Berkley. Jul. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9780451489982. pap. $16ebk. ISBN 9780451489999. F
Middle grade and YA novelist Sullivan’s adult debut is a rousing tale of spies, love, sex, and death. It is a delight, right from the salacious opening in a whorehouse in 1628 France. Milady de Winter of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers tells her own story, claiming her version to be more fascinating and accurate than that of the far from heroic musketeers. She recounts her journey from naive Yorkshire lass Clarice, daughter of Lord Paget, to Milady, a woman of action—independent, resourceful, and quite capable of rescuing herself. Educated in the healing and poisonous properties of herbs by her mother and in the arts of courtly and romantic intrigue by Lady Mary Villiers, Clarice finds her greatest power lies in being underestimated, taken for a mere helpless female. After she’s betrayed by her beloved at the court of King James I, Clarice travels to France, where her adventure-strewn path ultimately leads to her life as an agent for Cardinal Richelieu.
VERDICT This is truly entertaining historical fiction, an imaginative retelling of a classic from a new viewpoint. Readers will identify with Milady’s struggle to find her place in the world, to find happiness and love. Fanciers of adventurous historical fiction will love her story.

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