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Told from the distaff side

Cover of Milady
A review of Milady by Laura Sullivan

As a kid I loved the Three Musketeers (book and movies) but as an adult when I revisited the story I found my interest had waned. I think that fading interest comes from the fact that the parts for women just aren't that enthralling and in fact if you think spend any time thinking about it, their treatment by the heroes is pretty bad. That said, there was one female character who always intrigued me. She is the Musketeer's frequent antagonist, Milady de Winter. In Ms. Sullivan's re-imagining we get to experience Milady's story from her point of view. And as she tells us at the start of her story, "We all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong."

Milady, or Clarice, as she starts her story, grows up incredibly sheltered, living with her mother on their family estate. Her father is an aristocrat who has no interest in her at all until he visits one day and sees that she's become a beautiful young woman. Suddenly she has a use and he demands that she attend court so that he can use her to better his connections. Suddenly Clarice is thrust into a world of power and machinations and torn from her beloved mother. What follows is a difficult and tumultuous coming into her own, a journey that takes her from the court of King James I to a convent in France and many points in between. Along the way she crosses paths with a Musketeer or two (before they hold that title) which sets all of their fates in motion.

I'm not sure the author accomplished all that she set out to do in telling the tale from Milady's point of view, but she has written an engrossing tale of her own and one that makes me want to re-visit those three adventurers once again and root for the villain even more.

Sep 9, 2019