The Last Child At Versailles
A gripping dual-timeline tale of revolution and family secrets, inspired by real events.
Versailles, 1789. A young girl must draw on every shred of her courage and loyalty, as her adoptive family is plunged into the chaos of the French Revolution. As her world spirals out of control, a vow to save their priceless heirlooms becomes a fight for survival.
Now, after more than two centuries, the family secret is about to be rediscovered in a dusty attic half a world away.
Sophie West is thrilled at the idea of visiting Paris to investigate her mysterious ancestor, especially as a distant relative appears to hold the missing pieces of the puzzle. Fascinating as he is, she must remind herself that this man is a stranger, with unknown motives. And he is not the only one fixated on discovering what she knows about a rumoured treasure. Who can she trust to help her solve the mystery of the girl with the pearl necklace, when her every move is anticipated and she is alone in a foreign land?
‘I stayed awake reading waaay too late. … I just had to keep reading to see what happened.’
‘I was hooked’.
‘I loved the witty dialogue’.
‘I was on the edge of my seat during the final showdown.’
The Last Child at Versailles is a dual-timeline story set mainly in the Palace of Versailles and Paris, with the climax set in the Champagne region of Reims, France.
The extraordinary Palace of Versailles is a sight to behold, both for its immense size and the gorgeous details. Here are a few photos from a pre-Covid trip, showing the settings for various scenes – the gates and courtyard, the King’s Library, the amazing astronomical clock, and, of course, the Hall of Mirrors.
As a statement of the richness of the décor at Versailles, it’s hard to go past the Queen’s bedroom. The hidden door, through which Marie Antoinette escaped when Versailles was invaded, is near the corner of the room. (Source: the official website of Versailles, https://www.chateauversailles.fr)
The story features the gorgeous works of Jean-Henri Riesener, favoured cabinetmaker to the royal household. This photo of Marie Antoinette’s private ‘Gilded Room’ shows a magnificent commode and desk by Riesener. (Source: the official website of Versailles, https://chateauversailles.fr)
Outside, the formal gardens of Versailles are a delight, but the story’s heroine prefers the tranquillity of the Queen’s Hamlet (images from Shutterstock by Filip Fuxa and Roman Babakin).
In present-day Paris, Sophie loves the old buildings and strolling in the Jardin du Luxembourg (with its many statues), but is less enthusiastic about the iconic Eiffel Tower. (Luxembourg Palace image from Unsplash by Marie Evano).
And who wouldn’t love to visit Reims, with its famous Champagne cellars.
The vineyard in the story is fictional, but there are many tempting versions in real life, such as the Champagne cellar of Taittinger (image from Shutterstock by Kate Jones).