The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland, Anchor (US) ppbk coverThe Shadow Queen, a novel by Sandra Gulland, Canadian paperback edition

 A novel of passion and power in the Sun King’s France. 

“Truly magnificent and a joy to read. … You are in the hands of a master storyteller.”—M.J. Rose, internationally bestselling author of The Book of Lost Fragrances

To buy: click here

A rag-poor daughter of a theatrical star leaves the make-believe world of the theatre for the Court—the so-called real world of money and power—only to become embroiled in true dramatic tragedy, emerging as the heroine of her own life-script. 

The Shadow Queen is a “sister” novel to Mistress of the Sunand together I think of them as forming the Sun Court Duet. Both novels feature many of the same characters, although from entirely different perspectives.

TSQ cover

From the cover: 

From the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding historical novel about a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.

1660, Paris

Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set.  From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother’s astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Claudette finds working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine to be deeply rewarding, but like all in the theatrical world, she’s socially scorned.

A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the 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 as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed.

Indeed, Claudette’s “reputable” new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, her use of the magical arts take a dark turn, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life at risk.

A seductive, gripping novel … 

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 the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.

To buy: click here


Click here for music of the Baroque period—perfect for listening to while reading The Shadow Queen.

Who is the Shadow Queen? A note about the title.

To see my Pinterest board on The Shadow Queen, click here.


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For the Sandra Gulland INK e-book edition of The Shadow Queen: click here.

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