The Paris Wife by Megan Masterson
Paris, 1856. In a world ruled by men, one woman holds the fate of a nation in her hands.
When Livia leaves behind the bronzed hills of Italy for the rain-soaked streets of Paris, she feels lost and alone. Trapped in an icy marriage, she longs to return to her life as a doctor’s daughter. To a simpler time when she could use her healing skills to help people. But her husband’s diplomatic work launches her into French high society. And soon she befriends Elisabetta, Napoleon III's clever and beautiful mistress.
Elisabetta may be the most glamorous woman in France, but she is isolated too. With jealousy and political conspiracies surrounding her, she is drawn to Livia’s honesty and intelligence. And when Livia saves Elisabetta’s life, the two women become inseparable.
Soon Livia’s life is an exciting whirlwind of masked balls, theatre and fashion, and at last she feels happy. She even finds the courage to open her heart, learning to love her new husband. But just as she begins to let her guard down, Livia discovers that her worst enemy has followed her all the way from Italy…
While danger lurks in the shadows, an assassination attempt is made on Napoleon. And Livia’s husband is wrongly accused of treason. The future of France is in peril, and Livia must work with Elisabetta to save the lives of those they love. With Livia’s keen knowledge of medicine and deadly poisons, and Elisabetta’s many connections, the women are a formidable partnership. But can they really trust each other? And how far are they prepared to go?
A totally gripping, richly imagined historical novel about the power held by women in a world run by men. Fans of Lucinda Riley, Kate Morton and Marie Benedict will be absolutely hooked from the very first page until the final, breath-taking conclusion.
Having previously enjoyed The Queen’s Dressmaker, I was delighted to discover another historical novel from Meghan Masterson, and very quickly, The Paris Wife lived up to my expectations.
Set during the 1850’s, in a period of history that I was shamefully ignorant of, this book illustrates the plight of the Italian nobles who are desperate for a unified and independent Italy, so much so they are in Paris to do all they can to persuade the Emperor Napoleon III to assist their cause.
This book is full of mystery from the beginning, which I loved, and that kept me turning the pages night after night. The mysterious world of herbal medicine and poisons, the mysterious marriage of Niccolo and Livia and the mystery of her life in Turin, are all slowly drizzled into the story, each chapter revelation adding to my enjoyment. I too am a bit of medical nerd, so understood Livia’s fascination with helping (and learning from) her father, and admired her knowledge of herbs, remedies and poisons. I warmed to Livia straight away and the more I read, the more Niccolo won me over too.
This was an easy book to become immersed in, from the glamour of Paris’s high society, to the drama, suspense and danger that Livia finds herself in as the story progresses. The smouldering passion added another element of surprise and pleasure too.
Livia, who was always strong and independent, comes into her own, and became one of those characters who I know I will remember for a long time to come.
If you enjoy historical dramas, I can recommend The Paris Wife as a great read this summer. I do hope there are more books to come from Meghan Masterson.
Meghan Masterson graduated from the University of Calgary with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies, and has worked several unrelated jobs while writing on the side. When not writing, Meghan can often be found reading at all hours (even at breakfast), practicing archery and roaming through the woods with her dog.
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