THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is Meghan Masterson's fascinating and visceral debut, an inside look at Marie Antoinette's luxurious life in Versailles remarkably juxtaposed against life in third estate as the French Revolution gains strength. A propulsive exploration of love, loyalty, danger, and intrigue...not to be missed.
It's Giselle Aubry's first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette's newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it's a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen's wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in Paris where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.
From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen’s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Léon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.
But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything...maybe even her head.
With this novel, the author's first, she offers readers a new take on a dark period in French history. Through the point of view of a young under-tirewoman named Giselle, the author sweeps readers into the innermost sanctuary of Queen Marie Antoinette. France is ripe with fear and suspicion at every turn. Everyone is watching everyone, and Giselle is no exception. Her uncle uses her as a spy, thrusting Giselle on a very difficult path because of her fondness for the queen. Through Giselle we see the goodness and innocence of the much maligned Marie Antoinette. As Giselle's loyalty to her queen grows stronger, so does the treacherous plot she finds herself in.
I loved the intimacy of how the events of the French Revolution were relayed. Giselle's narrative is compelling and drew me in. There is suspense, romance, and many surprises along the way. A novel that kept me highly entertained.