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The Oracle Glass (1992)

by Judith Merkle Riley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6582733,224 (3.89)15
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!

"An outstanding historical novel of 17th¬?century France ... based on a real¬?life scandal known as the Affaire des Poisons, this tale is riveting from start to finish."‚??Library Journal

Her ability to see the future may prevent her from living in the present...

For a handful of gold, Madame de Morville will read your future in a glass of swirling water. You'll believe her, because you know she's more than 150 years old and a witch, and she has all of Paris in the palm of her hand. But Madame de Morville hides more behind her black robes than you know. Her real age, the mother and uncle who left her for dead, the inner workings of the most secret society of Parisian witches: none of these truths would help her outwit the rich who so desperately want the promise of the future. After all, it's her own future she must control , no matter how much it is painted with uncertainty and clouded by vengeance.

More Praise for The Oracle Glass:
"Absorbing and arresting."‚??New York Times
"Fascinating and factual."‚??Los Angeles Times
"Chilly, witty, and completely engrossing ... great, good fun."‚?? Kirkus Reviews
"Take a full cup of wit, two teaspoons of brimstone, and a dash of poison, and you have Judith Merkle Riley's mordant, compelling tale of an ambitious young woman who disguises herself as an ancient prophetess in order to gain entry into the dangerous, scheming glamour of the Sun King's court. Based on scandalous true events, The Oracle Glass brims with our human foibles, passions, and eccentricities; it's a classic of the genre and unlike any historical novel you have ever read."‚??C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Cathe
… (more)

  1. 00
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (Leishai)
  2. 00
    The Moon and the Sun by Vonda N. McIntyre (Litrvixen)
    Litrvixen: Both are set in 17th century France and deals with fantastical elements. Female protagonists who has to make difficult choices and make their way in a male dominated world.
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» See also 15 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Genevieve Pasquier is a girl crippled from birth by being born with a clubfoot,loved by her scholarly father but despised by her beautiful and vain mother who dotes on her more beautiful older sister.

She is in short an ugly duckling but a smart duckling ;)

Her father educates her and gives her books to read.

When on his deathbed he sends for her and gives her some words of wisdom.

But her mother thinks Genevieve was told where her father hid a vast fortune.But Genevieve of course dont know anything and is then put through such abuse that she has no other choice but to leave home.

While escaping she happens on the powerful society witch Catherine Montvoisin wwho proposes a deal:work for her and get revenge.

She become the Marquess, an allegedly 200 year old fortune-teller who acquired immortality through an elixir and its not long before she is popular in the aristocratic circles of Paris.

But things get dangerous when Athenais Montespan,the kings mistress,ask to get her fortune told.

It seems like Monvoisin has some darker agenda that could shake France if the plan is ever carried out.

I dont want to give to much away,but there is enough suspense so you wont get bored.And all the characters feel real and has motivation for their actions. And there is a romance but it takes a while for the heroine to realize who truly loves her.

Judith Merkle Riley has written other historicals wich ive also enjoyed but this book remains my favorite of them.
There is some horrible elements in this story(rape,occult rites,poisoning) But in the end the good prevail.

This is built around an actual event in history,the affair of the poisons.And even though the author takes some artistic liberties it stays mostly true to history. ( )
  Litrvixen | Jun 23, 2022 |
One of 3 loosely-linked historical novels (with a soupçon of fantasy) by Judith Merkle Riley, this historical novel deals with the diviner Madame de Morville (or Genevieve Pasquier).

Genevieve Pasquier is the youngest daughter of a disgraced financier (who fell with Fouquet). Growing up in a straightened household, her spendthrift mother believes her husband squirrelled away a fortune and does her best to get hold of it, murdering her husband and mother-in-law. Believing Genevieve knows where the fortune is, she threatens her life. Genevieve runs away and falls into the clutches of Catherine Monvoison, Queen of the Witches of Paris.

La Monvoison grooms Genevieve as a water diviner, disguising her as Madame de Morville, a 150 year-old cursed with eternal life. As a diviner, Genevieve makes an excellent living, coming to the attention of Madame de Montespan, who is desperate to keep the affections of the king by any means possible. Along the way, Genevieve gets mixed up with Hugenots and playwrights.

There is less overtly supernatural elements in this book, although it is suggested that Genevieve has true visions of The Terror.

Recommended.
  Maddz | Jun 24, 2020 |
While I enjoyed many of the details, it was fairly forgettable. ( )
  Tchipakkan | Dec 26, 2019 |
court of Louis 14, the Sun King. ( )
  librarygoodman | Nov 1, 2019 |
The tale of a deformed little girl, with an uncaring mother and loving father, who enters the world of witches after her father's death and being brutalized. She becomes Marquise whom all believe to be 150 year old seer and enters a life of intrigue. French politics, high society and underground world. Definitely long read, but kept pulling me back to find out where the author was going and how her story ends.
( )
  wyldheartreads | Jun 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Judith Merkle Rileyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leister, BryanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Parkes
with love
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"What, in heaven's name, is that?"
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!

"An outstanding historical novel of 17th¬?century France ... based on a real¬?life scandal known as the Affaire des Poisons, this tale is riveting from start to finish."‚??Library Journal

Her ability to see the future may prevent her from living in the present...

For a handful of gold, Madame de Morville will read your future in a glass of swirling water. You'll believe her, because you know she's more than 150 years old and a witch, and she has all of Paris in the palm of her hand. But Madame de Morville hides more behind her black robes than you know. Her real age, the mother and uncle who left her for dead, the inner workings of the most secret society of Parisian witches: none of these truths would help her outwit the rich who so desperately want the promise of the future. After all, it's her own future she must control , no matter how much it is painted with uncertainty and clouded by vengeance.

More Praise for The Oracle Glass:
"Absorbing and arresting."‚??New York Times
"Fascinating and factual."‚??Los Angeles Times
"Chilly, witty, and completely engrossing ... great, good fun."‚?? Kirkus Reviews
"Take a full cup of wit, two teaspoons of brimstone, and a dash of poison, and you have Judith Merkle Riley's mordant, compelling tale of an ambitious young woman who disguises herself as an ancient prophetess in order to gain entry into the dangerous, scheming glamour of the Sun King's court. Based on scandalous true events, The Oracle Glass brims with our human foibles, passions, and eccentricities; it's a classic of the genre and unlike any historical novel you have ever read."‚??C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Cathe

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Book description
Seventeenth-century Paris. Genevieve is a skinny, precocious girl with a mind full of philosophy and the remarkable power to read the swirling waters of an oracle glass. Left for dead by her family, she is taken in by the ingenious occultist La Voisin, who rules a secret society of witches that manipulates the rich and the scandalous all the way up to the throne. Tutored by La Voisin, Genevieve creates a new identity for herself--as the mysterious Madame de Morville, rumored to be one hundred fifty years old.
Soon, even the reigning mistress of the Sun King himself consults Madame de Morville on what the future holds for her. And as Madame de Morville, Genevieve can revel in what women are usually denied--power, an independent income, and the opportunity to speak her mind. But beneath her intelligence and wit, and in the face of unexpected love, Genevieve is driven by the obsessed spirit of revenge....
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