Release Date: February 17th 2022
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
1768. Charlotte arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Two years later, her sister Antoine is sent to France to marry another stranger. In the mirrored corridors of Versailles, they rename her Marie Antoinette.
But the sisters are not powerless. When they were only children, Charlotte and Antoine discovered a book of spells – spells that seem to work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.
In a world of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, Charlotte and Antoine use their secret skills to redefine their lives, becoming the most influential women of the age.
But every spell requires a sacrifice. As love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.
Brimming with romance, betrayal, and the hidden power of women, THE EMBROIDERED BOOK reveals and reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.
The Embroidered Book is a captivating, magical tale that will have you engrossed from the very first chapter. The story follows Marie Antoinette and her sister Charlotte as they are sent to marry men they have never met. While they have little say in the matter the sisters have discovered a spellbook filled with spells that seem to work. As the two girls learn to navigate the world of court politics, they have no choice but to use this secret power to survive – but at what cost?
When I read the synopsis for this book I was immediately intrigued. While I am fascinated by history the sisters are not something I know much about but I was completely swept up in this tale. The story is well-paced and I really loved Heartfield’s writing style. The setting really came to life in Heartfield’s words and I felt the mix of historical fiction and magic worked incredibly well. The Embroidered Book isn’t a short book – coming in at just under 700 pages – but I raced through it, becoming completely lost in the story. The story felt incredibly well researched and there was so much detail woven into every aspect of the story.
Where The Embroidered Book really excels is the compelling characters Heartfield has created. We follow the sisters from their childhood and it is fascinating to see them grow up, to navigate their marriages and life at court. The rivalry that develops between them is similarly fascinating and incredibly well executed. All the characters in this story felt well developed and ultimately it is a complex story of power and sisterhood. The Embroidered Book is one of those books that stays with you long after reading, so if you’re looking for some captivating historical fiction with a dash of magic, this is absolutely a must-read.