Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tour: Mistress of the Sun

Mistress of the Sun
by Sandra Gulland

Set against the magnificent decadence of the seventeenth-century French court, Mistress of the Sun is a riveting love story with a bewitching mystery at its heart.

Unmarriageable and too poor to join a convent, Louise de la Valliere enters the court of the Sun King as a maid of honor. The King is mesmerized by her athleticism and her striking grace. As their love unfolds, Louise bears Louis four children, is made a duchess, and reigns unrivaled as his official mistress - until a dangerous intrigue threatens her position at court, her place in Louis's heart, and even her life.

Internationally acclaimed novelist Sandra Gulland triumphantly resurrects a fascinating female figure from the shadows of history and illuminates both the power of true and perfect love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.
First Sentence:
A Romany woman in a crimson gown flashes by, standing on the back of a cantering horse.

This book is set in one of my all time favorite historical eras; the court of the Sun King. I was immediately attracted to the main female character, Louise de la Valliere or as she's better known as, Petite. The book follows the life and the loves of Petite, which is constantly changing except for two things ... her infatuation of horses and her fear of the devil.

I absolutely fell in love with Mistress of the Sun. The characters are so well portrayed that you cannot help but become intertwined with their lives. However this can turn out to be a bad thing, because when Sandra Gulland says she does not like happy endings she isn't kidding. I became so involved in the story I had to force my self to turn the page because I was too afraid to read what would happen to my beloved Petite next. And of course, just like Petite, I fell in love with the Sun King himself ... which made the ups and downs of their affair even more painful to read. I look forward to reading this book again in the future and plan on buying Sandra Gulland's Josephine trilogy very soon.

I would definitely recommend Mistress of the Sun to anyone who enjoys reading. It is not just another historical fiction book, it is also a love story and has a bit of paranormal activity thrown in. The reader does not have to possess any knowledge of the time period before starting this book because Sandra Gulland has added wonderful extras including: a map of France at the time of the Sun King, an abbreviated genealogy of the royal families and a glossary of terms. It would also be a great read for long time lovers of historical fiction because Petite is not a "popular" historical female, so there are not many books about her life and for many people this will be their fist time reading about her.

Favorite Quotes:
Unfortunately I was too absorbed into the story to remember to write down the page number of quotes until I was more than halfway done with the book. ;) Also, it turns out, many of my favorite quotes would ruin the surprise twists in the story ... So, I will just share one that I believe is one of the main themes of the book.
She thought of herself as Louis's true wife, and the Queen as the wife of that other man, the King.

Title: Mistress of the Sun
Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN 10: 0743298926
ISBN 13: 978-0743298926
Buy It: Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble
Review Number: 12

About the author:

Sandra Gulland was born in Miami, Florida, and lived in Rio de Janeiro, Berkeley and Chicago before moving to Canada in 1970 to teach in an Inuit village in northern Labrador - "an amazing experience," she recalls. Settling in Toronto, she worked as a book editor for a decade before moving with her husband and two very young children to a backwoods log cabin near Killaloe (population 600) in rural Ontario. There, in addition to running Words &, an editing services company, co-producing a community newsletter (The Community News & Confuse), and serving as volunteer principal in her children's parent-run alternative school, she raised chickens and pigs, grew vegetables ("tried to grow vegetables," is how she puts it), battled blackflies and snowstorms, and developed a lifelong love of horses.

In 1985 she began writing fiction full-time. Ten years later, the first of the novels in the Josephine B. Trilogy was published, followed in 2008 by Mistress of the Sun. She is now at work on another novel set in the Court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, an era she describes as "endlessly fascinating." An Internet enthusist, she writes two blogs - Notes on the Writing Life (on writing) and Baroque Explorations (on research) - and can be found on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter
and other sites. She and her husband now live half the year in rural Ontario, and half in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Thanks to Sandra Gulland and her publisher Diane, I have received a second copy to giveaway. Unfortunately, being the poor college student I am, I can only ship to people within the U.S., I am sorry! The contest will run from May 20th to May 27th, 2009. The winner will be chosen by and will be notified by email.

To be entered you must leave a comment here answering the question "What historical era would you like to see Sandra Gulland write about next?" You must also leave a valid email address.

For extra entries (+1 each):
-Become a follower
-Add my blog to your blogroll
-Add my blog button (with a link back to my blog) to your blog
-Post about this giveaway somewhere on your blog (can be an actual post or on the sidebar)


Sandra Gulland said...

Dear Jessica Marie,

Thank you for giving Mistress such a glowing review! It's one of my faves. Sing ye!

Sandra Gulland

Jo-Jo said...

I would love to win this book! After reading Shaghai Girls by Lisa See, I would like to read something from this era that keeps us in China during that war.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I'm also a follower.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I've also added you to my blogroll.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Britt said...

I'm already a follower.

This book looks really good.

I would LOVE to see her write something set in the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquataine. (which I may have totally spelled wrong... hmm)


Britt said...

Blogged about this. Confessions of a Book Habitue

Ms. Lucy said...

You wrote a wonderful review. I also really loved this book. If you enjoyes this novel by Gulland, I'm poistive you'll love her Josephine Trilogy. Great blog (don't enter me-I have the book and also reviewed it:)

Terry said...

What a great review - makes me really want to read this book! I have become a follower. I would love to see Sandra write about Marie Antoinette's daughter, Marie-Therese.

tmrtini at gmail dot com

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about your contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Kaye said...

Hi, I am a new follower. This is a great review. I'd like to see Sandra write about Victorian England. I'm drawn to that era for some reason.
Thanks for a great contest!


Anonymous said...


I follow you through RSS on mmy Google Reader, I don't know if that counts?

Someone mentioned Eleanor of Aquitaine and I would have to agree; I would definitely enjoy en story about this fascinating character!

infiniteshelf at gmail dot com

Alexa said...

I'd love to win this.
I'm also a follower

gaby317 said...

This sounds great - please count me in.

I would like to read something set at the time of the French Revolution.

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

gaby317 said...

+1 I'm a new follower

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

gaby317 said...

I've posted a link to your contest on my blog's sideroll.


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Alexa said...

I would like to see her write about the Victorian era.

Cheryl S. said...

I'd love to win this book. How about something from Renaissance Italy.

Please count me in - Thanks,

Megan said...

I would like to read about something from Renaissance Italy as well!

Jenny Girl said...

Please count me in.
Which time period is tough, how about one of the following: Renaissance Italy, Catherine the Great, or something unexpected like, early Rome or Greece. I'm sorry that may be a little demeanding, huh? Thanks for the contest.

scottsgal said...

How about the time period in the early 1800's in the US west? Not quite as historical as some suggestions but an interesting time period.

msboatgal at

scottsgal said...

I'm a follower

msboatgal at

Marty said...

i became a follower ezziriah (at) gmail dot com

Boo Bear's Place said...

I added your blog button to my site ezziriah (at)gmail dot com

Boo Bear's Place said...

Sandra Gulland is one of my faves and would love to win so if you can check out my site where I blogged this contest I'd appreciate it. Http://

Boo Bear's Place said...

oops sorry I'm glad I read your I guess i over looked it. I'd love to see some civil war era historical fiction from her.

Teddyree said...

Just wanted to say fabulous review, I have this on my bookshelf & really must pick it up!

Vera said...

Hmm, I'm a big fan of Roman history and also the Julius Caesar/Cleopatra story, so I'll pick that.

Vera said...

I'm a follower and read your blog through Google reader

Anonymous said...

I'm too lazy to try logging in (blogger still makes me change my password every time).

Tara Thompson

If further books are romantic historical fiction I think it would be interesting to see her write about the court life in traditional Japan, or perhaps about the erastes/eromenos relationships in classical Greece. (It'd be nice to have a book that wrote about the latter ones without having the modern interpretation with homosexual connotations.)

Jessica Moss said...


jessica Moss said...

I also agree with Cheryl, Renaissance Italy would be cool since I'm in love with Italy.

sue14625 said...

wonderful review great time in History i would be proud to add it to my bookshelf

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