From the author of
the beloved Josephine B. series
comes a spellbinding historical novel about a young woman who rises to become
the confidante to the most powerful, provocative, and dangerous woman in the
seventeenth-century French Court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.
As the daughter of itinerant actors who once lit up the Parisian stages,
Claudette always thought her future lay in the theater. But a series of chance
encounters pulls her into the alluring orbit of the most beautiful woman in all
of France: Athénaïs de Montespan, the mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow
Queen.” Impetuous by nature, Athénaïs wields a disconcerting amount of power—a
fact that has ruffled many of the Sun King’s key advisors.
Needing someone to act as her eyes and ears, Athénaïs hires
Claudette as a personal attendant. The young stagehand leaves the world of
theater 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
Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin while young
courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed. Indeed, Claudette’s
supposedly respectable new position is marked by spying, rumormongering,
illicit trysts, and titanic power struggles.
As Athénaïs begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, her
plots and fascination with the magical arts take a dark turn that makes
Claudette question her allegiance to this mercurial figure—and puts the young
maid’s life in jeopardy. Set against the gilded opulence of a newly constructed
Versailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch War, The Shadow
Queen is a seductive, gripping novel about lust, power, loyalty, and the
increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could
shape the future of France.
Download and start listening now!