The death of her father and the disappearance of her white stallion set the stage for Louise de la Valliere (1644-1710), or Petite as she is affectionately called, to become a maid of honor in the glittering court of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1638-1715). Petite is pretty, athletic, pious and loveable and soon draws the eye of the King, married for political reasons to the dreary, dowdy Marie Therese of Spain.
As Petite and the King carry on a clandestine affair, the intrigues of the court simmer around them. Petite secretly bears Louis four children, two of which die in childhood and two of which are eventually legitimized. Making the affair public and legitimizing the children has it’s consequences and sadly Petite is the one that is forced to make the sacrifices.
The book centers around Petite’s struggle to reconcile her guilt over her role in the death of her father and her adulterous affair, with her devotion to God and desire to live a pious life. We grow to love Petite and wish the best for her, but sadly, as intrigue swirls around her we come to realize her limited options in a world where being the beloved mistress of the King is not the easy life one might expect.