THE ORANGE TREES OF VERSAILLES by Annie Pietri

THE ORANGE TREES OF VERSAILLES

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

When 14-year-old Marion enters the service of the Marquise de Montespan, Louis XIV’s mistress, her ability to recognize scents and blend them into superb perfumes becomes instrumental in a plot to kill the Queen. Details of Versailles and chateau life in 1674 evoke the rigors and stench of daily living that required fragrances and perfumes to mask them. A translation from the French, the story is a vehicle for historical information about “noses,” as perfumers were called. The mistress issue is treated as matter-of-fact for the time, always referring to the Marquise as the “favorite.” A slow beginning, some difficult language, an overly facile alliance with the court doctor, and lack of pronunciation guide are countered by the intrigue of an ambitious courtesan scheming to stay in the king’s favor, her penchant for soothsayers, her nasty dog named Pyrrhos, and Marion’s pivotal role. An unusual, romantic, slim historical fiction for sophisticated girl readers. (lengthy author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-73103-5
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2004