Pre Revolutionary France
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Do any of you have any recommendations for historical fiction set during PreRevolutionary France?
Thank you for your input.
I recommend the Catherine LeVendeur series by Sharan Newman. It takes place in the mid-1100 in and around Paris. Peter Abelard and Heloise are featured in some of the books. They are historical mysteries set against the background of the church and the Jewish community of Paris. The first title is Death Comes as Epiphany. There are 10 in the series. Let me know what you think?
Queen Margot Dumas did a lot of historical research and several like this novel display more history than fiction.
More a contemporary novel than historical fiction, but still...
Les Bohemiens, a book nobody heard of (only 6 known copies worldwide), written in 1788 in the Parisian Bastille by A.G.L. Pelleport (in full: Anne Gédéon Lafitte marquis de Pelleport).
Robert Darnton discovered this novel in a French library. He judges it sharper and written with more literary craft than its contemporary, The Ghosts of Sodom by The Marquis de Sade.
During a 2006 KB-fellowship Darnton reconstructed the biography of the marquis and wrote an introduction for the Dutch translation of this novel, De Bohemiens.
I haven’t yet read it, but purchased it as I like Robert Darnton’s work on pre-revolutionary France.
(KB = Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Dutch Royal Library).
My favorite historical fictions set right before and during the Revolution are the novels of J.J. Regnault-Warin, an author who is currently enjoying a resurgence of interest. See his _La Caverne de Strozzi_ (An VII; 1799): a gothic tale set in Venice, where the narrator accidentally discovers a mysterious transparent message in a book of natural history on caves on the island of Strozzi speaking of a strange passion, and discovers terrible evils wrought by a powerful woman. Even better (and more widely available) is his 1800-01 best-seller, _Le Cimetiere de la Madeleine_ which details the last months of the royal family with more than 20 "pieces justificatives" to prove the author's wildly fictionalized claims on the persecution of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette by the Duc d'Orleans and his confederates. I discuss another fun find in Douthwaite, "The Frankenstein of the French Revolution: Nogaret's Automaton Tale of 1790," _European Romantic Review_ 20, 3 (2009): 381-411.
The question is unclear - just before the Revolution? Otherwise the time span is too wide.
I've recently discovered Susanne Alleyn's historical mysteries, set in Paris before and after the revolution. Her latest, Cavalier of the Apocalypse, is set in the months before the revolution and is just wonderful. She also has a straight historical ~ well, it's a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, actually, that I want to read. It's called A Far Better Rest.
She happens to be an LT author and is having an author chat on one of the threads. I'll have to go find it and post the link here, in case anyone is interested in picking her mind.
ETA link: http://www.librarything.com/topic/73137
Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades takes place in both France and England during the time of Mme Pompadour.
I've just started reading The Brethren, the first of a 13 volume series about the Huguenots in 16th and 17th century France, written by Robert Merle between 1977 and 2003, though only the first three in the series have thus far been translated into English. I'm only two chapters in but am engrossed, and thus far I think it's better written than Les Rois maudits, of which I've read the first two books.
I saw the 2005 miniseries, 5 episodes, 500 minutes.
But the first two books have some good scenes, the king hunting or the girls with their lovers at the tower.
Hmm, I've had The Iron King on my ereader for a year or more and am not sure why I haven't read it yet, except I tend to read books that I get from the library before books I actually own.
Not directly what you asked for, but I was recently quite impressed by The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. Set in 1720, it starts out in France, but most of the book takes place in the French colony of Louisiana. Quite an eye opener, as I had read a great deal about British colonies in America, and next to nothing about the French colonies. The French colonists had far different experiences.
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