The Viscount’s Prize by Patricia Bates
Publisher: Carnal Passions (A division of Champagne Books)
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Genre: Historical, Suspense
Other: M/F, BDSM, M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Bittersweet
When his younger brother is summoned to Versailles, Vicomte Frederique de la Tour decides to intervene and takes his place. King Louis’s XV court is stunned when instead of a lad, the legendary spy, known to his underworld associates only as The Wolf arrives.
Lady in Waiting Hélène d’Ètoilles’ life has been serene: Serve Her Majesty the Queen of France with grace and obedience. Now her life and her sense of self are in turmoil when she discovers she’s been gifted to a nobleman for his family’s loyalty and years of service. No longer a lady in waiting to the Queen of France, she’s thrown into a world of subterfuge and passion, of lust and power.
Intrigue, spies, ample skirts, corsets, riches, power, France, Versailles, courtiers, mistresses, love and sizzling sex: a dangerous combination of elements expertly drawn out by Patricia Bates in her novel The Viscount’s Prize.
The main characters are well constructed and they easily seduced me into the story. From the almost flawless Frederique, who is harsh or sweet when it is needed, to the temperamental Hélène, who demonstrated an irritating attitude at times but ended up being a woman of not only intellect, but power, independence, audacity and courage.
However, the story has a large assortment of characters that parade through it: King Louis XV, Queen Marie, Madam Pompadour, Fidela, Elizabeth, Lumier… All of them fall perfectly into the plot. Even those that are simply passerby, such as certain spies, fit into place like a finger on a glove.
The descriptions of the rooms, the countryside, the clothes, the balls had me imagining myself in Versailles. (By the end of the novel I was feeling nostalgic that there is nothing remotely similar as to those “good ol’” historic days). The depiction of the lovemaking is also vividly crafted.
Finally, I must admit that I had to go back and reread certain parts of the novel to grasp the spying web that lay behind it all. Perhaps I just had an obtuse day, but there are still certain things which I do not clearly understand.
As a personal preference I would have loved an epilogue to the story, more than the “happy for now” we're given. Be aware, that I speak not in the sense of the characters, which find true love in each others arms, but in the sense of the scheming around them which has no boundaries.
Nevertheless, The Viscount’s Prize is a hot and delightful read for anyone enamored with 18th century France and the game of love and power.