Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors

Title: Mistress of the Revolution
Author: Catherine Delors
ISBN: 9780525950547
Publisher: Dutton/2008

Pages: 451/Hardcover

I won this book in a giveaway way bak in March and received it a while back. I seldom read romances but I am partial to historical ones. The period dramas and costumes completely hook me in. So I was eager to read this book. It is based in the time of the French Revolution and that truly makes it an interesting book.

Gabrielle de Montserrat is first brought up by a wet nurse and then in a convent. She is 11 years old by the time she returns home to her family, which consists of her brother Marquis de Castel, and her mother. Her mother doesnot seem to care for her much. But her brother loves Gabrielle in his own fashion. They are improvised although nobel.

At the age of 15, she meets Pierre-Andre Coffinhal, who is a commoner. He does have a social standing but Gabrielle's brother does not let them marry. She is forced to marry a wealthy cousin who is thrice her age. And is cruel to boot. She has a daughter, Aimee. She becomes a widow at the age of 17.

She finds out that her husband has not made any provisions for her and her daughter's future. She comes to Paris at the behest of a cousin where she meets Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Here she experiences a freedom she has not known before this. She strives to make a better life for her daughter and herself. She becomes the mistress for one of the Nobelman, Villiers. Meanwhile, France is in turmoil and now we see Pierre-Andre on the bench of the revolutionary tribunal. Gabrielle is taken to be a prisoner and almost guillotined. However, she is saved and in order to save her daughter, she reaches out for him. They redisover their love, even though it is short lived.

Mistress of the Revolution is a work of fiction but the characters in it are very much real. Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre are well known figures. Pierre-Andre Coffihnal too was a part of it. Only fictional character seems to be that of Gabrielle. This story has been narrated by her. She is writing her memoir for her children so that they know the truth about her.

A real to life work of fiction where one does learn a lot about the French Revolution, how the masses were far removed from the Royal families, how a woman had no rights, no matter in what station she was born into. And also it speaks of a world where taking a lover was so very normal. I am glad I read it. Go for it, if you want to know history of France.