Enchantress of Paris

Written by Marci Jefferson
Review by Arleigh Johnson

In 17th-century France, during the early reign of King Louis XIV, one of Cardinal Mazarin’s seven nieces captured the young king’s heart. Marie Mancini, born under an evil star, was the least likely candidate for a companion – and indeed, her older sister, Olympia, had made a conquest of the king first. The noted intellectual of the Mazarinettes, Marie intrigued Louis with her love of learning and poetry, ideas for bettering the country, and her grasp of the current political situation. Cardinal Mazarin and the Queen Mother, however, were not thrilled with the king’s attachment and planned to exile Marie before marrying Louis to Maria Theresa of Spain.

This story is set during a time when the celebrated Sun King was heavily under the influence of the Cardinal and too unsure of himself to break free. Marie detests her uncle’s handling of Louis’s affairs and plots His Eminence’s downfall, even if it means delving into the dark arts. When she finds a letter with proof of the Cardinal’s and Queen Mother’s duplicity, it seems her hard-won bid for position is over – but at what cost for France?

Engrossing and witty, this account of the fascinating Mancini sisters will hold the reader’s attention with exceptional historical detail and convincing characters. Though Louis is irritatingly weak, and painfully blind in regards to his mentors, there is a theme of coming into one’s own and a glimpse of the events that made Louis XIV into the king he would become. This beautifully written narrative is heartily recommended for lovers of royalty and biographical novels, and will not disappoint those looking for a politically charged, lightly romantic tale.