From My Bookshelf – Maid for the Musketeer by Anna Klein

The author describes this book as more “fanfiction” than true fiction. The well-known title characters from Dumas’ original novel are nowhere to be found in Klein’s book. But Captain Treville and Cardinal Richelieu are major characters while King Louis makes a brief appearance in a crucial moment. The Duke of Buckingham MUST be at list a bit player in any story surrounding the Musketeers and their defense of the King. In this novel, our leading man has a couple of less-than-friendly encounters with him.

The story focuses on Gregoire de Medici and Charlotte Menard, childhood friends who were ripped apart by accusations of treason. Gregoire simply wants to escape the black cloud that hangs over his family name and make sure that his sister can secure a respectable husband. Charlotte was always too headstrong for her own good, preferring adventure and daring escapades to activities more suited for a young woman. When the story begins she is a widow who isn’t really grieving the husband she never loved. Her late husband left her with little more than debts she cannot pay and it’s unclear how she will survive on her own.

Enter Cardinal Richelieu. He offers to help both Charlotte and Gregoire if they will work for him. Someone is trying to harm the king and the Cardinal needs eyes on the inside. Charlotte becomes a personal maid to Lady Abigail, a noblewoman visiting from England. Gregoire joins the Musketeers under an assumed name, a job that gives him access to the palace where he and Charlotte can be seen talking without suspicion. And since Gregoire is in Musketeer blue, it will be harder to connect his actions to the Cardinal. But if they can pull off this job, they will both have everything they want. Or at least they will have what they think they want.

Klein has written a story that is both captivating AND a beautiful tribute to a well-known and much loved classic novel. Both Charlotte and Gregoire have to find the strength to admit painful secrets to one another and it seems as those these two may never find their way to one another for good. Both experience moments of danger and both are rescued by the other, making it clear that this mission needs both of them to succeed. From the moment they reconnect in Richelieu’s office, I completely believed that they were lifelong friends who had fallen in love and been separated by tragedy. They are both strong, resilient characters, neither of them diminished by the other. While very clearly a romance, it was also a story about learning to define who you are and who you want to be apart from family and the expectations of society. I loved absolutely everything about it.

Reading Goals for 2020

It’s no secret that I love to read. I mean I REALLY love to read. My Kindle app currently has 745 unread titles on it. (213 that I’ve already read.) Thanks to social media, I’ve discovered the fun of participating in reading challenges. Some last a few days, some a whole month, still others run for a year.

Right now, I have some year-long goals for sure. I am participating in two year long challenges that I’ve participated in before – PopSugar and 52 Books in 52 Weeks. I’ve also got some titles that are called ARCs – Advanced Reader Copies – that I am lucky enough to read and review before they are published! Granted, those tend to come with deadlines so I have to be a bit more diligent and organized when it comes to reading those. I will be participating in a year long challenge specifically to get ARCs read a reviewed. It’s called Arc Apocalypse which I find amusing. I’ll also be doing the Pageathon which is purely about counting pages and completed books! Romanceopoly is also a part of my reading plan.

There are couple of monthly challenges for January that I’ll be working on as well. One of them is called Bookish Bingo and comes from the website bookishfirst.com (which is a great place to get ARCs if you are interested!) The other is called the Backlist Bookathon and is focused on getting rid of some of those books that I’ve had on my “to be read” for a long time.

Before you worry about my sanity, let me reassure you that a number of the books on my reading list will fit numerous challenges. So I won’t have to go TOO crazy with the number of books I read.

Here’s to a literature filled 2020!