Hearing rumors of his daughter Diane's extraordinary beauty, the charming but profligate comte de Fautrière removes the thirteen-year-old from her convent school in the provinces and takes her to Paris. Blossoming in the fashion and excitement of life at court, Diane captures the roving eye of the King himself and seems balanced on the brink of a fabulous career that could save her family's fortunes. But it takes more than a beautiful face to negotiate the intrigues of court. Caught between the desire to please her father and friends and her own awakening passions, she plays at love with a handsome Swiss baron and is drawn into a dangerous infatuation with a nobleman whose prospects are no surer than her own. Diane struggles to become something other than a pawn in other people's games but not playing by the rules will have consequences more serious than she can imagine.
Drawing on the unpublished memoir of an eighteenth-century countess whose spectacular beauty seemed to promise a charmed life, the haunting story of Diane de Fautrière unfolds among a fabulous cast of characters in the licentious, debauched world of the court of Louis XV.