New release! This radiant and thrilling debut follows a passionate love affair between two noblewomen who wish to free themselves from their repressive society, whatever the cost.
In 17th century Paris, everyone has something to hide. The noblemen and women and writers consort with fortune tellers in the dark confines of their salons, servants practice witchcraft and black magic, and the titled poison family members to obtain inheritance. But for the Baroness Marie Catherine, the only thing she wishes to hide is how unhappy she is in her marriage, and the pleasures she seeks outside of it. When her husband is present, the Baroness spends her days tending to her children and telling them elaborate fairy tales, but when he's gone, Marie Catherine indulges in a more liberated existence, one of salons in grand houses, forward-thinking discussions with female scholars, and at the center of her freedom: Victoire Rose de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Conti, the androgynous, self-assured countess who steals Marie Catherine's heart and becomes her lover. Victoire possesses everything Marie Catherine does not--confidence in her love, and a brazen fearlessness in all that she's willing to do for it.
But when Victoire's passion results in a shocking act of murder, she and Marie Catherine must escape from the tight clutches of Paris' eager chief of police. As they attempt to outwit him, they are led to the darkest corners of Paris and Versailles. What they discover is a city full of lies, mysticism, and people who have secrets they would also kill to keep.
By Celia Bell. Hardcover. 368 pages. Published by Pantheon, 2023.