The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray is, simply put, a tour de force! Reading a book (and, I expect, writing a book) with two timelines is hard enough sometimes but three eras, three women, and three wars?! I cannot imagine the hair pulling involved in getting it right. But boy, did she ever. There was never a time when I was reading about Adrienne, The Marquis de Lafayette’s wife, or New York socialite, Beatrice, or Marthe, the school teacher and artist, where I was confused about who I was reading. Several try writing this type of book, but few have ever done it as seamlessly as Stephanie has here.
Reasons I like this book:
French history — I will never get tired of reading it and it comes to dazzling life in this book
I love that the central theme, and what brings the three women together, is a place — Lafayette’s castle
Often, history only tells the story from the male point of view. Much more often, the women behind the men have as interesting a story and this book brings them to the forefront
The development of the fictional character, Marthe, is as strong as the two others and she became real to me
Book Quotes: “As my fingertips slipped over the gold hilt of the (sword) from America — a gift from a grateful new nation — I wished to stand and fight, wielding it in protection of everything and everyone I loved.” (Adrienne)
“How long we clasped each other under that tree, I couldn’t say, for the clock of the universe now ticked to the time of our beating hearts.” (Beatrice)
“I think that if I ever carved him, I’d use a hard wood, with rough cuts, leaving some bark to show the texture of the soul.” (Marthe)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Similar books you’ll enjoy: Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
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Thank you Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for an ebook copy of this book. Thoughts are my own.