I am always willing to allow a novel to transport me back to the breathtaking Versailles. When I visited the iconic French Royal Palace, I imagined the lives of the inhabitants, and I love to read how other people imagined those lives as well. The Sisters of Versailles was a fictional account of the five Nesle sisters, four of whom had an affair with Louis XV. Obviously, the setting of Versailles was a high point with the beautiful Hall of Mirrors, the lush and expansive gardens, and the gossiping courtiers. All those elements were the high point in this scandalous tale. As characters, the sisters just didn’t grab me because their personalities were not very developed. There were letters between the sisters, but those were pretty superficial given their focus on dress designs and food. Louis and Louise, the eldest sister, allegedly fell in love and began an affair, but without any scenes that explained their devotion, their relationship didn’t have enough foundation for it to be believable.
Once another sister, Pauline, arrived at court, she appeared set on replacing Louise as the King’s mistress. I couldn’t figure out if her actions were motivated by her quest for power or a rivalry with her sister because there wasn’t much information given about her relationship with Louise. I felt that information was important to provide a point of reference for the reader as to why the people were behaving the way they were. The author needed to focus less on what everyone was doing, and give more attention to why they were doing it and how it made them feel. I found the telling of the story superficial, which hampered my ability to connect with the characters.
I wanted to like this more than I did. I finished it because I was set on doing so and not because I cared about any of the sisters or even had much interest in seeing how their stories ended. I was excited for this trilogy, but wouldn’t read any more in the series.