Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mistress of the Revolution-Catherine Delors

Mistress of the Revolution
Catherine Delors
NAL, Mar 2009, $16.00
ISBN: 9780451225955

In the mid 1780s fifteen year old aristocrat Gabrielle de Montserrat and commoner Pierre-André Coffinhal meet and fall in love. However, her older brother rejects such a union as Pierre is beneath their lofty social status. Instead he forces his younger sister to marry the much older, wealthy, and abusive Baron de Peyre. He is cruel to his young wife; so when he dies after Gabrielle gives birth to a daughter she rejoices.

The teen widow and single mom Gabrielle arrives at the court of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. There she becomes the mistress of Count de Villers. However, soon after her arrival, the Revolution explodes in Paris. Gabrielle is arrested and faces the wrath of the Revolutionary Tribunal where lawyer Pierre-Andre, still outraged by the Montserrat scorn several years ago sits in judgment and Lady Guillotine awaits in the open for her.

Though the underlying theme is a bittersweet love story, MISTRESS OF THE REVOLUTION is much more as the plot contains a deep look at the political intrigue and machinations with the Guillotine hovering for rumored missteps stealing the show. Catherine Delors has written a strong French Revolution Era historical as Gabrielle is a great protagonist who holds the plot together while the key men in her life provide a profound look at what society allows them to do to a woman before, during, and after the Revolution; nothing changes for the second class female. Her encounters with the major historical figures circa 1789 seems unnecessary and distractingly forced yet fans of historical tales will relish Gabrielle’s adventures to avoid a date with Lady Guillotine.

Harriet Klausner

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