Mistress of the Sun

Mistress of the Sun

A Novel

  • reading group guide
The author of the internationally acclaimed Josephine Bonaparte trilogy returns with another irresistible historical novel, this one based on the life of Louise de la Vallière, who, against all odds, became one of the most mysterious consorts of France's Louis XIV, the charismatic Sun King.

Set against the magnificent decadence of the seventeenth-century French court, Mistress of the Sun begins when an eccentric young Louise falls in love with a wild white stallion and uses ancient magic to tame him. This one desperate action of her youth shadows her throughout her life, changing it in ways she could never imagine.

Unmarriageable, and too poor to join a convent, Louise enters the court of the Sun King, where the king is captivated by her. As their love unfolds, Louise bears Louis four children, is made a duchess, and reigns unrivaled as his official mistress until dangerous intrigue threatens her position at court and in Louis's heart.

A riveting love story with a captivating mystery at its heart, Mistress of the Sun illuminates both the power of true and perfect love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743298926 | 
  • April 2009
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Get to Know Historical Novelist Sandra Gulland

Historical novelist Sandra Gulland discusses why she was drawn to the court of Louis XIV for Mistress of the Sun.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Sandra Gulland. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Questions for Discussion

1. Why did young Petite turn to bone magic to tame Diablo? Did she understand the ramifications of her actions? As an adult, did Petite regret this decision?

2. “The Devil gives nothing away for free” (page 13). In what ways did Petite pay for using the Devil's power? Is the use of “evil” for a “good cause” ever justified?

3. Many “ghosts” appear throughout the novel, usually in dreams, including the Lady in White, Diablo, and Petite’s father, Laurent. Discuss their significance and their effect on Petite. What is it that haunts her?

4. “It felt strange for her mother to be touching her” (page 85). Discuss the relationship between Petite and her mother, Françoise, both as a child and an adult. How does it compare with her feelings for her aunt, Sister Angélique?

5. “Was it possible that nobility of the heart had little to do with high birth?” (page 123). What does Petite mean by “nobility of the heart”? Whom do you find noble? Petite? see more

About the Author

Sandra Gulland
Photo Credit:

Sandra Gulland

Sandra Gulland is the author of Mistress of the Sun; The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.; Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe; and The Last Great Dance on Earth. She lives in Killaloe, Ontario, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.




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