At first, I wasn't impressed with this book. I found the beginning of the book to be slow going and very nearly gave up. However, I am glad I perservered. The story takes place at Versailles during the period of 14-16 July, 1789 - important dates in French history. Thomas has woven a wonderful story of what life was like at the court of Versailles at this period. On the first day, with Paris 'so far away', life goes on as normal at the court, but by 16 July, chaos reigns.
This is one of the more enjoyable bits of historical fiction I've read recently. I thought difficulties at first were due to it being translated into English from its original French, but in hindsight, I think it's just the nature of the book and the slow build up to that last day. I would like to read this in French someday if I could get me a copy. (No rush, really - I'm not that proficient in French yet!)