I became intrigued by the persona of Madame du Barry after watching the movie Marie Antoinette (the one with Kirsten Dunst), where she was portrayed as crass, uncultured and completely unlikeable. Joan Haslip has done an excellent job of dispelling that mischaracterization for me. The book is a quick read and is in the end a rather tragic story of a woman who was able to use her natural beauty to eventually achieve incredible wealth.
Although du Barry was manipulated by the men in her life and basically given over to forward her family's fortunes; she was still able to remain somewhat naive and quite charming. It is also amusing to imagine du Barry using her affected lisp to draw in men, even as her beauty began to fade. Joan Haslip really brings the reader into the world of court life and all of the customs, traditions and etiquette that so ruled each courtier. It was also startling to see how difficult it was for women such as du Barry to realize that their world had been turned upside down by the Revolution until it was much too late.