“Every action, every item she writes about is incorrect,” a not-fan has posted on Amazon. Now that’s not quite fair. A lot of Before Versailles is true. But then again, to be fair,  some of it isn’t. Some is conjecture; some is guess; some of it is just out and out made up.

As far as I know, the boy in the iron mask wasn’t there. But my theory is, if Alexandre Dumas can play with tantalizing historical whatsit, so can I. There was something, a man in a silk mask, perhaps an iron mask. But no one knows who he was or why he was imprisioned. Voltaire conjectured that he was Louis XIV‘s real father. And the Mazarinades are absolutely true, word for word…..however…..I don’t know if they were secretly recopied and delivered to Louis in 1661. But it made for some great intrigue and gave me a wonderful way to explain his complex and treacherous past. And as for Louis’s real father….well, Voltaire–the literary light of the 18th century– thought there might be someone else other than Louis XIII, and there’s a contemporary scholar who has brought some proof forward that it’s possible Mazarin was in Paris at the right time. And the queen and king were estranged, not for a little bit, but for years. Years. And she committed treason the year of Louis’s conception. And the king was quite ill and preferred his own sex………so, forgive me if I put two and two together and get a number that could be four. And maybe the viscount and the lovely Princess de Monaco didn’t become lovers, but in my story world they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  And I did make up the names of the pets and am most proud of Odalisque. O.K. I guess I just have to plead guilty. It’s true. I write fiction.


14 responses to “true

  1. Karleen- I am completely stunned by what this non-fan wrote. No one expects historical fiction to be completely true. The marriage between the truth and fiction is what makes the story exciting. The main characters and places all existed. How they interacted and what actually occurred, no one can know for sure and no one reads historical fiction thinking that they are going to find these things out. I wish that I had the imagination to create a chain of events with dialogue to tell a story that fits into an already defined history .

  2. Karleen- I am a lover of books. I read to be transported to places other than my own where people live lives of intrigue and mystery. I love to immerse myself in their lives, their problems and their adventures from my warm safe chair in the study. You’re books take me to those places each time I open a chapter. I have not sat down and examined the facts. I have not googled Versailles or enrolled in a French history class to verify your comments. What I do know is that when I read your books I am there..present in a world where I can smell the air in the castles and hear the music of the dance. Pity for the ‘not fans’ and their compulsion to analyze. I just loved the story! Please give us more.

  3. That’s a nut job. Did you respond on Amazon? Wait. Maybe that person was actually there, transported in time, and therefore, has come back to the present to clarify……. Amazing a person from the past knows how to post on Amazon, though………..

  4. I responded to this fool:

    “A person who does not know how to spell the word “reign” has no business calling anyone else uneducated — ever.

    Please put down the historical fiction and go back to reading tabloids before you hurt yourself again.”

  5. What I like about his stories is the fact that they are not quite real, but could be. The characters are immersed in historical facts in a way that seems to be real, makes us want to be real. And that is simply charming

    • Well, I just love this….exactly what I aim for….plausibility…..I do the research and then think about what could have happened based on what I’ve researched and what I know of human nature and my sense of the character…..thank you for spelling this out in such a “charming” way….Karleen

  6. My feelings exactly. If one wants pure history, stick to the history books. By the way, I admire your photography very much. Do you mind sharing what camera you use?

  7. marlene mesilla (brandt)

    your writings are all manignique historical fiction is historical fiction and you do a great job of filling in the the blanks. i loved the book i have read 2 books about louise de lavelliere and they had the same info as you–so a pox on whoever worte the disparaging piece.marlene

  8. All well-said everyone. My thoughts exactly! Karleen’s historical fiction is a pleasant escape to dalliances far away in time. Be damned the exact words said or chronology of events. Real life can be so narrow. A little fiction makes everything saucy!
    So I read every book as fast as I could, came away sad to be leaving such ripe characters between the pages.
    Since I LOVE your books, I plead with you to please write more! I beg for a story about Phillippe. A story about Guy. A story about Therese. A story about Hyacinthe (sorry, books are not near me… spelling may be off!). A story about D’Artagnan and all he’s seen in service to royals over the years. Oh… on and on. So many more characters to pursue!

  9. There’s a bit, just a bit, about Philippe in Dark Angels…..thanks for the kind words…..


    I LOVED the book. I LOVE all of your books. The non-fan is a “non-entity.” People are so literal. It’s virtually impossible for the Bible to be “true” having gone through so many translations, etc. That doesn’t detract from “fans” of the Bible. What about historical facts there? It’s the message, it’s the story, its the fact you create world’s and people that engage your readers. Keep your books coming. More please!

  11. I have found more often recently that everyone has an opinion, and it is most often vocalized when the individual wants to express loudly the negative. I have read your writings for years and have found myself carried away by your character depiction during time periods that I will never see with my own eyes. The truth is you do manipulate fact and color between the lines with the deft stroke of fiction. This non-fan just proves that your work mattered enough to make a comment. As one of your many readers, the non-fan can stuff it.

  12. As a reviewer I have read many reviews of people who say that so and so’s book is not historically correct. I do not agree with this philosophy, I love historical fiction for the story and how well it is written not for whether it is “historically correct”. I am not a historian and I love a well written story. I repeat what someone said, that is why it is called historical fiction.
    I read Through a Glass Darkly many years ago and loved it…

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