Publication Date: 02/02/2023 ISBN: 9781788169929 Category:

The Disenchantment

Celia Bell

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication Date: 02/02/2023 ISBN: 9781788169929 Category:




‘A shimmering, sexy, thrilling tale of intrigue and desire, and the dark paths we walk to keep our secrets safe. Bell has written a shining debut’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Dance Tree

An Evening Standard Ones to Watch for 2023 pick

Everyone connected to the court of Louis XIV has something to hide. For the Baroness Marie Catherine, it is the pleasures she seeks outside of her unhappy marriage, indulging in a more liberated existence of decadent salons and discussions with writers and scholars. At the centre of her illicit freedom is her lover Victoire Rose de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Conti, the androgynous, self-assured countess.

When Victoire’s devotion results in an act of murder to save Marie Catherine, the pair must escape from the clutches of Paris’ overzealous chief of police. As they attempt to outwit him, they are led to the darkest corners of Paris and Versailles, discovering lies, mysticism, and people with secrets they too would kill to keep. Fast-paced, opulent and hypnotically absorbing, Celia Bell’s debut is a love story to die for.

Publisher Review

This is historical storytelling at its most captivating. Celia Bell puts the body itself back in time: smells, sights, fears, sensation propel us into the epicentre of a 17th century Paris where breaking out of the prison of arranged marriage is only one of the many challenges confronting women. I couldn't put it down. -- Lisa Appignanesi, author of Everyday Madness The writing has the quality of velvet about it, so lusciously rich that it folds you into a thrilling love story ... Beautifully researched. -- Sally Gardner A hothouse atmosphere in which depravity, sensuality, and duplicity reside side by side, and Marie Catherine's plight builds in suspense as the noose tightens around her ... a bold and inspired mix of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The Crucible. * Publishers Weekly starred review * The Disenchantment is filled with rich and beautiful detail that brings 17th Century Paris to life. Marie Catherine's struggle to remain true to herself despite the restrictions she faces is depicted with understated power, and hers is a story that will stay with me for a long time. -- Elizabeth Lee, author of Cunning Women Gripping, filled with a quietly persuasive tension that kept me turning the page and beautiful, moody description, both evocative and authentic -- Crystal Jeans, author of the Inverts An authentic, stylish and absorbing portrait of 17th century Parisian courtly life, and a compelling meditation on the ingenuity and resilience of women... A masterly rendition of all that's right with historical fiction. -- Laura Carlin, author of Requiem for a Knave Skulduggery, sorcery, and a sapphic storyteller under suspicion... an opulent, unsettling journey through a world as beautifully brutal as Marie Catherine's fairy tales. Scheme with the servants and you shan't regret it! -- Nat Reeve, author of Nettleblack While this compelling portrayal of aristocratic life in 17th century France is rich with detail, it is the timeless female struggle to find and sustain a self able to withstand the metamorphoses and disguises required for survival which captivates the reader. A combination of history and fairy tale, The Disenchantment exposes unsuspected relationships and ambiguous boundaries as it follows its characters through a dream world of sorcerers and blue-stockings, servants and savants. -- Susanna Moore, author of In the Cut and Miss Aluminium: A Memoir As rankly sensuous as a twilit Parisian street in winter, Celia Bell's The Disenchantment is a rare historical novel that gets under your skin not only for its period details but for its swooning falls, without narrative safety nets, into the eternal now of deceit, desire, and the violent weather of love... Celia Bell practices both black and white magic in this remarkable first novel. -- Brad Gooch, author of Rumi's Secret

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible