The Porcelain Dove
Ever since she was very young, Berthe Duvet has been maid to Adele du Fourchet, seeing her through her marriage to the duc de Malvoeux and the births of her children. Berthe knows she is jealous of the duc's place in Adele's heart, but she also knows that there is something not quite right about him, something that goes beyond her general wariness of men- he has little interest in anything except his birds, which he collects at Beauxpres. As Adele's children grow older and the alternate France in which The Porcelain Dove is set surges toward revolution, Berthe must both help her mistress and find her own place in the world.
I had been meaning to read Delia Sherman's books for some time now, and all my friends told me this was a good place to start, so I requested it at the library and then forgot about it in favor of other books. When I started it I found that it was different from what I had been expecting, but still good- the stylized language makes it a slow read. I was glad it went slowly, for I had more time to savor it- it's really a delicious book, with characters that seem real.
It is hard to say who would enjoy this book, for it has a little bit of everything: history, romance, fantasy...