The Shadow Queen

By Sandra Gulland
(Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385537520, 336pp.)

Publication Date: April 8, 2014

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Description

From the author of the beloved "Josephine B. Trilogy," comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story ofa young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.
"1660, Paris"
Claudette's life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family's acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother's astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, MoliEre and Racine, Claudette's life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she's socially scorned.
A series of chance encounters gradually pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of AthEnaIs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, AthEnaIs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.
Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on AthEnaIs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed.
Indeed, Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As AthEnaIs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King's favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life--and the family she loves so dearly--at risk.
Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the War of Theaters, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.




About the Author
SANDRA GULLAND was raised and educated in Berkeley, California, immigrating to Canada in 1970. She is the author of The Josephine B. Trilogy, which has sold over 75,000 copies in Canada and has been published worldwide to great success. Gulland spent many years researching Mistress of the Sun, and in the interest of perfecting the book's rich details, she acquired a library of over 200 books on the Louis XIV period, rode horseback for a week in France's Loire Valley (45 km a day) and spent a silent stay in a convent. Sandra Gulland and her husband live half the year near Killaloe, Ontario, and half in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
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