Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Mistress of The Sun

Mistress of The Sun, by Sandra Gulland

A book on love, spirituality, mysticism, power and courage lived by Louise de Lavallière, known as, Petite, during an important chapter in Louis XIV’s life; A great Love...

Right from the beginning, I immediately felt tenderness for the six-year old Petite; this child whose heart and mind races as quickly as the stallions she already knows how to tame and ride. Her passion for horses leads her to push the ways of the dark side in order to tame her ‘beloved’ and wild, white stallion –Diablo. She truly believes this pact with the devil is what brings forth the inevitable course of her life.

It is purely by chance, that her fate leads her to meet the Sun King. In the fields that day, when she speaks to the tall, vibrant young man dressed in hunting gear… she doesn’t realize who he really is. Later, while on duty, attending a young Princess at court, Petite sees the King. She recognizes him! King Louis spots her as well; she looks familiar…

Then, during a disastrous rain storm, fate brings them together once more. From that fleeting moment of tenderness, follows a strong resistance. Due to her virtuous morals, unwavering faith, regard and respect for the Queen, Petite renounces every attempt to succumb to the King. Alas, they are young, filled with passion and an irresistible longing to be together. Couple this with their common love of horses, hunting and riding, as well as, great friendship and interest in eachother- there is no escaping this powerful force… Petite surrenders. They are meant to live this love.

However, loving Louis and loving the King are two different things. Can Petite accept one without the other? The ways of Royalty are not all that glitters. There is much pain and sorrow. Can their love endure in a world filled with lies, deception, betrayals, masks and sorcery? Petite is deeply in love and totally devoted to Louis; yet extremely committed to her faith. A pure soul at heart, Petite constantly struggles to fight the evil battle.

In this beautiful historical novel, author Sandra Gulland, captures the true feeling of the times, whether it’s in the fine points pertaining to the history, or the minute details of every day life at court for both royals and those who dared live alongside. History buffs will be amazed by the amount of interesting historical information that keeps you plugged to this book.

Birthing and illness remedies and methods, including love potions and magical concoctions believed to soothe (or destroy) both soul and body, are meticulously described. In addition, the dialog is extremely well-suited and completely realistic. For me, it’s of particular importance for a novel to be written using the language feel and best possible form reflective of the period. Even the French expressions are intact; mirroring the times perfectly. Gulland succeeds through and through.

In addition, character depictions are solid and skillfully developed to bring out the needed emotions in order to completely detest or adore the targeted figure. I was also surprised by the chameleon effect of certain characters, bringing about a whole different element and aspect to the story; particularly where Athénaïs is involved, for example.

The concept of living a life through intricacies, complications and deceptions of sorts helps depict the deterioration of spirit, youth, beauty, and life in the Court of Louis XIV. Inevitably, people resort to various methods to control the invariables by means that are contrary to the teachings of the Church at the time. Holding on to Louis proves to be an even greater challenge than taming her beloved Diablo. Will Petite need to make a different pact? She alone must decide her fate.

What an intense love story! For me, Petite came through as angelic in her ways; a gentle and free spirit entangled in wrath. As for Louis XIV, he was larger than life; the Sun. …an angel fighting for the sun- within so much darkness. Even the title reveals a deep and mystical meaning. Petite my have miraculously ‘survived’ a true fairytale after all…‘happily ever after’…

The story unravels magnificently. I was enraptured from beginning to end. Splendid!

Extra goodies:
Glossary of terms, genealogy, Map at the time of the Sun King, *special epilogue, author notes (giving extra information, clarification and recommendations)

NOTE: Tomorrow Sandra Gulland will be hosting at Enchanted by Josephine! I will also be giving away one copy of Mistress of the Sun. Please drop by and visit!



Tea said...

Wow! You certainly write a wonderful review. I'm so glad to have read it.

Darlene said...

Lucy, what a beautiful review! It amazes me what women lived through in those times. I agree with you-this novel is splendid!

Ingrid Mida said...

It sounds enchanting! I'll have to add this one to my pile of books to read.

elena maria vidal said...

I would love to read it.

Marie Reed said...

I'm swooning! This sounds like a must must must read! I'll be back tomorrow for the interview! Wow!

Lucy said...

Thank you so much Ladies! The book was a real treat and I enjoyed very much. Thanks:)