Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Book Review: "A Prisoner of Versaillles" by Golden Keyes Parsons
Having fled their homeland of France because of the persecution by Louis XIV, the Clavell family seeks refuge in Switzerland. However, the king is not about to let the recently widowed Madeleine, his childhood sweetheart, escape that easily. He sends musketeers to kidnap her and her oldest son, Philippe, holding them captive in his opulent palace. King Louis is suspicious that Philippe could be his son, and he's enraged by the growing affection of one of his courtiers for Madeleine. Will Madeleine escape the king with her life or lose everything that she's fought so hard to keep?
I am not a fan of French history. There's nothing wrong with the country or anything and I will admit there are times where it is interesting. However, as an American history major, European history (except for British) just confuses me with all the kings that have similar names and the politics that kept changing the government constantly. Except for a few movies, I usually avoid most historical things European like the plague. However this series has totally changed my mind on the entire subject.
Like the first book in the series, this book is just nothing short of sweeping and majestic. I really felt like I was in Versailles and could picture the palace and its grounds in my mind's eye. The splendor of everything is described in full detail and it's easy to picture the luxury and excess of royalty vs. the humble surroundings back with Jean and the rest of the family. Madeline's adventures are extremely fascinating as you don't know what's going to happen to her fate or that of her son's. I enjoyed her relationship with Pierre and am looking forward to seeing what happens with the pair. While there is talk about the battle between Catholics and Huguenots, the story is not preachy. Instead faith is scene in a historical context, it is what you are as opposed to how you act.
I think, though, my favorite part of the book was the bringing to life of French history. I think the author did an outstanding job at the historical research, from details of the palace to what the prisons were like. I especially thought it was interesting to bring up the Man in the Iron Mask and the possibilities that could have come from this arrangement.
The only small flaw I had with the book was that I felt that Madeline seemed to get over what happened to her husband rather fast. I just didn't feel like enough time had passed. Other than this, I really enjoyed this book. The story is extremely well researched and the plot is very fast paced. I found myself glued to the pages and didn't want the story to end. I am eagerly awaiting to read what happens in the next book. Until then, I might have to brush up on my French history after all. VERY Highly recommended.
A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons is published by Thomas Nelson (2009)