion to race with Louis.  Thus, for this reader she never became quite real.

Jefferson opens her tale with a cast of characters - “Dramatis Personae” and rightly so for there are a great many.  I was especially pleased to find Moliere, but his appearance was so brief that I might have missed him.  At the top of the list is an absolutely dreadful man, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief minister to Louis XIV and manipulator extra ordinaire.  He will stop at nothing to line his pockets and be powerful.

He brings Marie from a convent to the French court where she soon discovers just how powerful and deceitful he is.  He is using Olympia, one of Marie’s sisters to keep Louis in line.  However, Marie is apparently the most intelligent of the lot and makes herself known as a gracious hostess.  She soon catches the eye of Louis, much to Olympia’s distress and Mazarin pits the two sisters against one another for the King’s favor.  Marie quickly has enough of Mazarin’s plotting and she rebels believing that she is the one Louis truly loves.

We’d like to believe that true love conquers all, but don’t count on it as after surprising twists and turns Marie learns all too well what is expected of Louis and what he must do.

Take sun screen, an umbrella, and Enchantress Of Paris to the beach - it’s a perfect summer read.

- Gail Cooke

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