"Hall of Mirrors" by Roxanne Lalande transports readers to the opulent world of Versailles in 1682, where the Sun King, Louis XIV, rules with an iron fist over a court teeming with intrigue, scandal, and a rigid hierarchy of etiquette. In this historical mystery, Lalande unveils a world of hidden secrets behind the dazzling façade of lavish festivities.
The novel follows Duchess Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orleans, whose investigation into unearthed human remains and a silver locket on her husband's lover's estate unravels a web of sorcery, promiscuity, and murder. The premise is promising, delving into the darker underbelly of the court's social and political dynamics.
However, while the setting is richly detailed, the execution of the plot falls short of its potential. The narrative struggles to maintain a consistent pace, leading to moments of stagnation that hinder the overall flow of the story. The characters, including the duchess, lack the depth needed to make them truly compelling, leaving the reader somewhat detached from their fates.
The exploration of the criminal involvement of powerful enemies at court adds a layer of suspense, but the resolution feels somewhat rushed and lacking in complexity. The intricacies of the political landscape and the motivations behind the characters' actions could have been further developed to enhance the overall narrative.
On a positive note, Lalande's portrayal of Versailles is vivid and immersive, capturing the essence of the time period with its lavish descriptions and attention to historical detail. The shadowy world beneath the surface of courtly life is intriguing, offering glimpses into a society where appearances are deceiving.
In conclusion, "Hall of Mirrors" offers a captivating premise within the grandeur of Versailles but falls short in its execution. While the historical backdrop is vividly depicted, the pacing issues and underdeveloped characters prevent the story from reaching its full potential. Despite its flaws, readers with a keen interest in historical mysteries may find elements of intrigue within the "Hall of Mirrors."
The author needs to research about the period in which she wants to set her story. Obnoxious or extremely goofy characters, to say the least.
I do not recommend it.
This was a very atmospheric and interesting story. Bringing history to life brilliantly. I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to reading more from the author.
1682 Versailles, Louis the Fourteenth, political intrigue, sorcery, murder, human remains unearthed. This just is so up my alley! If that all sounds good to you, I’d recommend!
A lady in waiting finds a locket with an awful history. An investigation begins and we are left with an exciting historical mystery that has readers gripped.
My only complaint was the multiple story lines sometimes felt a bit all over.
A big thank you to the author Roxanne Lalande the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for my candid review.
This is a dark, sinister story that is set in the palace of Verseilles and the Court of Louis the 14th, the Sun King. It delves deep into the intrigue and machinations that went on behind the scenes at the palace. Everyone has secrets and intrigues and who can be trusted????
It is a great yarn and a look into the reign of Louis 14th.
Thank you NetGalley for the eARC. If you love history, you will love this book! It is so well researched and it feels so real. It is so intriguing! I loved everything about this book!
The premise to the story sounded history. However, it was very slow moving with a predictable ending. Still, I found the setting to be intriguing. I recommend this for those that like reading about mysteries set in lavish courts!
A riveting story set in a truly fascinating time period (one of my favorites) that was well-researched, detailed, and entrancing. I have rarely had such luck with historical fiction, as so much of it nowadays relies purely on stereotypes or inaccurate assumptions as opposed to actual historical research, so this was an absolute joy to read. This book made me want to purchase a big gown and visit Versailles in real life.
Hall of Mirrors by Roxanne Lalande has the perfect setting for a murder mystery – the court at Versailles under the rule of the Sun King, Louis XIV. In a place where conspiracies and hidden plots were part of the norm, the discovery of human remains and a mysterious locket compel Elisabeth Charlotte d’Orleans to delve further into the mystery behind them.
My dearest reader, I so wanted to like Hall of Mirrors but unfortunately, it was disappointing. With so many characters it was difficult to keep track of what exactly was going on and to who it was happening. This is especially true since many of the characters have more than one name or title and could be called one or the other. The writing was confusing at times and the dialogue often had a stilted feel to it. Character information was often given in huge chunks of dialogue which I presume is meant to feel like listening to gossip but comes across more like clunky info dumps.
While I did enjoy reading about life at Versailles under Louis XIV and how frustrating it could sometimes be, it would have been nice if the main murder mystery plot had been given the same attention.
I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. Fun read. I love anything to do with this period in history. It was a fast easy read.
Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres. This book is an excellent addition to it. Set in the court of the Sun King, this book brings to life dazzling Versailles, the pomp and circumstance of which hid a decadent xenophobic court, filled with suspicious, vicious courtiers all conspiring to keep the king's favour, an increase in religious fundamentalism from the king's mistress, a complete lack of humanity towards those outside the orbit of the court. THe author's research is brilliant, reconstructed from letters sent by the German Duchess of Orleans, Louis XIV's sister-in-law, to her relatives. The discovery of charred bones and a mysterious locket in a neighbouring estate by the Duchess' lady-in-waiting set off a series of events, through which the author explores a court that seemed successful, but in which fissures were starting to show-the characters discuss the Affair of the poisons, the scandal of the execution of Cinq-Mars, and the events that lead to the exile of the teenage illegitimate son of the King ( one of the candidates for the Man in the Iron Mask). I love her descriptions of the elaborate clothes and meals and court functions-you feel like you're practically there. The tone that the book's written in keeps you at the edge of your seat all the time, and I finished it in one go. Excellent book, recommended for fans of Jean Plaidy.
Powerful and atmospheric. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it his book.
Many thanks to The Book Whisperer and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Look at this fantastic cover!! It’s so beautiful.
I’m really new to the Historical Fiction and am trying to jump around to different era’s and see which I like the most.
Since I’m not a history buff, I can sometimes get lost if there is assumed information as part of the story, or if there are a lot of historical characters used that the reader is expected to know about.
This story takes place in the 1600’s at the palace of Versailles. And I swear, every other character was named Louis! 😂
But what actually drew me in was this mystery about a found locket and charred remains. I thought this would be a great storyline for my brain that loves Thrillers and Mysteries.
Unfortunately, I got lost in the story trying to figure out all the characters and their strange relationships. The mystery slid to the background.
There were some strange editing issues throughout the book as well as descriptions that didn’t stay consistent for characters, which made it more confusing for me overall.
If your like royal court drama and intrigue and understand a bit of French history, I’m guessing this would be a fun read for you.
Thank you to #NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
I wanted to like this book. I love historical fiction on Paris but this was not my cup of tea. I just felt there was no point to the story. It was just rambling and the flow of the story just didn't work for me. This is one of those rare books I would not recommend.
Very well researched and so descriptive that the characters seem to jump off the pages. I felt like I was a fly on the wall at the court of the Sun King. I read it in one setting, I just couldn't put it down.
Themes of debauchery, scandal, exuberance, social classes, hierarchy, and murder are all present in this novel.
This took me an incredibly long time to read partly due to life happenings but partly because I found it difficult to grab my attention. Once it did, I enjoyed it.
Get your rulers and some notebook pages ready because there are a lot of characters to keep track of… family tree style and otherwise.
The words that come to mind when describing the pre-Revolution era of French royalty/aristocracy are gilded glamour, opulence, decadence and debauchery. Roxanne Lalande manages to bring all these aspects of the French aristocracy to life in this book of suspense set at Versailles in the reign of the Sun King, King Louis XIV. Quite a lot of historical persons and events are brought together with a few fictional characters and events to create the plot of murder and intrigue involving a secret society of men known for their acts of grotesque debauchery. The names of the historical characters and their backgrounds were very complicated to remember and it took me a bit of Googling to get the gist of who was who in history. The secret society mentioned actually existed as well!
The best part about the book was the author's description of the gilded court of King Louis XIV and the obscenely lavish parties/masquerades thrown by him while the lack of a proper conclusion to the investigation into the murders/ intrigue was a let down. It just seemed that all that work put into trying to solve the mystery and demasking the guilty parties was for nothing in the end. The one person I came to really like was the Duchess Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orleans who takes it upon herself to investigate the mystery. A brave, spunky lady indeed.
My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher The Book Whisperer and the author Roxanne Lalande for providing me with an e-Arc of the book.
Between the court intrigue, characters, and elegant writing of Lelande, I couldn't put this book down. As someone who enjoys a good historical fiction full of mystery, Hall of Mirrors answered my desire and more. I enjoyed this book so much that I recommended it for the Chattanooga Women's Book Club for 2022 because the group tends to enjoy good historical fiction. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me. I've also bought in print so that I can reread it.
Hall of Mirrors takes place in the court of Versailles in the reign of King Louis. Lady-in-Waiting Mathilde and her lover Robin find a skeleton in the woods while adventuring, along with a strange pendant, and Mathilde is determined to find out why. When Robin’s family becomes implicated, Mathilde turns to her friend Catherine, who in turn decides that they must tell both of their mistresses. When it appears that the mystery may encompass nobility as high up as the Chevalier, the mistresses and the ladies-in-waiting might be in more danger than they think.
I didn’t get as engrossed in this book as I’d hoped; it did have a combination of mystery and romance, but neither were sufficient to pull me into the novel. The writing was good, and Lalande paints an appealing picture of the scenery around Versailles. However, the whole story felt like it was being told with a sepia tone, like I was very far removed from it as a reader. That isn’t a tone that works very well for me, which is why I don’t think I got as much out of the story as I could have. Of course, neither the story nor the characters were very deep, either, which is probably another reason why I didn’t get very sucked in.
Mathilde has a love interest, Catherine has a love interest, and even Mathilde’s overweight mistress has one. In fact, the whole palace of Versailles seems to have one, which plays a significant role in the story. I found that all of these characters, as well as the political figures and intricacies, made the story difficult to follow at times. If, like me, you’re more familiar with the English monarchy and notable figures, you might find this novel a little confusing as well.
With very little plot twists, transparent characters, and a less-intriguing mystery than I’d hoped, I’d say this book was average at best. It did read as a debut novel (it is Lalande’s first fictional work) where the writing just isn’t honed yet. I remember that I didn’t like the first Ian Rutledge novel very much because Charles Todd just hadn’t found their stride yet. I think with more practice, Lalande could become an enchanting storyteller in the court of the Sun King.
Roxanne Lalande’s website can be found here: https://www.roxannelalande.com/.
Wow, this is a gorgeous read. I love the setting and how detailed it is. A very entertaining and enjoyable read.
I just reviewed Hall of Mirrors by Roxanne Lalande. #HallofMirrors #NetGalley