Louise de la Valliere, aka Petite, loved horses from a young age. She willingly made "a pact with the devil" to tame a horse at a young age and lived with the haunting guilt of it throughout her life. Did her actions cause all the bad things that were to follow?
By chance, Louise earns a spot as a hand maid to the Princess and catches the eye of the King. What results is a passionate love affair.
This book is basically the life of Louise de la Valliere up through when she left the King's Court. It's a captivating book... rich with historical details that don't bog you down, passion, and intrigue. I absolutely loved the character of Petite. She was sensible, but human. I wanted to see her have some success and happiness.
It's always sad to me how much women in these historical novels sacrifice because of their relationships to the king. When they were young, she truly believed that he loved her, but as he grew older and the pressures of being a king began to weigh him down, she had to separate his two personalities...loving the man but not the king. I was sad to see her sacrifice so much of herself for him, but what choice did she have? She had given him everything.
I was also really interested in the way their faith was so superstitious and had a sort of folk religion quality to it. They all very much believed in the dark arts, demons, etc. but prayed to God for protection, and observed certain traditions, not so much out of love for God, but fear of consequences. (like to my practical mind why bother giving up sex for Lent when you're already having an affair? I mean, does it really matter at that point?)
I do have to say that I always seem to cry a little at these books. I just feel so much frustration over the injustice women had to endure, in particular giving up their children and never truly being loved. Call me crazy!
I highly recommend this captivating read. Once you start you won't want to put it down. It's engaging, interesting, and feels true to life. And I loved actually being able to visualize the castles that I had been to!
Things You Might Want to Know: there's some sex.
Come back tomorrow for a guest post from the lovely Sandra Gulland and a giveaway!