Court of Miracles:
This novel of 17th-century French royalty is centered on the characters of the Marquis and Marquise de Valinquette. In 1661, the boy king Louis XIV has reached his majority. The social center of Paris is the Marquise’s Hotel de Valinquette, where her soirees and parties are the hit of the town and all artists and noblemen swear their undying love to her. But beneath all of this festive activity, the Marquise is unhappy and loveless. When an old friend of the Marquis, Guibert, the Count de Mallac, appears and presses his advantage, the Marquise falls for his charms and succumbs to his advances. The story revolves around these three characters, going deeper than the rivalry and duel between the Marquis and the Count, to the Marquise’s own past in the Court of Miracles, a kingdom of thieves and beggars that makes up the underground of Paris at this time.
The characters challenge the assumptions of their time period, not content with their station or their pedigree. It is a finely-woven and action-packed drama that is at times humorous, yet sad in its telling.
-Brad Eden, The Historical Novel Society
Princess of the Blood:
Orphan Sandrine Legrand knows little of her past, and neither do her adoptive parents, a cruel innkeeper and his unhappy wife. Raised a peasant in a small French village, she passes her time lost in books, much to the dismay of her parents. When the army of the Catholic League visits her town and takes shelter in her parents’ inn, an encounter with Philippe de Treffort, a charismatic nobleman and military leader, sets a series of events in motion that reveal her mysterious past.
The book gets off to a somewhat slow start, and the story occasionally veers into melodramatic territory, but Goldstein’s characters bring a very human face to the religious strife of late 16th to early 17th-century France. Goldstein’s academic background in French history is apparent from the amount of historical detail in the novel. The writing is solid and the story is generally engaging, and readers will wonder what mishaps will befall Sandrine on her way to a reunion with her beloved Philippe. Recommended for fans of traditional historical romance, especially romances where star-crossed lovers overcome every possible obstacle to reunite with one another.
-Nanette Donohue, The Historical Novel Society