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Mistress of the Sun

Mistress of the Sun

Written by Sandra Gulland

Narrated by Diana Leblanc


Mistress of the Sun

Written by Sandra Gulland

Narrated by Diana Leblanc

ratings:
4/5 (15 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Released:
Jun 3, 2008
ISBN:
9780743578141
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Set against the magnificent decadence of the 17th century court of the Sun King, 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, she enters the court of the Sun King as a maid-of-honor, where the King is captivated by her athleticism and her striking grace. 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 resurrects a fascinating female figure from the shadows of history, and illuminates both the power of true and perfect love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.
Released:
Jun 3, 2008
ISBN:
9780743578141
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Sandra Gulland is the author of the Canadian bestseller Mistress of the Sun as well as the Josephine B. Trilogy, which has sold more than a million copies in seventeen languages worldwide.


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Reviews

What people think about Mistress of the Sun

3.9
15 ratings / 16 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This book is set in one of my all time favorite historical eras; the court of the Sun King. I was immediately attracted to the main female character, Louise de la Valliere or as she's better known as, Petite. The book follows the life and the loves of Petite, which is constantly changing except for two things ... her infatuation of horses and her fear of the devil.I absolutely fell in love with Mistress of the Sun. The characters are so well portrayed that you cannot help but become intertwined with their lives. However this can turn out to be a bad thing, because when Sandra Gulland says she does not like happy endings she isn't kidding. I became so involved in the story I had to force my self to turn the page because I was too afraid to read what would happen to my beloved Petite next. And of course, just like Petite, I fell in love with the Sun King himself ... which made the ups and downs of their affair even more painful to read. I look forward to reading this book again in the future and plan on buying Sandra Gulland's Josephine trilogy very soon.I would definitely recommend Mistress of the Sun to anyone who enjoys reading. It is not just another historical fiction book, it is also a love story and has a bit of paranormal activity thrown in. The reader does not have to possess any knowledge of the time period before starting this book because Sandra Gulland has added wonderful extras including: a map of France at the time of the Sun King, an abbreviated genealogy of the royal families and a glossary of terms. It would also be a great read for long time lovers of historical fiction because Petite is not a "popular" historical female, so there are not many books about her life and for many people this will be their fist time reading about her.
  • (3/5)
    A fictionalized account of the life of Louise de le Valliere, Louis XIV's first mistress.This book showcases Gulland's ability to incorporate historical detail into a carefully layered plot. Each piece works with all the others to present a rich, beautifully researched portrait of noble life in the time of the Sun King. Fans of the time period should appreciate the careful research that's gone into the novel.Unfortunately, the character development isn't nearly as good here as it was in Gulland's wonderful JOSEPHINE B. TRILOGY. As someone who reads for character, above all else, I was disappointed. I felt immersed in Petite's world, but I never really felt that I came to know her. Because I lacked this essential connection with the main character, the book fell flat for me. It was reasonably enjoyable, but not engaging.Please be aware, though, that I'm in the minority here. I think I may have enjoyed the book more had I not been holding it up against the high standard Gulland's first trilogy set.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this fiction created around Louise de Vailliere. I little too much of the White Horse knocked this back from a 4.5/5, but I really enjoyed the characters.
  • (4/5)
    After three months, I am done with the Empire Trilogy and am looking forward to diving further into the Riftwar Cycle. If you're at all interested in Feist's work and the rest of the Riftwar Cycle, start with the Riftwar Saga Trilogy before you read the Empire Trilogy. It'll provide background info, I was lacking while reading it. It's not absolutely necessary but it'll add depth to the world.I would hate to spoil anyone on this lovely trilogy, which is why I'll keep the plot info to a minimum. The trilogy is set in a world inspired by Asia. There's not a lot of magic, instead it's all about intrigue and politics.Mara is possibly the best female fantasy character I've encountered so far. She kicks ass, is intelligent, cunning and the entire tale is one big chess game filled with politics and betrayal. Mara does not use strength and violence to win this game but her wit.The entire cast of characters is well developed. The villains are intriguing and relatable.I enjoyed every part of this trilogy, even the romance. In fact this had a romance that warmed my heart and made me happy. (Rare, I'm usually grumpy!)Recommended to everyone who likes either Feist or Wurts, and who enjoys witty politicians betraying each other.
  • (4/5)
    This is the final instalment in the Kelewan books set in the Midkemia series and is, probably the most innovative in some ways and yet most rushed in others.Having defeated many of the Lords arrayed against her, Mara finds herself faced by some of the most powerful enemies she's faced in her rise to prominence. When her eldest son is killed by an assassin's weapon, she sends her spy master after the leader of the Tong that had carried out the hit where he finds that he does have an unexpected weakness when he falls in love with a woman of the reed life. Tasked by Mara to attempt to gain entry into the Assembly of the Great Ones, Arakasi finds a foe greater even than his immense skills can overcome. Needing a way to overcome the ban that the Assembly had placed on her confrontation with the Anastasi Mara delves deeply into the past treaties between her people and the Cho-Ja queens and it is here that she learns of an ancient compact and alien beauties.Politically, things come to a violent head when the emperor is assassinated and the Great Houses are forced to make their moves - as you may guess from the title, you know who won the race!It's probably the crowning and acceptance of Mara's child as the new emperor that so speedily ends this trilogy that is the weakest part of this book but by this stage, both authors quite likely didn't feel like writing much more about Kelewan, and it rarely has such a great role in any more of the books set in the Midkemia universe.
  • (4/5)
    Long book. And one third through I wondered why it was written (slow, fluffy, and seemingly unnecessary), so I set it aside. After pushing into the second third, it got better, and with but a few head shaking passages in the last third, a satisfactory conclusion to the Empire Trilogy in my Year of Feist.
  • (4/5)
    Mistress of the Sun is the story of Louise de la Valliere known to be Louis XIV first official mistress. The book follows her life from about age six through to her death at 65. She was an unusual women living in extraordinary times. She came to the attention of Louis by way of her horsemanship and hunting skills. He eventually took her on his hunting trips where she would dress like a man and fit in with his closest circle of male friends.She was a woman of many contradictions. On the one hand riding and hunting, but on the other prone to attacks of weakness and illness. She broke her ankle in childhood and it wasn’t set properly so she walked with a slight limp all her life, yet she loved to dance and was considered to be extremely light on her feet. A convent trained, religious women, who felt extreme guilt at her relationship with Louis, yet she appeared to truly love him and the children they had together. I absolutely loved this book and was very caught up in the day-to-day workings of the French monarch’s life, his court, the scandals, the relationships and all the superstitions, treachery and ceremony that a kings life entails. The author maintains a great balance between historical details and a highly entertaining story. This is the kind of book that makes you feel like curling up and losing yourself in it’s rich, gossipy style.
  • (2/5)
    It’s hard to understand how a book about the first important mistress of the Sun King could be boring, but this book manages to be just that. The court of Louis XIV was one of the most interesting and resplendent in history, but Gulland manages to reduce its intrigues and splendors to the banal level of a modern soap opera. There are plenty of romantic subterfuges and amorous liaisons, but the I never felt that I was truly an observer of this 17th century fairy tale life. Even the dark designs of Athenais de Montespan, thought by historians to be heavily involved in a Satanic poisoners’ cult at the court, are glossed over and reduced to the level of domestic spats. Gulland has all the elements of a marvelous tale at hand, including some of her own invention (a mysterious, beautiful white horse that the young Louise is strangely drawn to), and she does acknowledge the age’s deep religious faith – but her writing is jarringly dispassionate. This is a story about human beings whose emotions ran rampantly out of control at times, but even the death bed scenes are pallid and sterile.Considering that this novel is about a court where beauty reigned and lust was common, where glittering gowns and jewels were commonplace, where belief in a very real heaven walked hand-in-hand with literal deals with the devil, this book is just plain. . .dull.
  • (3/5)
    This blend of historical fact and entertaining fiction brings to life Louise de la Vallière, mistress to Louis XIV, France's Sun King. Add in a little magic and a lot of intrigue and you have a captivating story. This would definitely appeal to Philippa Gregory fans and I will be picking up another of Ms. Gulland's books.
  • (5/5)
    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)
  • (4/5)
    This would be my favourite of the three, but still, I found some parts rather dull. However, there were more parts in this that held my attention compared to the first two. So overall, I quite enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    This trilogy, while set in the 'other' universe, is a wonderful addition to the Riftwar series.?
  • (4/5)
    Phew, finally finished it. I don't know why I had such trouble, but I buckled down for about 6 hours and finished it, and am very satisfied with the entire series. Well actually, almost completely satisfied. The ending seemed a bit trite and cliched, with her separating neatly from Hokanu and ended up with her barbarian lover, but all in all a good ride.
  • (2/5)
    I found this third volume of the trilogy the most boring and trite of the three. I ended up skimming the second half. The ending was so goody goody. This trilogy had been recommended by the author Bernard Cornwall on his website so I thought it would be much better than it was.
  • (5/5)
    Vast, epic conclusion to the Empire series tying up all the loose ends so dramatically ripped free by Pug in Magician so long ago. After her promotion to Servant of the Empire, Mara has been enjoying a few years of peaceful life. Still missing her barbarian lover Kevin, she has married and is comfortable and secure. Her heir is growing up and enjoying the freedoms she has one for him. When he is cruelly murdered in an obscure act of politics, Mara realises that she can no longer ignore the contradictions inhernt in the Tsuarmi codes of honour - Kevin's irreverant point of view begins to make sense. However her acts are bulked by the Great Ones who don't uphold change. Mara considers what no-one else in the Empire has ever done, is ti possible to defy the Great Ones and survive? This is a very long book, but unlike the preceeding volume, it never feels like it. Completely gripping all the way through. Intricately detailed, absorbingly complex, wonderfully told it has everything, struggles, greed, honour and redemption, and a great big massive climactic finish. There are one or two very minor plot issues - why don't the Great Ones notice Mara being saved from the Cho-Ja hive? and a couple of other instances of the Great Ones not being either as clever or as powerful as a reader might expect - but this is probably deliberate because they are intended to be only human, unlike Pug. The other discordant note is that our westernised concepts are inherently better than other world views held by other cultures - I don't think that this series, unlike some fantasy, intends to cast a shadow against the real world, but if it did the message would be clear.Don't be scared by the number of words. Go and read it.
  • (4/5)
    Good book, slow start but by the half-way point things were moving right along. Mara had here hands full this time. Once agian she loses loved ones close to her which only strengthens her resolve to see change come to the Tsurani culture. Over all a good book and a good story though the end was a little bit happy ever after.