Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult-Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 1, 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From her earliest days, Genevieve Gravois has known one fact above all: Francis I, king of France, is her enemy. Raised by her embittered aunt after her parents' deaths, Genevieve has been schooled in things no woman should know: how to decipher codes, how to use a dagger and a bow, and how to kill. For Henry VIII has a destiny in mind for the young girl--as his most powerful and dangerous spy. When the time is ripe, Genevieve enters the magnificent world of the French court. With grace to match her ambition, she becomes maid of honor to Anne de Pisseleau, King Francis's mistress. Yet neither the court--which teems with artistry and enlightenment as well as intrigue--nor Francis himself are at all what Genevieve expected. And with her mission, her life, and the fate of two kingdoms at stake, she will be forced to make deadly decisions about where her heart and her ultimate loyalties lie."

As a child, Genevieve learned that her enemy is Francois, the King of France.  She has been told that he is responsible for her parents' death and in turn, she make it her life's work to avenge their death.  Her aunt raises her to be unconventional.  She learns how to read and decipher codes, how to hunt and kill, and how to shoot an arrow expertly all while masking these talents with innocence, charm, and beauty.  Henry VIII enlists her as a spy in the French Court and she becomes a maid of honor to the King's mistress.  During her time at the French Court, she is put into many compromising situations and difficult circumstances; however, she must remember why she is there in the first place.  Donna Russo Morin's To Serve a King is an exciting tale that transports readers to a world full of opulence, deception, and suspense.  Fans of historical fiction will love living in this exciting world!

The heroine of the story, Genevieve, is before her time.  She possesses the ability to shoot an arrow with the best of them and also exude charm like the other courtiers.  Clearly, she is the perfect combination of feistiness and beauty.  She is not just a pretty face at court and part of the fun is how, initially, many people underestimate her. 

Also, Russo Morin brings the time period to life through her her descriptions, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Whether she was describing a fancy dress, a specific setting, or the furniture in a particular room, it was extremely vivid. 

I am mostly familiar with stories involving the Tudors, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about the French Court.  Russo Morin recreates the French Court, which is just as fascinating as the Tudor Court.  I really liked how she incorporated many famous figures into the plot, such as Nostradamus, which made it even more historically accurate.  Being familiar with Tudor history and lately, a bit bored by many books focusing on Henry VIII, To Serve a King was an interesting and a welcomed change.

Fans of historical fiction will love To Serve a King, because it has historical settings that truly come to life, it has a nest of intrigue, exciting romance and a lot of suspense.  Donna Russo Morin is a "new-to-me" author and I plan on checking out her other novels--The Courtier's Secret, which also takes place in France and The Secret of the Glass, which takes place in 17th century Venice. Yes, please!  There's nothing like curling up with a fascinating historical fiction when it's cold outside. It's the perfect escape!

*Pre-order To Serve a King

*Thank you to Donna Russo Morin for sending me the ARC in exchange for a review.


  1. I just started this book and am loving it already! This having been your first novel by Morin, you are in for quite a treat with her other novels :)

  2. I need to read more historical novels. Love them. :) Great review, you got me adding the book to my list. :)

  3. Sounds good! I always like finding out about new historical fiction to check out. It's been a little while since I read any.

  4. Svea- I'm glad you are enjoying it as well! I will definitely check out her other novels!

    Nina- Thanks for stopping by! I hope you do get your hands on a copy!

    Juju- Thanks so much!

    Leanna-I hope you get to read some historical fiction soon. Thanks for visiting!


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