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Pre Revolutionary France

Historical Fiction

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Dec 15, 2008, 4:28pm Top

Do any of you have any recommendations for historical fiction set during PreRevolutionary France?

Thank you for your input.

Dec 15, 2008, 8:58pm Top

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?

Dec 21, 2008, 8:36pm Top

Queen Margot Dumas did a lot of historical research and several like this novel display more history than fiction.

Dec 22, 2008, 3:04am Top

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).

Jul 6, 2009, 8:32am Top

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.

Sep 17, 2009, 11:26am Top

The question is unclear - just before the Revolution? Otherwise the time span is too wide.

Edited: Sep 19, 2009, 3:02am Top

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

Sep 23, 2009, 7:22pm Top

Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades takes place in both France and England during the time of Mme Pompadour.

Sep 26, 2009, 11:21am Top

I've mentioned this novel a number of times on other threads; it's one of the finest historical novels I've ever read, and I am a very demanding reader: The Ivory Mischief by Arthur Meeker. Unfortunately, it's a one off.

Sep 28, 2009, 5:41am Top

The Ivory Mischief is new to me. I will check it out.

Nov 13, 2009, 3:43pm Top

I recently finished, and enjoyed, La Fée des grèves by Paul Féval. It's set in and around Mont-Saint-Michel in 1450.

Edited: Oct 2, 2017, 1:59pm Top

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.

Edited: Oct 2, 2017, 2:34pm Top

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.

Oct 2, 2017, 3:46pm Top

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.

Oct 2, 2017, 9:16pm Top

Just published, City of Crows by Chris Womersley, set in 1673 during the reign of Louis XIV, the time of the poisonings and black masses scandal. Wonderfully well written!

Oct 6, 2017, 10:46am Top

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.

Group: Historical Fiction

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