"A grand yet intimate look at the Sun King, a tale rich with detail and action. "--Library Journal(Starred Review, one of the best historical novels of the year)Before Versailles transports you to a world of secret passions and plots, a world of duplicity and malice. . . a world that created one of the best-known monarchs to grace the French throne. At the most decisive time in the young king's life, Louis XIV can taste the danger. His court teems with greed and corruption, the wrong woman draws him into a wrenching love affair, and a mysterious boy in an iron mask haunts the woods. The untried ruler is coming into his own in 1661, and Louis XIV must face what he is willing to sacrifice for honor and for love. Meticulously researched and gorgeously brought to life by New York Timesbestselling author Karleen Koen, Before Versaillesoffers up a sumptuous, authentic exploration of a time that forged a man into a king. Praise for Before Versailles:"In this magnificently written and researched novel, Karleen Koen brings to vibrant life the early years and loves of the future Sun King. "--Jean M. Auel, author of The Clan of the Cave Bearand the Land of Painted Caves"A baroque cornucopia spilling over with intrigue, passion, jealousy, ambition, and rich historical detail, Before Versailles offers a glittering glimpse of the crucial months that shaped Louis XIV into Europe's most powerful monarch. "--Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings
Alice Verney is a young woman intent on achieving her dreams. Having left Restoration England in the midst of a messy scandal, she has been living in Louis XIV's Baroque, mannered France for two years. Now she is returning home to England and anxious to re-establish herself quickly. First, she will regain her former position as a maid of honor to Charles II's queen. Then she will marry the most celebrated duke of the Restoration, putting herself in a position to attain power she's only dreamed of. As a duchess, Alice will be able to make or break her friends and enemies at will. But all is not as it seems in the rowdy, merry court of Charles II. Since the Restoration, old political alliances have frayed, and there are whispers that the king is moving to divorce his barren queen, who some wouldn't mind seeing dead. But Alice, loyal only to a select few, is devoted to the queen, and so sets out to discover who might be making sinister plans, and if her own father is one of them. When a member of the royal family dies unexpectedly, and poison is suspected, the stakes are raised. Alice steps up her efforts to find out who is and isn't true to the queen, learns of shocking betrayals throughout court, and meets a man that she may be falling in love with--and who will spoil all of her plans. With the suspected arrival of a known poison-maker, the atmosphere in the court electrifies, and suddenly the safety of the king himself seems uncertain. Secret plots are at play, and war is on the horizon--but will it be with the Dutch or the French? And has King Charles himself betrayed his country for greed? The long-awaited prequel to Koen's belovedThrough a Glass Darkly,Dark Angelsis a feast of a novel that sparkles with all the passion, extravagance, danger, and scandal of seventeenth-century England. Unforgettable in its dramatic force, here is a novel of love and politics, of romance and betrayal, of power and succession--and of a resourceful young woman who risks everything for pride and status in an era in which women were afforded little of either. From the Hardcover edition.
The beloved heroine from Koen's bestselling Through a Glass Darkly returns in a passionate, unforgettable, romantic tapestry. A widow at age 20, emotionally devastated and financially ruined by the death of her husband in scandalous circumstances, Barbara Devane leaves colonial Virginia for London to confront her enemies and to pursue a deeply satisfying yet dangerous clandestine love.From the Hardcover edition.
"Lives up to every expectation. It's magnificent!"- Cleveland Plain Dealer. Sourcebooks Landmark proudly reintroduces this classic historical novel. Karleen Koen's sweeping saga contains unforgettable characters consumed with passion: the extraordinarily beautiful fifteen-year-old noblewoman, Barbara Alderley; the man she adores, the wickedly handsome Roger MontGeoffry; her grandmother, the duchess, who rules the family with cunning and wit; and her mother, the ineffably cruel, self-centered and licentious Diana. Like no other work, Through a Glass Darkly is infused with intrigue, sweetened by romance and awash in the black ink of betrayal.
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