Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Book review of Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite

French Village Diaries book review Charlatan Kate Braithwaite
Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite

My review today is for Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite, an historical fiction novel that takes us to the court of the King of France.
This book has a dark beginning that sets the scene for an extraordinary tale, played out behind the opulence and glamour of the court of Louis XIV in the late 1600’s, where wife, mistress, lover and children (legitimate and not) play the daily carousel around the Sun King.
Athénaïs, Madame de Montespan, has been Louis’s favoured mistress long enough to bear him seven children, but the King’s eyes are now on another. What lengths will she go to, to keep his affections, and is her position in court really worth the journey into the underground world of the fortune-teller?
Witchcraft, love potions, spilled blood and sacrifice seem to be commonplace in Paris at the time, but who was involved and who were they trying to help?  A lifetime of secrecy and lies seems about to be revealed as Paris arrests fortune-tellers, potion makers and those suspected to be involved in poisonings. Their imprisonment and torture results in many fingers pointing to those at the heart of the court of Louis XIV.
Much of what really happened has been lost over time, but the author has made good use of the mysteries surrounding the facts and cleverly woven her fiction around what is known. It is a gruesome period of history when public executions were events to be seen at and torture of prisoners was commonplace, alongside the desperate conditions of the prisons. All a great contrast to the opulence of life at court. A question I was left with was who really held the power, the King, the mistress or the fortune teller/potion maker?
This book is one for those of you who enjoy gritty historical fiction.

Charlatan is available in ebook and paperback format and links to Amazon can be found below.