The School of Mirrors
From #1 internationally bestselling author Eva Stachniak comes this rich, engrossing tale of love, deception and scandal in eighteenth-century France.
During the reign of Louis XV, impoverished but lovely teenage girls from all over France are sent to a discreet villa in the town of Versailles. Overseen by the King's favourite mistress, Madame de Pompadour, they will be trained as potential courtesans for the King. When the time is right, each girl is smuggled into the palace of Versailles, with its legendary Hall of Mirrors. There they meet a mysterious but splendidly dressed man who they're told is merely a Polish count, a cousin of the Queen. Living an indulgent life of silk gowns, delicious meals and soft beds, the students at this "school of mirrors" rarely ask questions, andwhen Louis tires of them, they are married off to minor aristocrats or allowed to retire to one of the more luxurious nunneries.
Beautiful and impressionable Véronique arrives and quickly becomes a favourite of the King. But when she discovers her lover's true identity, she is whisked away, sent to give birth to a daughter in secret, and then to marry a wealthy Breton merchant.
This is also the story of the King's daughter by Véronique--Marie-Louise. Well provided for in a comfortable home, Marie-Louise has never known her mother, let alone her father. Capable and intelligent, she discovers a passion for healing and science, and becomes an accredited midwife, one of the few reputable careers for women like her. Eventually Véronique comes back into her daughter's life, bringing with her the secret of Marie-Louise's birth. But it's a volatile time in France . . . and those with royal relatives must mind their step very carefully.
Gorgeously written and with a breathless pace, this is the story of a mother and a daughter--at the centre of cataclysmic personal and public turmoil.
About this Author
EVA STACHNIAK is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including The Winter Palace, Empress of the Night and The Chosen Maiden. She holds a PhD in literature from McGill University. Born and raised in Poland, she moved to Canada in 1981, and lives in Toronto.
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