From the author ofthe beloved Josephine B. seriescomes a spellbinding historical novel about a young woman who rises to becomethe confidante to the most powerful, provocative, and dangerous woman in theseventeenth-century French Court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.
Paris, 1660.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 chanceencounters pulls her into the alluring orbit of the most beautiful woman in allof France: Athénaïs de Montespan, the mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “ShadowQueen.” Impetuous by nature, Athénaïs wields a disconcerting amount of power—afact that has ruffled many of the Sun King’s key advisors.
Needing someone to act as her eyes and ears, Athénaïs hiresClaudette as a personal attendant. The young stagehand leaves the world oftheater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward showsof loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost onAthénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin while youngcourtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed. Indeed, Claudette’ssupposedly 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, herplots and fascination with the magical arts take a dark turn that makesClaudette question her allegiance to this mercurial figure—and puts the youngmaid’s life in jeopardy. Set against the gilded opulence of a newly constructedVersailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch War, The ShadowQueen is a seductive, gripping novel about lust, power, loyalty, and theincreasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions couldshape the future of France.