Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

Milady

Laura L. Sullivan

Milady de Winter is known as a villainess, seductress, and a secondary player in someone else’s tale. But now, in this take on The Three Musketeers, she finally tells her own story.

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From the glittering ballrooms of 17th Century England to the dangerous intrigues of the French court, Laura L. Sullivan brings an unlikely heroine to the page, turning on its head everything we’ve been told about The Three Musketeers and their ultimate rival.
 
I’ve gone by many names, though you most likely know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess. Seductress. A secondary player in someone else’s tale.
 
It’s finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn’t tidy or convenient, but it’s certainly more interesting.
 
Before you cast judgment, let me start at the beginning, and you shall learn how an innocent girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe.
 
Because we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong.


Advance Galley Reviews

DNF. I am counting this book as 'Read' because I got halfway through but I can't read it anymore. I hated the structure/writing style/flow/pacing. I hated the swapping back and forth in time. I wanted to like it, I really thought I would! The premise is right up my alley! But I had no desire to pick it up and every time I did, I only made it a few pages at a time. It took me 3 weeks to read 200 pages. I'm so disappointed. It looks like I'm an outlier but ah well.

This is the longest it has taken me to finish a book in years, but it's not because I didn't enjoy it. I'm surprised by how much I liked this book! If you have read The Three Musketeers, you have heard of Milady de Winter. The story was interesting and kept me entertained. I liked that the story alternated between how Milady got her start and the end of her career as an incredible spy. If you enjoy historical fiction, this book is worth a read!

I liked it for the most part. It definitely had its flaws but it was mostly enjoyable.

I generally enjoyed this book. It was a bit confusing at times though - the author not only told the story from different time periods, which was not hard to follow, but then characters changed names - from their birth name to their titles. This caused some co fusion until the very end of the story. Overall however, I would recommend it.

I cannot state this enough: I have been waiting for this book for years! While I haven't read the original Three Musketeers, I have watching the TV series and have always had a soft spot for Milady. A badass woman who's a spy and an assassin?? Um, hell yes! And (thank god), Milady by Laura L. Sullivan does not disappoint. It is the feminist retelling my heart has been calling out for. Milady is willing to do anything to protect herself and the people she loves, and she loves so deeply. Something I suspect is not portrayed in the original novel. Before I get too carried away, let's get to the review! Synopsis (from Goodreads): I've gone by many names though you know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess, seductress, a secondary player in The Three Musketeers story. But we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong. So before you cast judgment, let me tell you of how a girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. A target for antipathy, a name whispered in fear or loathing. I don't need you to like me. I just need to be free. It's finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn't tidy or convenient, but it's certainly more interesting. Milady (her real name is Clarice) has humble beginnings. Well, ok, she still lives in a huge house, but she lives with her mother, and they garden, take care of the animals around their home, help the villagers, and overall, enjoy each other's company. It becomes clear early on that her mother is teaching her how to use plants for certain purposes. Which, as you can imagine, comes in handy later in her life. But one day, her father arrives and after seeing her beauty, decides he is going to take her to court and use her as a pawn to gain favor with the King. This starts a sequence of events that cannot be undone. She falls in love with a boy who is also learning to be a spy, but he turns out to be the exact opposite of what she thought. Let's just say, she catches him in a compromising position with the King. After realizing everything he told her was a lie, she finds a another man to have fun with. But she is caught by her father and sent to a nunnery. I would have ended up in a nunnery. Lol I have authority issues. And oh the nunnery! Milady, at first, has no intention of behaving. She wants nothing more than to go back to her mother. But luckily, she soon makes a friend in another girl named Connie. (If you've read the original book, yes, this is Constance). They tell each other stories and rebel in their own way. They look out for each other and come up with a plan to escape. How are they going to escape? By tricking a man, of course! She makes a priest fall in love with her. But the plan was never needed in the first place. A boy she grew up with who isn't much of a boy anymore comes to take her back to her mother. He takes her to cottage in the forest and she's finally allowed to see her mother again. Unfortunately, her mother is very ill. But despite that, Milady is upset they couldn't bring Connie with her. She gave Connie her word that she would save her too. So, at night, she goes and grabs Connie from the convent and they escape. Unfortunately, when she gets back, Connie, Milady, and her childhood friend are separated and she ends up having to deal with the priest after all. The story of Milady's past culminates with her meeting and falling in love with Athos. But once he finds out who she really is, he betrays and tries to kill her. But, that is only half the story. The book is split between Milady's past and her present where she is the spy/assassin that we all know (and love). She must sacrifice the lives of the ones she loves and her own in order to escape from the men that have haunted her for most of her life. But do her and her friends live or die by the end of the book? You have to read to find out. Milady is by far one of the best books I've read this year. One small note: make sure you read the author's note. Laura L. Sullivan goes into certain parts people seem to gloss over in the original book and I learned a few things I didn't know. It is eye-opening. Milady is a story of struggle, fight, sacrifice, and women doing what they must to get what they want. I am giving Milady 4 out of 5 stars. I love this story. I need you all to read this book, so you can scream with me. Milady by Laura L. Sullivan comes out July 2, 2019. Thank you to First to Read and Berkley Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Three Musketeers from Milady’s Perspective In this novel, the arch-villainess of the Three Musketeers, Milady de Winter, tells her own story. She began as a simple country girl, Clarice, and rose to the highest courts in Europe. Much of the novel is devoted to her early life giving the background that made her the woman she became. Once she meets the Musketeers, the story takes some liberties with the original Dumas book. It’s good to be familiar with the story before reading this novel. The story is clearly told from a feminist perspective. Milady is seen as a clever, strong woman, who uses her beauty and brains to accomplish her ends. The novel is filled romance, murder, betrayal, spying, and palace intrigue. It is not a romance novel, although there is sex and romance. The novel is a historical adventure with plenty of action. I enjoyed the book, but was rather disappointed by the amount of license the author used in presenting the characters of the Three Musketeers. In Dumas book, they are not particularly nice people. They were representative of the fighting men of the era. In this book they become much more villainous to highlight Milady’s virtue in intriguing against them. I recommend reading the book as an historical adventure. The historical figures, like the King and Cardinal, are reasonably accurate. However, don’t try to tie the book too closely to the original Dumas work. They are told from different points of view and understandably each side presents itself in the best light. I received this book from First to Read for this review.

Milday is an ambitious novel that attempts to tell the story of Milday de Winter, the servant of Cardinal Richelieu and nemesis of d’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers. It’s summary shows that it aims to tell the well-known story from the main female character’s viewpoint. This story of Milday begins well before what is seen in Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel. Told in two timelines, the earlier timeline sets up the background of Milday. The youngest child and only daughter of the English Lord Paget, she grew up at her mother’s side at their family's country home. One day, her idyllic existence is disturbed when her father returns and decides to take Clarice back to the English court with him. There, she becomes a pawn in political games. The later timeline of the novel corresponds to the events featured in The Three Musketeers and follows the actions of Milday. As a whole, Sullivan took on a vast undertaking. In turn, this has led to mixed feelings about the novel. The parts that follow Clarice as a young woman were well-written and fully-formed. They were also full of historical details, such as about garden herbs and poisons and court life. However, the parts that correspond to the events featured in The Three Musketeers felt rushed and less developed. If someone has not read Dumas’ novel, they will be lost. Often, I felt the events were drawn out longer than needed. In the end, I was unable to finish the novel, making it only about a third of the way through.

This is not the origin story Alexandre Dumas would have written for Milady, and I consider that a good thing. This book changed the way I view the Musketeers, so I'd say she did a good job with this retelling. I felt that, though essential to the story, the part where Milady was living at the convent was slower than the rest. Thank you First to Read for the early look.

I received an ARC from First to Read for an honest review. I really wanted to like this book. Milday is an intriguing villainess and to hear her own story sounded exciting. Except she seems to be a woman that things happen to instead of one who makes them happen. There are a few events where she is the one orchestrating the plan but almost everything that happens to her is through circumstance. Instead of a story of an intriguing villain, it's the story of a poor girl who had people make bad choices for herself and when she did make choices for herself they inevitably led to tragedy. Milady has no power despite the fact that she seems to think she does. It's constantly stated how she is clever and seductive and she seems to either abhore these qualities or think they're the best things ever. I got whiplash trying to figure out which woman I was seeing and not because she was playing a part but because her personality shifted as the narrative needed it to.

Loved it! 4 stars

Milady de Winter would like to tell the truth about who she was and who she became. She also turns the heroic deeds and legendary feats of the famous three musketeers completely around so that THEY are the villains and SHE is the victim. She is the heroine of her own tale and will not be outdone. Maligned throughout history as the murdering villainess from Alexander Dumas' classic tale, she reaches out to the reader for their sympathy and understanding, believing herself used and abused by all men in her life and ultimately the hero of her own tale, rescuing herself over and over as she treads the careful line between the KIng of France, Cardinal Richelieu, his most well known musketeers and the intrigues of Paris Court or country life. The book jumps from event to event in her life, leaving a myriad of cliffhangers throughout different episodes in her life. This is cleverly done though long-winded some times and I found myself speed reading some of Milady's monologues and 'poor me' explanations while she poisons and murders her way through history. Milady is beautiful beyond compare and while in the company of numerous, desperate men, who desire her with salivating desperation, she remains 'pure' for years, outwitting them all, even her husband. The story line is a clever, intricately woven and correctly detailed but a little too long winded for me.

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan reveals the origins of Milady de Winter from Alexandre Dumas's classic The Three Musketeers. From her English country manor home to the royal, from a French convent to a quiet village, young Clarice Paget embarks on a series of adventures filled with secret motives and characters we know disguised under other aliases. Milady reminds me a bit of Kiersten White's young adult novel The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein in that it is both a retelling of a classic and focuses on a female character largely overlooked or demonized in the original. Milady just has more adult content (think sex & murder) than the latter. I loved reading Clarice's perspective and witnessing how a young girl blossomed into a fierce and formidable opponent for the great musketeers. Clarice is her own hero, and while the men in her life serve important roles, it is she who saves herself time and again. This is definitely a feminist tale, and Clarice never shies away from discussing the unsavory characteristics of men in her acquaintance. My major qualm with the book is that I feel you must have a familiarity with The Three Musketeers to understand and appreciate both the subtle references and the significant time jumps. I think part of this was done to make Milady's circumstances more mysterious, but the later events are confusing without the original work as a reference. The cover may also make this seem more of a romance than it is, while there are some romantic elements, this is more of a historical adventure. Overall, I really enjoyed this, and I think other fans of The Three Musketeers will appreciate this companion novel. I love that so many female authors are taking back the narratives of the past, and reworking them to showcase female resilience.

An interesting take on "The Three Musketeers" from Milady's perspective. Although somehow I still prefer the original!

Milady de Winter is the villainess of “The Three Musketeer”. She is a murderess and spy for Cardinal Richelieu. This book changes that story around. We get the tale of Milady de Winter. I have never read “The Three Musketeers”. I’ve seen two film versions with Milady played by Faye Dunaway and Rebecca De Mornay. A book from the view of Milady intrigued me. For my review of “Mrs. Grant and Madame Julie” I said that the author wrote a very interesting book about a boring woman. The opposite is true about this book. Milady is a interesting character, but this book was unable to interest me. I would doze off whenever I would read more than a few pages. I cannot recommend it.

If you're familiar with The Three Musketeers then you'll know who Milady De Winter is. This book tells her untold story-- and what a story it is! If you like strong heroines that overcome life's challenges against incredible odds then this is a must read. Even if you don't know The Three Musketeers story, you will still enjoy this book. And don't let the cover fool you into thinking it's just a sappy love story because it is way more then that. It is action packed with espionage and romance, murder and betrayal and a heroine that outwits them all.

Milady is a exceptional novel! You have not read something this exciting, romantic, and heartbreaking in a long time.

This book is a treasure. I enjoyed both the past and present of Milady. This book has romance, mystery, spies, murder, treason, and a powerful woman lead. What more could you really ask for? I really was swept away by this book and would love a sequel.

Not my type of book at all. Bid for it as I thought I would like to try a romance. Quickly realized I am not into conniving characters orheaving breasts. I apologize for bidding on the book

Title: Milady Author: Laura L. Sullivan Twittle:SullivanLeeIsMe Genre: Historical Fiction website:https://lauraleesullivan.com/ Berkley Books Pages:384 Pub: July 2,2019 First To Read ARC Book synopsis: One for all, and all for one woman: She was the greatest nemesis of d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers--but Milady de Winter was so much more than just a villain in their swashbuckling adventures. I've gone by many names though you know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess, seductress, a secondary player in The Three Musketeers story. But we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong. So before you cast judgment, let me tell you of how a girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. A target for antipathy, a name whispered in fear or loathing. I don't need you to like me. I just need to be free. It's finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn't tidy or convenient, but it's certainly more interesting My thoughts Rating Would I recommend it? Will I read anything by this author again? Why did.I.decided to request.this?become I absolutely love The Three Musketeers,it's one of my all time favorite classics to read and I was wondering how the author would write Milady's story . At first glance I wanted to fell sorry for Charlotte ,who seems like a young girl down on her luck but just after a few more pages I realized that this girl this Charlotte was more then she seemed to be.As for the story its told in the past and present , the writing comes to live before your very eyes as does the characters , the places., It has a well developed heroine, family intrigue, and there are times that Milady seems to have feelings but only towards her lover and friend. As for the rest of the book I wasn't sure if she was going to be able to pull off this retelling of the Three Musketeers but she did and in a way that it actually worked . Can't wait to see what else she writes , with that said I want to thank First To Read for letting me read and review it exchange for my honest opinion .

 


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