Milady by Laura L. Sullivan
Berkley Books, 2019. Paperback, 384 pages.
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. Even viewing a movie or reading a youth abridged version will not help. 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.
What are your thoughts on novels that reinvent other novels, either directly or through an alternative viewpoint?
This review is based on a copy of the novel provided by the First To Read Program. The novel will be released on July 2, 2019.