By Laura L. Sullivan
Author Website: lauraleesullivan(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
She was the greatest nemesis of d’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers–but Milady de Winter was so much more than just a villain in their swashbuckling adventures.
I’ve gone by many names though you know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess, seductress, a secondary player in The Three Musketeers story.
But we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong.
So before you cast judgment, let me tell you of how a girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. A target for antipathy, a name whispered in fear or loathing.
I don’t need you to like me. I just need to be free.
It’s finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn’t tidy or convenient, but it’s certainly more interesting. (Goodreads)
Milady by Laura L. Sullivan tells the story of Clarice, Lady de Winter, and how she came to be the villainess, seductress, and antagonist to the infamous Three Musketeers. We all know there are two sides to every story, and Sullivan turns the classic tale on its head. Readers follow Clarice’s idyllic childhood, rough coming of age, loves, betrayals, and secrets – everything that shapes her into the notorious woman she becomes. It is a fun diversion from the stresses of the real world.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Clarice’s story, but apparently I do not remember as much about Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers as I thought. I felt like I was missing important information at times. This did not ruin the book for me, but it was frustrating. My fault, not Sullivan’s. The book is obviously well researched and thought out. In fact, the writing is quite beautiful. I found myself stopping to reread sentences here and there because they were so striking. The pace is generally pretty steady though there are bits that do drag a little.
It takes some terrible life experiences to turn someone bitter and so vengeful, and Clarice definitely comes up against more than her share, but it never feels over-the-top. She is young and naïve at first, but her training as a spy and the betrayal and lies of those closest to her harden her. She is not the most likable protagonist, but it is not difficult to feel sympathetic to her plight. At a time when women were essentially property, I particularly enjoyed the moments when Clarice is especially clever and those she targets really get their comeuppance.
Milady is quite the adventure, and I heartily recommend it to fans of The Three Musketeers and readers who especially enjoy a strong protagonist and plenty of intrigue and revenge.