Review: French Revolution Series by Jean Plaidy

The godmother of all historical fiction takes us back to the 18th century and into the life of “pleasure loving” Louis XV.

The French Revolution series by Jean Plaidy begins with Louis the Well Beloved. It opens with the death of Louis XIV, leaving a 5 year old Louis XV as king of France. The novel focuses on the women in his life – and there were many! Talk about a man whore…I think he would give Wilt Chamberlain a run for his money!

Louis XV even had a mansion called, Parc aux Cerfs, where he kept his very young mistresses, but he only liked to keep 3 at a time (because he said it was a nice number). What a super guy! He actually made me feel a little icky inside at times.

The Road to Compiegne picks up when Louis XV is 40 years old. After being insulted and ignored when riding through Paris, Louis declares that he will visit Paris for state functions only. He builds a road that skirts the city of Paris. He calls it the Road to Compiegne…the Parisians called it “Route de la Revolte”.

It amazed me how Louis XV avoided politics or the running of his kingdom in any shape or form. Completely disinterested. Kinda like a George Bush of the 18th century. On his deathbed he takes stock of the life he has lead and becomes saddened when realizes what his mismanagement or non-management of France has done to the country and its citizens. He is sorry to leave his grandson with a country teeming with poverty and civil unrest, but it is too late (as is usually the case with hind sight).

Marie Antionette and Louis XVI are the main characters in Flaunting, Extravagant Queen. Louis XV has just died and his grandson is left to try and put the pieces of his kingdom back together. Unfortunately, he is not very successful, even though he really does care about France. He often loved the people so much that it was to his detriment. I was sympathetic with Marie, but felt Louis XVI was too much of a wussy….at times you just wanted him to grow a backbone! 

All in all this was a pretty good series. One of the things I love about reading is feeling the connection with the characters, but I didn’t feel that here. I formed opinions of them, but don’t feel like I got to know them. I didn’t even cry at the end (which is unusual for me). Worth the read, but not one to really sink your teeth into.

Overall: 3/5


  1. I'm hoping Three Rivers Press eventually reissues all of Jean Plaidy's historicals. I've got my fingers crossed for the Plantagenet Saga. Is this series available? Or did you get it from the library? Just curious! :-)


  2. I actually purchased them through the UK Amazon. A UK publisher is re-issuing some of her books as well, most recently, the Isbella and Ferdinand series (which I haven't read yet).

  3. I've considered that also. I may need to copy you! :-)


  4. I have been collectiing Jean Plaidy books since last year, and finally started reading one of them - The Plantagenet Prelude.
    A fantastic story with loads of historical detail, very easy to follow all of the characters and I really got a good understanding of that time in history.
    Had remembered snippets from other books, but this was so well written. Now I want to read the rest in the series - think there are 12 books in all.
    Managed to find the next 2 through Abe Books - my library seems to have only the last 3 in the series.


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