Customer Reviews for

Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    I love Karleen Koen's Books!

    I disagree with the last reader. I didn't think it was hard to follow the storyline at all. It was a little slow getting out of the gate, but Karleen Koen is the best historical fiction writer out there. The story is not as complex as her last book Dark Angels but that is one of my all time favorite books. This book is hard to put down once you get into the storyline. History is never dull with Ms. Koen. It has wonderful details and you really feel like you are living at court. The Sun King Louis XIV is no longer a dusty monarch, but a breathing person of power, ambition, and intrigue. You learn of the corruption around the king - who does he dare trust? Who will he let his heart love? Once again I was happy with this author's book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    Excellent

    I agree with the last reviewer that she is a great historical fiction writer - one of my favorites, if not the favorite. I absolutely loved her other books which follow the same people through different generations and was anxiously anticipating her latest book. I have to say though I was a little let down because it was not as intricately woven as the last one I read - "Dark Angles", but it was still better than most or all other historical fiction I've read so I'm not complaining. I think she did what the story called for, and that was just less intricasy as her last novel. Plus she was dealing with a true life person, whereas the last books were not, so she had to follow his life. All in all, I loved this book, but prefer her earlier works to this one. I have to say though, that she does create great characters that we come to identify with so strongly and really feel for them, and it was the same with the characters in this book. You really feel attached to these characters and want to see them succeed. Great book if you like historical fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2011

    Disappointed

    I was so excited to dive into this story of King Louis XIV. This story begins where Cardinal Mazarin dies and the young King begins governing France. Between love affairs "The King and his brother's wife and The King and Louise a lady of the court" you expect scandalous excitement. When the King's finance minister becomes corrupt and too powerful, you expect a page turner to see his downfall. Add in the mystery of The Man in The Iron Mask and this book should not have been put downable. So, why did this feel like a chore to read? The writing style simply bored me. The author never left me hanging or wanting more. I had no emotional connection to any of the characters. Each time I had to force myself just to pick this book up to read and at 315 pages I decided to skim to the end and bring an end to my suffering. It's always sad to me when the Author's Notes are more exciting than the actual book. I know my review is the anomaly here and I kept wondering what I was missing?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Immerse Yourself in the World of Louis XIV!

    I loved every word of this book, and could not put it down. Ms. Koen's novel takes place in the first few months of the young Louis XIV's kingship, when he is still unsure of himself and his future greatness. The setting is the fabulous palace at Fontainebleau, where the court is currently in residence. Beneath the glamorous and opulent facade of the court is seething ambition, jealousy, and endless intrigue. Into this steps warmhearted, shy Louise, a new maid of honor in a cynical and licentious court. No one suspects this shrinking violet could ever capture a king's heart. The author does a stunning job of characterization: charming Henriette, wife to the damaged and tragic king's brother Philippe; powerful, scheming Nicolas Fouquet; the gorgeous but treacherous Count de Guiche; the Queen Mother who hides a terrible secret, and so many more. All are vividly brought to life, as are the sumptuous chambers and gardens of magnificent Fontainebleau. Musketeers, dwarves, priests and cardinals, underservants, beautiful courtiers - all populate this gorgeous novel and bring the time and place to vibrant life. How I hope there will be a sequel - there is so much of Louis XIV's life yet to tell!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Research but Too Hard to Follow

    I remember taking French History when I was in college and being totally smitten with the story of Louis XIV, there was just so much decadence. Have you seen pictures of Versailles? The pompadours and powders, oui! And, dude, what was up with the man in the iron mask? That's probably one of the most enduring legends from the reign of Louis XIV and still there are no definitive answers about the who or why.

    Meticulously researched, this book has everything ~ mystery, intrigue, romance, lust, politics ~ too bad I couldn't keep it all straight. The cast of characters is way too large and, even with the guide at the front of the book, it was hard to keep track of who did what with whom and how they were related to the king. But I don't necessarily fault Koen, I think the confusion is probably reminiscent of the confusion of the court itself. Seriously, during a time when even your own brother may be plotting against you, how can there not be a bit of discombobulation?

    I'd recommend this book for someone who has a decent grasp of French history or is at least more than casually familiar with the story of the Sun King. As for me, I simply couldn't get in to this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Best book about early french rulers

    Very intriguing book. Kept me going for days.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Well-woven within the intricate story of Louis XIV's youthful da

    Well-woven within the intricate story of Louis XIV's youthful days as King of France is an account of a boy forced to wear an iron mask. Karleen Koen draws from a legend that has come down through French lore and literature. While her richly plotted tale details with interest the early loves and misalliances of the king, his brother, and several women of the court, it is the story of the boy--seemingly royally born--that I found most compelling. Who was he? Why was he hiden away? And who had much to lose? Or gain?
    Highly recommended.

    James Conroyd Martin
    Author of Push Not the River

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    good but...

    it's a good book, it just doesn't live op to her through a glass darkly series

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Romance, History, Intrigue---eee! Nice mix!

    OMG! WHy did the synopsis fail to mention Louise????!!!
    This is a well-written book and a must read! I found this a great balance between fiction and history and it is so interesting--this is one of the books I couldn't put down! It's lovely! Read it for yourself and you'll see. If you don't like this masterpiece, it's fine too, but I did. :)

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    Posted July 7, 2011

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    Posted December 3, 2011

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    Posted June 28, 2011

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    Posted January 7, 2013

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    Posted September 14, 2011

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    Posted July 21, 2011

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    Posted December 14, 2011

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    Posted June 30, 2011

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    Posted July 4, 2011

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    Posted May 18, 2012

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    Posted July 2, 2011

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