Cover image for The orange trees of Versailles
Title:
The orange trees of Versailles
Author:
Pietri, Annie.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Orangers de Versailles. English
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
137 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
In the 1670s, fourteen-year-old Marion, who has a talent for making perfumes, gets the chance to serve Louis XIV's mistress at the palace of Versailles, where she gets caught up in palace intrigue.
General Note:
Translation of: Orangers de Versailles.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.1 4.0 81585.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780385731034

9780385901307
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In the 1670s, fourteen-year-old Marion, who has a talent for making perfumes, gets the chance to serve Louis XIV's mistress at the palace of Versailles, where she gets caught up in palace intrigue.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. In translation from the French, this slim historical novel is set in Versailles, amid the opulence and romantic intrigue of the late-seventeenth-century court of Louis XIV. Its 13-year-old protagonist, a commoner named Marion, possesses an unusually keen sense of smell and a knack for mixing perfumes. After the vain, scheming Marquise de Montespan, the king's paramour, hires Marion as a maidservant and unofficial perfumer, Marion sniffs out something far less pleasing than eau de toilette: a murderous plot to poison the marquise's rivals. The fablelike quality of the storytelling takes some getting used to, but readers will soon find themselves caught up in the excitement as humble Marion applies both talents and smarts to avert disaster. Apparently there really was a Poison Affair implicating the marquise, a historical figure, although young American readers may come away confused by the epilogue's somewhat coy mix of fact and fiction. More successful is the intriguing author's note discussing the sociology and science of perfume. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A commoner with a knack for creating perfumes smells a rat and foils a royal murder plot in this curious slice of historical fiction, imported from France. Marion Dutilleul, the 13-year-old daughter of one of King Louis XIV's gardeners, is hired to serve the beautiful but evil Marquise de Montespan, known around the court as the king's favorite mistress (their ongoing affair is presented as standard operating procedure, leaving readers to puzzle out the implications). Not content to play second fiddle to the queen, the marquise orders Marion-who has a remarkable memory for scents-to concoct perfumes that will drive the Sun King wild while the mistress devises a plan to get rid of the queen permanently. The plot relies heavily on coincidence and runs to extremes. The marquise's bad habits include participation in "black masses," which inconvenience her: "I am sick of lying naked on a pallet while you consecrate the host with the blood of a newborn child!" she tells "her" witch in the stiff dialogue that characterizes this translation. The author does evoke in vivid detail the olfactory challenges-blood and chamber pots, mainly-of chateau life in the 1700s. An endnote on the historical functions of perfume and background on some famous "noses" adds intriguing information, but may not be enough to anchor this slim novel on this side of the Atlantic. Ages 9-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved