A Versailles Christmas-tide

December 11, 2008

A Versailles Christmas-tide

I meant to read and post about a whole lot of Christmas stories before I go on vacation, and I may yet, but schoolwork has got in the way, and so far the only one I’ve finished is A Versailles Christmas-tide, written by Mary Stuart Boyd and extensively illustrated by her husband, A.S. Boyd.

A Versailles Christmas-tide is only a Christmas story in the vaguest way. The Boyds’ son, known only as ‘the Boy’, is at school in Versailles, and his parents, who miss him very much, are eagerly awaiting his return home for Christmas vacation when they receive word that he has scarlet fever and is stuck at school. They rush to his bedside and end up spending the rest of the winter in Versailles. They are only allowed to visit the Boy twice a day, and they spend the rest of the time walking around the town, visiting the palace, and, apparently, stalking the people who eat lunch at their hotel.

It’s a nice enough book, I suppose. There were some pretty good bits — the preparation of a Christmas tree for the Boy, the story of Marie Leszczyńska, wife of Louis XV, and a bit where they get to look at a secret stairway Marie Antoinette used to escape Versaille. But mostly there was either too much information about the boring things and not enough about the interesting ones. And the pictures were pretty nice, but not wonderful.

Storm Warning

Perpetual Motion

Meal Considerations

Private Boxes

Snow in the Park

The Secret Stair




  1. Hi

    I have just been following your blog recently.
    Btw these sketches somehow remind of the illustrations in Sherlock Holmes

  2. They’re a similar age to some of the Sherlock Holmes illustrations, so there’s a certain similarity in style, but these ones verge on caricature. I haven’t actually looked at Paget’s Holmes illustrations in a while –maybe I should.

    Glad you’ve been following the blog — hope you stick around :)

  3. Yes i will..have added the blog to my google reader.
    happy new year btw!

    • Happy New Year!

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