This is from the book's description:
Versailles, 1686: Julie d'Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King's Master of Horse. Tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake.
What really made me want to read this, however, is that it based on a true story.
Doesn't that sound fantastic?
However, while the story is amazing, and I really enjoyed the writing and the concept of telling Julie's story in a series of scenes set at different times during Julie's life and bound together by her deathbed confession, the structure provided a bit of a problem: because the story was told in flashbacks, we kinda knew what was going to happen. Also, the flashbacks didn't really allow for much time to develop the characters of the people she meets along the way. So, while the book describes Julie's life through a number of anecdotes, I was missing an overarching story or theme.
Still, it was a good read to learn more about Julie d'Aubigny and I enjoyed the setting of the book. In some scenes, Gardiner really made 17th century France come to life.