Book of the Week

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Back to business...
Each Monday, I'll announce the book that I've selected as "Book of the Week," along with the winners of the previous week's book gifting. On most Thursdays, we'll be treated by a guest blog by the author. Each author will provide a short and peppy informational bit about medical or scientific history related to their work. I'll alternate between historical nonfiction and serious historical fiction.

Catherine Delors, author of
The Mistress of the Revolution, will be popping in on Thursday to talk about birth control in the eighteenth century. Be sure to have a peek at her wonderful blog: Versailles and More. You may even see someone over there you know!

Here's a bit about the book:
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-André 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

“Definitely a contender for one of the best reads of the year.”
Associated Press

“A most impressive literary debut, this outstanding novel of the French Revolution is well worth reading.”
Historical Novels Review (Editors’ Choice Title)

“Delors shines in her portrayal of the late eighteenth century French women’s world.”
Publishers Weekly

“Delors does an admirable job of depicting the tension, confusion, and volatility of an era.”

AND now: Without further ado, the winners of last week's gifting are...Jessica Franken (Putting Science in Its Place) and Mandy de Jager (The Lace Reader). I'll explain the highly scientific process I use for determining winners next week!

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