Member Reviews

I enjoyed this look at the French court. And the French court of a lesser known time period of the Sun King. Can't wait to see where this series goes.

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I loved this book from the moment I started it. I couldn't put it down. Somewhere around chapter 45, I started to get nervous - I was getting perilously close to the end and the number of pages left didn't seem like enough to resolve everything in the way they deserved. And then the book ended. Just ended. In possibly the worst possible way.

I thought at first it was a cliffhanger and this was the first in a trilogy or series but after an exhaustive middle-of-the-night search, it doesn't appear that's the case. The way this book ended crushed my soul because I loved it so much up until that point. But then as I began to reflect more, I started seeing more flaws in the story, plot, characters.


Boivin - from almost the onset he became one of the main antagonists, but the way his story ended felt abrupt, like an afterthought.

Rene - he was a one-dimensional character for like 2/3 of the book and then all of a sudden he was everywhere. It felt like he was a watered-down version of the villain and the way his story arced felt like a 90-degree angle, like it was way too much, too fast. While he wasn't a good husband, it felt like he should have been much darker and hateable to deserve the ending he got.

Etienne - I love Etienne. So much. I hate the way he just ghosted us at the end. WTH? What happened to Etienne???? Does he go back to the village? Does he get arrested? Does he follow Sylvienne? WHAT HAPPENED TO ETIENNE???

Sylvienne - Her ending was abrupt, to say the least. And I am not happy about it. But a couple of other things: did no one else see the revelation about her parentage coming? How is her mom so sick and she never goes back home to visit even once? Does she write to her mom once she gets to New France? Does she marry someone there or does Etienne show up and marry her? Whose baby is she pregnant with? How does that play into her future marriage. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Isabelle - So does she die? Does she know what became of her daughter? Also, what is she sick with? Consumption? What happened with Isabelle? Does Sylvienne write to her from New France?

This book needed an epilogue if not another installment picking up where this one left off. It's so incredibly well written and paced perfectly (except for those last dreaded chapters) and I really enjoyed the time period and plot. It's a shame that the last few chapters left such a blemish on all of that and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I'll keep an eye on this author in the future, but I have trust issues with her now.

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In this incredibly detailed and immersive historical fiction novel, readers travel to seventeenth century France where Sylvienne d’Aubert receives an invitation to attend Louis XIV, King of France, at Versailles. This invitation, however, reveals a secret her mother has kept from Sylvienne and the King. In Paris, Sylvienne quickly discovers the romance, decadence, opulence, and artistry of court as she takes on a position in the household of Madame de Montespan, Louis XIV’s preferred mistress. However, there is a dark side to the beauty and wonder of the royal court, and Sylvienne must adapt to the intrigues, affairs, and power-grabbing of court politics for her own good. With a vivid historical setting and a host of historical and historically inspired characters, readers will explore the depths and complexities of French court life during Louis XIV’s reign with Sylvienne. Sylvienne is an excellent protagonist and heroine, and Williams brings all of her characters to life with detailed backstories, unique personalities, and complex motivations. With such a vibrant setting and brilliant characters, readers are sure to enjoy Williams’s book about life at Versailles in 1670 when everything is beautiful but also dangerous if you know where to look and how to play the game.

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Courting the Sun
A Novel of Versailles
by Peggy Joque Williams

Courting The Sun by Peggy Joque Williams is a wonderful historical fiction.
Set in the decandant court of King Louis XIV, is a coming of age story that follows young woman Sylvienne d’Aubert.When the tale begins she is only fifteen, living alone with her mother. She lives a sheltered life in her village, she has several close friends one including a shoemaker son. When the King’s entourage passes through Sylvienne’s quaint village, her life’s course changes. In a series of events she receives a formal invitation to visit the French court.

Meticulously researched, Peggy Joque Williams has written a spectacular historical fiction. Rich descriptive details will catapult you into the Sun Kings luxurious court. Seamless narration from start to finish will keep readers enthralled.

Excited to read what this author writes next !

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A novel that takes place at the court of King Louis XIV. An innocent girl brought to the sumptuous court at Versailles How long did she stay innocent surrounded by a court that held secrets, how long did she stay enamored of the opulence and all that glittered As you read this, you step into the world of the 17th century, a time when most people had no idea of the goings on at the palace of Versailles...the affairs, the quest for power among those in the inner circle. This was a well written book, one that those who love historical fiction will certainly want to read. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley for the eARC of Courting the Sun by Peggy Joque Williams.

This was one of the first few romance historical fictions I have enjoyed! I am rating this book a solid 3.5 out of 5.

Firstly, I felt the author was well educated on the time period of seventeenth century France. The way Peggy was able to capture the opulent prose of France and produce a whimsical world I felt I could picture well in my mind.
Secondly, I enjoyed the characters and their development. I felt like I could understand our FMC Sylvienne, who the story focuses on.

Thirdly, I highly enjoyed the first 80% of the book. Not to say the last 20% was bad, but it turned dark. I recommend looking up trigger warnings for this book as there are depictions of SA and DV throughout. It was tough to read through, but it made Sylvienne's story that much more gut wrenching.

My biggest complaint, however, is an ambiguous ending. I do not enjoy leaving a story open ended. I know its purpose is to serve the reader to ponder on what could happen, but it is not enjoyable for me. But that is personal preference.

Personal preference aside, I am rating this book a solid 3.5 out of 5. I felt the pacing was great in the beginning, you get to know the characters and the story set up. However, the last half of the book is rushed. It comes barreling forwards where I was left starring at the wall wondering "Wait, what?" I wish it was just a tad longer. I felt there was more to Sylvienne's "end of book character relationships" that needed a little more depth.

Overall a solid read!

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I don’t read a ton of 17th century stories so I wanted to try a new time period and setting. The author does a great job of world building and immersing the reader in the time and language of that period, and the novel starts off with a big moment and keeps the reader engaged.

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Thank you NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for this eCopy to review

Courting the Sun is a fascinating insight into life at the Court of Louis XIV told through the eyes of his naïve cousin Sylvienne d’Aubert will she survive the debauchery that is the Royals' life or can she keep her innocence. Will her mother's secret come out?

Full of interesting characters and magnificent settings I was swept away to 17th century France and the intrigues kept me turning the pages long into the night

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Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2024
This is one of those books where you can step into a whole new and different world in another century. The opulence of royal life, the details of the beautiful gowns and shoes - Egyptian silk and jewels, the hairstyles and dialogue: "I look forward to a rollicking and convivial discourse." And my favorite of all: "Who would allow a young woman to choose her husband? So much can go wrong."

Williams' descriptive writing easily placed me in France during the reign of Louis XIV and I even felt like I learned a few French words by the end of the novel.

A teenage girl with dreams of grandeur suddenly finds herself living the dream, but as in real life, drama is at every turn.

A well-researched historical novel that is as transporting as it is entertaining.

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Thanks to NetGalley, Peggy Joque Williams, and Black Rose Writing for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Courting the Sun in the return of an honest review. I received an advanced reader copy for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Historical fiction at its finest. This book is beautifully written. The characters are interesting and the descriptions of the time period are so rich and fulfilling. The scandals were written well and there was even a slight twist that was unexpected.

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This is an absolute gorgeous novel, the Sun King's Court is a fascinating period of history and Peggy captured it so well. I felt transported back in time and loved all dresses and the parties, the secrets and conspiracies! Not going to lie, the plot twist took me by total surprise and I was hanging on the edge of my seat by the end! Sylvienne was a really interesting character, she was a naive country girl thrown into the opulent and dangerous, power hungry court and has no idea what to do. It was so well done, and I really loved her learning to maneuver through the intrigue.

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I didn't see this one coming! I rarely read historical fiction and never pick up books about palace life or royal intrigue. Maybe I should because Peggy Joque Williams has shaken up my reading paradigms with her meticulously researched debut novel "Courting the Sun."

Williams immerses readers in the glittering yet treacherous world of Louis XIV's court through the eyes of Sylvienne d’Aubert, a small-town teen from Amiens, France. As Sylvienne navigates the complexities of royal life, the author deftly weaves a tale of romance, intrigue, and betrayal against the backdrop of 17th-century France. Williams's historical detail and rich character development might be assumed from a seasoned author, but are unexpected surprises in a debut offering.

"Courting the Sun" had me from start to finish. Wow!

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Courting the Sun by Peggy Joque Williams is a historical romance story. It has been awhile since I have read a historical romance or fiction novel but this one was fantastic. I was very impressed with how much research the author put into this book and into the history of seventeenth century France. I loved the development of the characters and how true to the time period the author tried to make it. It was a glimpse into an era of what probably happened based on snippets of facts. The world building was beautiful of course it was an era we romanticize today.
I really hope there is a book two because I feel the last parts were rushed and there so much more I wanted to read and learn. If you like historical romance definitely check this book out!

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This was an absorbing read that contrasted rural French life with that of the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. It exposed the divine right to rule and almost total autonomy the king possessed. It also explored the manipulative backbiting and gossip that took place in those vying for position whilst narrating a story of a girl growing up, finding herself and finding love.

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I am new to novels in the 17th century. The story is full of love secrets, illicit affairs. I think this may have been normal at that time. I was really intrigued and look forward to reading more in this era. Very good book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Peggy Joque Williams for providing me with a complimentary digital ARC for Courting the Sun coming out May 9, 2024. The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I was really interested in the Versailles aspect of the book. I love the history of France in the 1600s. This was a story that I wasn’t familiar with. I thought Sylvienne was a really interesting character. She’s thrown into high royal society and has to find a way to survive. There were a few parts I didn’t enjoy like the men always going after vulnerable girls. But I’m sure that was true to history. Overall, I loved the writing and I feel like it was well researched.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books about Versailles in the 1600s!

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Courting the Sun was a sumptuous look into the court of King Louis XIV. The story focuses on a girl raised from obscurity and brought to the glittering court of Versailles, innocent of the intrigues that abound. The characters were well-developed and the author made you care for them. There was enough history to be interesting but it did not take away from the story (and the romance!). Would recommend to someone who enjoys historical fiction.

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I received a copy of this title from the publisher;; all thoughts expressed are my own. Courting the Sun was a very interesting book. I loved the setting of France during the early(ish) reign of Louis XIV. The main character is Sylvienne, who is 15 when the story begins and living with her mother in a small house that is near the manor house where they lived until her father died. Intelligent and curious, Sylvienne attends classes at a local convent. After a series of events, she finds herself kicked out of the school and is shocked when she finds out that her mother has a familial connection to King Louis XIV, the Sun King. After being summoned to attend court, Sylvienne finds herself in a completely foreign environment ripe with intrigue and danger. As Sylvienne tries to just survive at court, she finds out that there are even bigger secrets than her mother's identity. I really enjoyed the descriptions of court and the fashions as this is a period and location that isn't written about very often. It is told in first person so readers who don't enjoy first person narrative may not enjoy the book as well as those hoping for romance with a happy ending. Overall, I did enjoy the book, but it did kind of drag in the last 1/4.

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Since my days of reading the Royal Diaries in elementary school, I have been obsessed with French history. While I’ve read a lot about Marie Antoinette, her time at Versailles, and what came after, I’ve never read anything about the man who actually commissioned the Palace of Versailles.

Courting the Sun follows Sylvienne as she is summoned to court by Louis XIV and must learn to navigate the politics of the time and day-to-day life in 17th century France. Williams did an absolutely fantastic job at bringing many historical figures to life! Although Sylvienne herself is a fictional character, the way she was written gave many opportunities to see what life was like under the rule of the Sun King.

This was a very easy read that held my attention and introduced me to some new historical figures. I love the sprinklings of French throughout, and it was fun to pull out my high school French skills to see what I remembered!

I would recommend this to anyone interested in an easy, dramatic story about a fascinating period of time!

Thank you to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my unbiased opinion!

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This was a solid historical fiction read for me. I loved the characters and I felt like the author definitely hit the nail on the head when it came to the aesthetics of life at the french court. It was an intresting read and it kept my attention which I enjoyed. My only "negative" feedback would be that at times it felt like the plot was either moving too slowly or too fast. Other than that though, i throughly enjoyed reading this book and will probably pick up any others written by this author

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