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Sunday, March 15, 2009
THE COURTIER'S SECRET-DONNA RUSSO MORIN
This story was absolutely enchanting. Set in the 1600’s, with King Louis XIV as ruler, Donna Russo Morin gives her readers an inside look at what life was like inside the walls of Versailles. She allows us to experience just how ridiculous people acted to get in the good graces of the King and Queen and to witness their everyday lives in general.
Jeanne Yvette Mas du Bois is a beautiful young woman stuck in a life she has no desire to live. Unlike all of her acquaintances, who are ecstatic to be fortunate enough to live within the same walls as the king and live a life of privilege, Jeanne is frustrated with it and views it as a mundane life. Jeanne has the spirit and desires of a woman living in our time; she wishes to be allowed to do what men do, to be respected, and to be heard. She feels all women are reduced to are frilly dresses and endless gossip.
Her true passion is wielding a sword. Having been taking secret lessons from her uncle for quite some time, she finds that she is very skilled. Having to hide this part of herself frustrates her to no end. When Jeanne and her uncle find themselves enmeshed in a real battle with men trying to kill the Queen, she meets Henri Boucher D’Aubigne. Henri is a musketeer. Yearning for purpose in life, and wanting to be closer to Henri, Jeanne does the unthinkable; she dresses like a man and becomes one of them, under the alias ‘Jean-Luc’.
As time goes on, Henri meets Jeanne and falls in love with her, not knowing the connection between her and ‘Jean-Luc’. Together they fight for their love in a time when it is not common for men and women to marry for love, but rather money and status. Jeanne must fight not only to keep her secret, but also to decide what to do with the fate her father has chosen for her; which is for her to marry a wimp of a man who she does not even know or love.
I found this story to be refreshing and utterly exciting. Obviously a very talented writer, Donna Russo Morin has created magnificent characters that you cannot help but fall in love with; they are so vibrant and full of life. She creates Jeanne to be this character that is uncomfortable in her own fancy shoes and wishes to be something else, which I think most people find themselves going through at one point or another in their lives. This causes her to be very relate able, which I feel only makes her that much more loveable. She is a strong woman who stands up for what she feels is right, which I think is something we all wish we sometimes had the courage to do.
Donna Russo Morin has added a perfect amount of detail; no more and no less would have made this story any better. This is truly one of those stories that will stay in your heart long past reading the last page. I would recommend this book to everyone. I think men and women alike would get a great deal out of this story. Women would find that their hearts are set aflutter with the romance and the courage of this young woman fighting for what will make her happy, and men would smile with satisfaction at the action scenes and the honorable way some of the men were brought up to be.