Title An Affair of Poison
Author Addie Thorley
Description from Amazon
After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.
Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half of the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant dauphin. Forced to hide in the sewers beneath the city, Josse’s hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until his path collides with Mirabelle’s.
She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. They are sworn enemies, yet they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?
I’m on a real France kick in 2019 so when I saw that this book was about the Sun King, I couldn’t resist picking it up. Side note, I have a slight obsession with French history and particularly Louis XIV, a.k.a. the Sun King. The obsession is so great, I once had a beta fish named for him (and he lived for almost 4 years, which is crazy for a beta), who was truely the Sun King of beta fish.
Anyway, the premise of this book immediately caught my eye.
The colors on the cover are simple and very elegant. The white with gold accents stands out and yet is not flashy. I also really liked that traditionally French icons, like the fleur-de-lis, were not featured here. The cover is classically French without cliché symbols.
I usually don’t feature the “Favorite Character” Section if my favorite is the narrator, however, I feel like I need to make an exception here. Mirabelle is strong, smart, and protective of those around her. She clearly does not belong in her mother’s organization and she genuinely wants to create a better France. I enjoyed the chapters that she narrated, but it was actually Josse’s POV that made me like her even more.
“I don’t know if this is the end. Or if it’s the beginning. But either way, it feels like victory.”
I’m a sucker for realism in fantasy novels. Josse and Mirabelle witnessed so much but somehow they know that they will get through it. Their lives may not be perfect, but at least they have them.
I loved the alternating POVs in this book and the enemies to lovers romance. I also enjoyed the secondary characters. I thought they balanced the main characters out well and were not overwhelming to the story considering this is a standalone novel.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- Rook by Sharon Cameron – both books take place in France and have an enemies to lovers romance where each member of the main couple is keeping secrets from the other. Additionally, both are standalone novels so if you don’t like getting into a series, these are perfect.
- Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice by Kathleen Benner Duble – like Rook this story is also set in France. The time periods are much closer between Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice and An Affair of Poisions however, the romance element is a bit different. That being said, I think if you liked one of these stories, you will likely enjoy the other as well.
- Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – this might seem like a far out recommendation but hear me out. Both stories feature enemies to lovers romance, poisoning, alternating POV writing style, and are standalone novels. Keralie and Mirabelle are very similar characters. Both are strong, passionate, and are trying to undo the mistakes they have made.