Mistress of the Sun – Sandra Gulland

Title: Mistress of the Sun
Author: Sandra Gulland
ISBN: 9780743298926
Pages: 400
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the back cover:

Set against the magnificent decadence of the seventeenth-century French court, Mistress of the Sun begins when an eccentric young Louise falls in love with a wild white stallion and uses ancient magic to tame him. This one desperate action of her youth shadows her throughout her life, changing it in ways she could never imagine.

Unmarriageable, and too poor to join a convent, Louise enters the court of the Sun King, where the king is captivated by her. As their love unfolds, Louise bears Louis four children, is made a duchess, and reigns unrivaled as his official mistress until dangerous intrigue threatens her position at court and in Louis’s heart.

A riveting love story with a captivating mystery at its heart, Mistress of the Sun illuminates both the power of true and perfect love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.

Historical fiction is increasingly becoming one of my favorite genres. As I’ve read more and more, I’ve formed an idea of my head of what makes a good historical fiction novel. Lifelike and sympathetic characters are very important, as is a good storyline. But what really sets a good historical fiction apart is impeccable research and historical details. If you’ve learned something new (that is historically accurate) from the novel, you know it’s probably a good one.

I was really looking forward to reading Sandra Gulland’s Mistress of the Sun. All I knew about Louise de la Valliere was what I learned from the Alexandre Dumas novel. I honestly didn’t even know she was an actual historical figure until I picked up this book. I’m so glad I did pick it up though – Mistress of the Sun is an impeccably researched, well written, and completely captivating historical fiction novel.

I was so impressed with the amount of detail in Mistress of the Sun, and for good reason. According to Sandra Gulland’s website, it took her eight years to write this novel. There are so many little historical tidbits, juicy nuggets of information that any fan of historical fiction will savor. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I came away feeling like I learned a lot about Louise (called Petite in the novel), the court of Louis XIV, and France in general.

Louise was a very well-written character that I definitely sympathized with. I could really tell she loved the king and just wanted to be with him. I really liked her distinction that she was in love with Louis, not the king of France. She loved the man and tolerated the title. I hated what she went through in order to be with him, and how she had to let Louis walk all over her because he was the king.

One of my favorite parts of Mistress of the Sun was the epilogue, which was written from the point of view of Louise’s daughter. She basically asked all the questions I was wondering the entire novel – did Louis really love Louise or was she just one of his whims? I loved the fact that Louise’s daughter was looking at the whole situation and asking the same questions that the reader was.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, or are interested in the court of Louis XIV, this book is a must read. If you like Sandra Gulland’s Josephine trilogy, you will enjoy Mistress of the Sun as well, though it is written very differently. I found the way Mistress of the Sun was written to be much more compelling. I definitely enjoyed this book and hope to read many more of Sandra Gulland’s books in the future!

Thank you to Diane for sending me a copy of this book to review!

Comments

  1. Super review! I’m pretty impressed with how long it took her to write this one. The epilogue sounds interesting too.

  2. Super review! I’m pretty impressed with how long it took her to write this one. The epilogue sounds interesting too.

  3. I thought this was a great example of what historical fiction should be! I really enjoyed the characters and the writing!

  4. I thought this was a great example of what historical fiction should be! I really enjoyed the characters and the writing!

  5. I haven’t read much historical fiction but have become more interested in it lately. After reading your review and Julie’s review, I really want to read this one.

  6. I haven’t read much historical fiction but have become more interested in it lately. After reading your review and Julie’s review, I really want to read this one.

  7. This one is already on my TBR list but your comments about the epilogue make me want to read it even more.

  8. This one is already on my TBR list but your comments about the epilogue make me want to read it even more.

  9. This has been on my TBR list for a bit now, and after reading your review, it may be one of the next books I will read. Great review!

  10. This has been on my TBR list for a bit now, and after reading your review, it may be one of the next books I will read. Great review!

  11. I received a copy of this book in the mail yesterday. Now, I’m really anxious to read it after your great review. Thanks.

  12. I received a copy of this book in the mail yesterday. Now, I’m really anxious to read it after your great review. Thanks.

  13. It IS an excellent book. I also wondered if the king loved her (seems he didn’t) but he must have felt something for her. I hated him by the end!

  14. It IS an excellent book. I also wondered if the king loved her (seems he didn’t) but he must have felt something for her. I hated him by the end!

  15. Eight years! That’s amazing. I might look into this one too!

  16. Eight years! That’s amazing. I might look into this one too!

  17. I was hesitant to read this because of some poor reviews I’ve read, but I’m going to have it try it now. It sounds like the kind of book I’d love.

  18. I was hesitant to read this because of some poor reviews I’ve read, but I’m going to have it try it now. It sounds like the kind of book I’d love.

  19. I just posted my review of Briar Rose by Jane Yolen and I’ve come to the same concluion as you. Historical fistion is really growing on me. I never disliked it. But I’m really becoming drawn to it recently.

    I’m so glad you posted on my site because I though i added you to my RSS feed….but alas no. I have hopped to it and you are on there now. Thanks!

  20. I just posted my review of Briar Rose by Jane Yolen and I’ve come to the same concluion as you. Historical fistion is really growing on me. I never disliked it. But I’m really becoming drawn to it recently.

    I’m so glad you posted on my site because I though i added you to my RSS feed….but alas no. I have hopped to it and you are on there now. Thanks!

  21. I have had this book since before it came out and still haven’t read it. I think I am scared it won’t be as good as the Josephine B. Trilogy and I LOVED that trilogy.

    Funny you mention liking historical fiction more lately, I find I am reading less and less of it this year!

  22. I have had this book since before it came out and still haven’t read it. I think I am scared it won’t be as good as the Josephine B. Trilogy and I LOVED that trilogy.

    Funny you mention liking historical fiction more lately, I find I am reading less and less of it this year!

  23. I was only too happy to send you the copy, and I’m so glad you enjoyed MISTRESS! What a lovely review. Thank you.

  24. I was only too happy to send you the copy, and I’m so glad you enjoyed MISTRESS! What a lovely review. Thank you.

  25. Nice review Swapna. I really enjoyed this novel as well.

  26. Nice review Swapna. I really enjoyed this novel as well.

  27. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Thanks for the review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  28. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy. Thanks for the review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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