The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson

  • Title:  The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
  • Author:  Meghan Masterson
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  August 2017 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  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. (publisher)

My take:  I’m familiar with Marie Antoinette’s story and how it all played out so seeing it through the eyes of a young, middle-class woman who was one of her servants added to the context. It also provided conflict – especially experienced by Giselle who came of age during the time she served the Queen. She knew that things were not cut and dry when it came to the royal family and the general perception of the people. Giselle’s challenge was how to balance what she knew with how she felt. Adding to the challenge is Léon, her love interest. He is a revolutionary, albeit a moderate one. Can their relationship survive dire circumstances? Overall, I liked The Wardrobe Mistress and would recommend Meghan Masterson’s debut novel to fans of historical fiction about the French Revolution. Giselle’s story was an interesting perspective.


About the author: Meghan Masterson graduated from the University of Calgary and has worked several unrelated jobs while writing on the side. As a child, she gave her parents a flowery story about horses every year for Christmas. She is drawn to strong historical figures and situations which present unexpected opportunities for her characters. Meghan loves reading at all hours, cooking, and going for walks with her dog. She and her husband live in Calgary.

Praise for The Wardrobe Mistress

“In this debut novel by Meghan Masterson, the characters practically leap off the page, taking you by the hand through the streets of revolutionary Paris and the glittering halls of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles…A highly entertaining read! Not to be missed!” – Michelle Moran, Internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti and Madame Tussaud

“Silk isn’t the only thing whispering through the halls of the royal palaces in Meghan Masterson’s captivating debut…The Wardrobe Mistress is a romantic, tension-filled coming of age story set in a time of dangerous and uncertain revolution. You will root for Giselle; you will applaud her; and you will also fear for her.” – Sophie Perinot, author of Medici’s Daughter

“An entertaining read in the best tradition of the historical novel…The Wardrobe Mistress is intriguing and well researched, set during one of my favorite periods of history, the French Revolution.” – Roberta Rich, Internationally bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice

“Revolutionary fervor, royal politics, and high fashion are stitched together like a couture ballgown in Meghan Masterson’s THE WARDROBE MISTRESS…Giselle makes a smart, likable heroine, torn between her affection for the queen and her growing love for a firebrand suitor, and the revolution’s relentless advance toward the guillotine made for breathless reading. A charming debut!” —Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga and The Borgia Chronicles


THE WARDROBE MISTRESS: A Novel of Marie Antoinette

St. Martin’s Griffin

On-Sale August 15th, 2017

Paperback: $15.99 / 9781250126665

E-Book: $10.99 / 9781250126672


 

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17 thoughts on “The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson

  1. While the French Revolution is not my favourite time period to read, I do like when a story is told through the eyes of say a servant, because of the scope for their story within the actual person in history.

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    • Not a favorite historical era for me either but I enjoyed Michelle Moran’s MADAME TUSSAUD (about the same era) from a few years ago so I went for it.

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  2. I also read Madame Tussaud a few years ago and enjoyed it. I have this one from NG, but with the move, didn’t get to open it yet. I think I’m going to enjoy it, though.

    I remember so many, many years ago reading another historical fiction about M. Antoinette, called The Queen’s Confession by Victoria Holt, and it stuck with me when I heard the cliches about her life later on. She has been painted with too broad a brush in many books, I think.

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    • Yes, the author kind of made the point (via the main character) that MA didn’t say some of the things that have been attributed to her – reducing her to almost caricature status. I think that’s one of the draws of historical fiction for me – the author usually does in-depth research and presents the facts within the novel. That’s the sense I got while reading this book.

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