At the age of sixteen, Charlotte-Rose leaves her Gascon home, Chateau de Cazeneuve, to live at the court of Louis XIV. She becomes a maid of honor to the queen and is known for her witty writing. But her scandalous affairs with noblemen and satirical verses bring her to the king's attention. Charlotte-Rose must choose banishment to an abbey or lose her pension from the king. At the abbey, a nun helps her to overcome the harshness of her new life by requesting her help in the garden. As they work, the nun tells her the story of a young girl imprisoned in a tower by a witch because her mother craved the taste of bitter greens.
Kate Forsyth retells the fairy tale Rapunzel and interweaves it into the life story of Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force who lived a colorful life at the French court. Mademoiselle de la Force was the author of the fairy tale Persinette that we know through the Grimm brothers as Rapunzel. Forsyth's novel has the detailed setting and compelling plot that readers of historical fiction enjoy.
Reviewed by ds, 1/15. Other reviews by ds.