THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is Meghan Masterson’s fascinating and visceral debut, an inside look at Marie Antoinette’s luxurious life in Versailles remarkably juxtaposed against life in third estate as the French Revolution gains strength. A propulsive exploration of love, loyalty, danger, and intrigue…not to be missed.
It’s Giselle Aubry’s first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette’s newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it’s a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen’s wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in the Parisian countryside where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.
From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen’s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Léon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.
But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything…maybe even her head.
Advance praise for The Wardrobe Mistress:
“In this debut novel by Meghan Masterson, the characters practically leap off the page, taking you by the hand through the streets of revolutionary Paris and the glittering halls of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles. I particularly loved the character of young Giselle Aubry. A highly entertaining read! Not to be missed!”―Michelle Moran, Internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti and Madame Tussaud
“An entertaining read in the best tradition of the historical novel…THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is intriguing and well researched, set during one of my favourite periods of history, the French Revolution. We see the Reign of Terror through the eyes of Giselle, an engaging young ‘undertirewoman’ or wardrobe mistress, who finds herself torn between her affection and compassion for the Queen and her loyalty to her class and family.”—Roberta Rich, internationally bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice
“Revolutionary fervor, royal politics, and high fashion are stitched together like a couture ballgown in Meghan Masterson’s THE WARDROBE MISTRESS…Giselle makes a smart, likable heroine, torn between her affection for the queen and her growing love for a firebrand suitor, and the revolution’s relentless advance toward the guillotine made for breathless reading. A charming debut!” —Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga and The Borgia Chronicles
“In THE WARDROBE MISTRESS, Masterson deftly captures the tumult of the French Revolution and the tragic unmaking of history’s most infamous queen—Marie Antoinette—through the eyes of clever and likable dressmaker Giselle Aubry…I grew impatient to return to the book each night. By turns sexy, absorbing, and suspenseful, this story sweeps you along to its riveting conclusion.”—Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine and Last Christmas in Paris
“A charming portrait of Marie Antoinette’s inner circle and the intimate connections between politics and fashion.” —Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
“Silk isn’t the only thing whispering through the halls of the royal palaces in Meghan Masterson’s captivating debut…THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is a romantic, tension-filled coming of age story set in a time of dangerous and uncertain revolution. You will root for Giselle; you will applaud her; and you will also fear for her.” —Sophie Perinot, author of Medici’s Daughter
I’d always been interested in the French Revolution and the way it forced loyalties to drastically change, and by how chaotic it was. In my reading, when I stumbled across the secret du roi, Giselle and her ex-spy uncle pretty much just showed up in my head with a story to tell. I also enjoyed writing about much-maligned Marie Antoinette. Researching the fashions of the French Revolution really interested me as well, which is why I chose for Giselle to be one of the Queen’s undertirewomen. It brought her close to Marie Antoinette, but it also allowed me to explore the undercurrents of revolutionary fashion. Clothing became so complicated during this time, with people using colours and fabrics to carefully portray (or conceal) their revolutionary or royalist beliefs. At particularly tense times of the revolution, people could be attacked simply for wearing the wrong thing and that seemed scary and fascinating to me. As the patriotism increased, so did the popularity of tricolour, both for clothing in general and also for the famous cockades that people could pin to their hats or shoulders. At one point, it was even illegal not to wear a tricolour rosette. I found it so interesting that colour could be a symbol of loyalty, which became a theme throughout the novel.