The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson

coverTHE 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.

This book was very interesting. It was very politically motivated, with a bit of romance on the side. It tends to be a little dry, but does follow one of the most politically interesting times in French history. This book takes a very unique perspective of the French Revolution. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will likely enjoy this book.

The Wardrobe Mistress is a bit of a coming of age story. It is in first person, written from the perspective of the heroine, Giselle. Her story, while fictional, is poignant.  I hadn’t often considered how difficult the lives of servants in the palace must have been. The most ardent Revolutionists assuming all in the household Royalists, but most servants have a bit of one foot in each camp. This was a very interesting perspective to consider.

I also enjoyed the element of Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe. Though it is often commonplace today to dissect the outfits powerful political figures wear to various events, I hadn’t considered the same being done to Marie Antoinette. It was intriguing to read about these struggles.

For me, this book dragged just a bit. It took me longer to read than I am used to. I think mostly because of how in depth it was. There were a lot of historical events taking place over a long period of time. However, it was also very exciting. I would encourage true fans of historical fiction to read this book.



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