Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite book review


Charlatan written by Kate Braithwaite, publisher Fireship Press is available in ebook and paperback format from THURSDAY 15th September 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)


1676. In a hovel in the centre of Paris, the fortune-teller La Voisin holds a black mass, summoning the devil to help an unnamed client keep the love of the King of France, Louis XIV.

Three years later, Athénaïs, Madame de Montespan, the King’s glamorous mistress, is nearly forty. She has borne Louis seven children but now seethes with rage as he falls for eighteen-year-old, Angélique de Fontanges. Athénaïs must do something to keep the King’s love and secure her children’s future, but how? And at what length is she willing to go?

At the same time, police chief La Reynie and his young assistant Bezons have uncovered a network of fortune-tellers and poisoners operating in the city. Athénaïs does not know it, but she is about to be named as a favoured client of the infamous La Voisin.


I’d like to thank the author, Kate Braithwaite, for an arc in return for a review.

Charlatan is a fictional historical read based on the real life revelations of the Affair of the Poisons.  I have to admit this is the first historical novel I’ve read set in the 17th century.  The story begins in Paris, 1676, with a dark, terrible mass ceremony is undertaken with words of witchcraft and sorcery and unimaginable scenes all in the name of snaring a lover.  The story continues 3 years later with the King’s Officers of the Law conducting extensive interviews, interrogations, torture and executions to try and find out the truth around the rumours of all the witchcraft conducted in the most stately of places, the court of King Louis XIV of France.

It did take me a little while to get into the novel with all the different characters but I’m so pleased I read on as I became quite fascinated by the deceit, the guilt, the greed, the lies, the witchcraft.  I was shocked by how far someone would go to greedily get what they want.  The story is quite raw and honest with some graphic historical scenes but this makes the words from the book come alive.  At the end of the book I appreciated the author’s take on the story, one that I hadn’t known about, and I enjoyed this shocking tale of events in history that you can’t quite believe happened.   A dark historical read full of secrets, greed, deceit, guilt, tragedy, witchcraft … 4/5*

I love how fiction can bring history alive …

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite grew up in Edinburgh but has lived in various parts of the UK, in Canada and the US. Winner of the University of Toronto Marina Nemat Award and Random House Student Writing Prize, she writes atmospheric historical fiction exploring dark secrets and unusual episodes from the past: the stories no one told you about in history class at school.

Her novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015.

Kate and her family live in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

To find out more about Kate Braithwaite and her work please visit the following pages:




One thought on “Charlatan by Kate Braithwaite book review

  1. Pingback: The Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite excerpt | kraftireader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.