The Shadow Queen by Sandra GullandThe Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

The Shadow Queen

bySandra Gulland

Hardcover | July 30, 2017

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A seductive, gripping novel about the lure and illusion of power and black magic

Paris, 1660. As the daughter of itinerant actors who once lit up the Parisian stages, Claudette always thought her future lay in the theatre. But a series of chance encounters pull her into the alluring orbit of the most powerful woman in France, Athenais de Montespan, the unofficial mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Impetuous by nature, Athenais wields a disconcerting amount of power in court—a fact that has ruffled many of the Sun King’s key advisors.

Claudette leaves the world of theatre to serve Athenais, 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 while young courtesans are scheming to take her place in the king’s bed.

As Athenais begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, the charms she has been using take on a sinister character, making Claudette question her allegiance to this mercurial figure—and putting her life and the lives of her loved ones in jeopardy.

SANDRA GULLAND was raised and educated in Berkeley, California, immigrating to Canadain 1970. She is the author of the Josephine B. trilogy, which has sold over 75,000 copiesin Canada and has been published worldwide to great success. Gulland spent many yearsresearchingMistress of the Sun, and in the interest of perfecting the book’s r...
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Title:The Shadow QueenFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.09 inPublished:July 30, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554687810

ISBN - 13:9781554687817

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from ... Not what I expected. At all.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as good as I had expected Having read the Josephine B. Trilogy multiple times, I decided to give this book a go. I don't know why, but Gulland's writing here is completely incomparable to her other work. Disappointed.
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing ** spoiler alert ** For someone who loved the Josephine B trilogy I was very disappointed. The story was very dry and writing not up to par with what I am used to. It was told from an interesting point of view but spent too much time on her life before joining the court and not enough about the intrigue there and the affairs de poisons.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I loved this book! It was absolutely captivating. Give it a chance; you may be surprised to see that it is a quite lovely novel!
Date published: 2015-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emerging from the Shadows to Reign Sandra Gulland’s latest novel, The Shadow Queen, does much to cement her place as one of Canada’s leading historical novelists. The novel is a companion piece to her critically acclaimed book, Mistress of the Sun. The Shadow Queen begins with a family of players who struggle to eke out a meagre living in what is deemed an immoral profession. The main character is a spritely young girl by the name of Claudette des Oeillets. She is the daughter of the players. She is shown to be adept at tumbling and other acrobatic skills. She is kind and loyal to her family, looking after her brother who is at best guess autistic or at least simple. A chance encounter with Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente, later known as Athénaïs, sets Claudette and the novel up for a most interesting and intriguing run. Asserting what would later become one of her defining characteristics, a pertinacious Athénaïs desires to rid herself of a governess who is not to her liking. She seeks out the help of Claudette in this murderous plot requesting at times both incantations and poisons. Claudette does her best to appease Athénaïs but of course, she is nothing more than an actor. And thus begins a tumultuous relationship between the two that sees them embroiled in a battle for independence and power while having an almost toxic bond in an unconventional kinship. Athénaïs is in the spotlight commandeering and social engineering her own importance. Claudette struggles to live, but never gives up remembering her father’s word, “Nil desperandum.” Tragically, Claudette’s father is beaten to death. She, along with her mother and brother, moves to Paris, where after a series of misfortunes, they finally begin to have some stability in their lives. They find themselves in numerous situations and skirmishes amongst the theatre culture. Claudette, determined to support her family, ends up in the service of Athénaïs who is destined to be the favoured lover of Louis XIV. Athénaïs eventually forces Claudette to provide more than a seamstress’s service and to become a de facto concubine of Louis XIV. Athénaïs wields such power over the king that she is referred to as The Shadow Queen. Some may think that the title of this novel is a reference to this, but I would argue the title refers to Claudette. She is the true queen of the novel. She emerges from a life riddled with strife to one of self-determination. In the end, it is Claudette who has emerged from the shadows of poverty and disadvantage to reign over her own destiny. Gulland’s gifts as a writer are evident in this latest work. It is meticulously researched and well crafted. Historical accuracy is a tenet of Gulland’s work. The book is well complimented by numerous appendixes that aid the reader. The book reads smoothly as Gulland has chosen words and sentence structures that keep up the brisk pace of the plot whilst creating a palette of colours, sights, and smells that transport the reader back in time. The reader will find himself engaged and turning the pages that lead into the nooks and crannies of 17th century France. The book leaves the reader happily satisfied and thoroughly entertained, and most likely, eagerly anticipating the next work from Sandra Gulland.
Date published: 2014-04-21

Editorial Reviews

"Fascinating and rich in historical detail. . . . A captivating glimpse into the theatre, court life and black arts of 17th-century Paris." -CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE PAINTED GIRLS

"An epic feast for the senses. . . . Sandra Gulland proves herself a master of not only storytelling but stagecraft and illusion, as well." -MELANIE BENJAMIN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE AVIATOR'S WIFE