A singular new voice in historical fiction. A time of decadence in a country embroiled in revolution. An unforgettably high-spirited heroine. Set in opulent, decadent, turbulent revolutionary France, "Mistress of the Revolution" is the story of Gabrielle de Montserrat. An impoverished noblewoman blessed with fiery red hair and a mischievous ...
A singular new voice in historical fiction. A time of decadence in a country embroiled in revolution. An unforgettably high-spirited heroine. Set in opulent, decadent, turbulent revolutionary France, "Mistress of the Revolution" is the story of Gabrielle de Montserrat. An impoverished noblewoman blessed with fiery red hair and a mischievous demeanor, Gabrielle is only fifteen when she meets her true love, a commoner named Pierre-Andr? Coffinhal. But her brother forbids their union, choosing for her instead an aging, wealthy baron. Widowed and a mother while still a teen, Gabrielle arrives at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in time to be swept up in the emerging cataclysm. As a new order rises, Gabrielle finds her own lovely neck on the chopping block?and who should be selected to sit on the Revolutionary Tribunal but her first love, Pierre-Andr?. . . . Replete with historical detail, complex and realistic characters (several of whom actually existed), and a heroine who demands?and rewards?attention, "Mistress of the Revolution" is an unforgettable debut. A stunning new talent in historical fiction makes her debut with a novel perfect for readers of "In the Company of the Courtesan" by Sarah Dunant
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The book is based upon true events of the French Revolution. Many of the characters are inspired by historical figures.
The story centers on Gabrielle de Montserrat, born of noble blood. Her mistake was to fall in love with a commoner, Pierre-Andrè Coffinhal. Throughout the story, I tingled with excitement as I thought I knew what was going to happen next. This was all a vain attempt on my part, as the author surprised me with each new twist.
Gabrielle?s story is a fictional memoir, told in her own voice as she recounts her life beginning when her brother and guardian, Gèraud de Monsterrat, Marquis de Castel, brought her to live with him. Later on in the story, after meeting and falling in love with Pierre-Andrè Coffinhal, her brother finds out and she is forced into a marriage with a sadistic husband.
Her life has many phases, one of which will lead her to Paris where she will again meet Pierre-Andrè. During this time, France is unstable, on the brink of political and social upheaval. The decisions she made seemed the best at the time, but even towards the end, she wondered what would have happened if she had decided differently. It?s something I am still pondering over.
The author should be commended her display of realism. This book took me so far into the story that I completely forgot about my own life. Luckily, we are on spring break and I have some free time. Oh, let me warn you now, although it might be tempting to read the last few chapter to see what will happen in the end, DON'T! I am one to talk since that is what I usually do. For some reason, I didn?t in this book. I guess I was so busy reading that I forgot. Anyway, I?m glad I didn't as it will ruin the book.
Mar 3, 2008
FINE DEBUT NOVEL
THE HEROINE, GABRIELLE, AN ARISTOCRAT, FALLS IN LOVE WITH A COMMONER, PIERRE-ANDRE, ABOUT 5 YEARS BEFORE THE REVOLUTION. OF COURSE, HER FAMILY OBJECTS AND MARRIES HER OFF TO A MUCH OLDER BARON. THE REST OF THE NOVEL RECOUNTS HER ADVENTURES AS A WIDOW, A LADY IN WAITING AT VERSAILLES AND DURING THE REVOLUTION ITSELF. FIRST TIME NOVELIST, CATHERINE DELORS, HAS A FINE COMMAND OF HISTORICAL INCIDENTS AND PERSONAGES BUT DOES NOT SACRIFICE FINE STORY TELLING. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-11-26 Against the backdrop of the leadup to the French Revolution, Delors's mostly successful debut follows the life of Gabrielle de Montserrat, a feisty young woman forced by her meddling brother to forsake her commoner true love and marry the Baron de Peyre, a wealthy, older man. The baron is abusive and cruel, but the short-lived marriage produces a daughter before the baron dies. A widowed Gabrielle travels to Paris and enters the heady world of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, where, with a sparse inheritance and the responsibility of a young daughter, Gabrielle becomes the mistress of Count de Villers. Delors shines in her portrayal of the late 18th-century French women's world (she has a rougher time with the men), though the amount of political-historical detail covered overshadows the tragic love story that develops once Gabrielle reunites with her first love, Pierre-Andre Coffinhal, who is now a lawyer. The appearance of historical figures sometimes comes off awkwardly (as when Gabrielle meets Thomas Jefferson or has a private audience with Robespierre), and the ending is marred by a too-convenient and seemingly tossed-off twist. Nevertheless, the author ably captures the vagaries of French politics during turbulent times and creates a world inhabited by nicely developed and sympathetic characters. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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