Tuesday, January 21, 2014

French Revolution Novel, #1

Hello, faithful believers who have held out hope that I might return someday to the blogging world! Your optimism has proven worthy, for here I am. I hope it also proves to be worth the wait!

I promise to explain my absence in greater detail one of these days, but here is the short version: a major rewrite undertaken during the holiday season and a slow recovery from illness. Bleah.

Enough of that and on to the fun stuff!

I have mentioned three of my favorite novels set during the French Revolution, all of which have inspired me as an author at some time or other. You have probably read or at least heard of all three of these books, but I will write my thoughts on them anyway!

The first ranks among my favorite novels, and I own the complete works of this author on my Nook (haven't yet read them all, but I fully intend to!). I introduce to you the amazing and marvelous . . .

Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

Description, taken from Goodreads:

Once he was André-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised by nobility, unconcerned with the growing discontent among France’s lower class—until his best friend is mercilessly struck down by a member of the aristocracy. Now, he is Scaramouche. Speaking out against the unjust French Government, he takes refuge with a nomadic band of acting improvisers where he assumes the role of Scaramouche the Clown—a comic figure with a very serious message...

Set during the French Revolution, this novel of swashbuckling romance is also a thought-provoking commentary on class, inequality, and the individual’s role in society—a story that has become Rafael Sabatini’s enduring legacy.

Jill's thoughts:

Have many of you read this story? If you enjoy adventurous historical fiction and a dashing hero, you will adore this book just like I do. André-Louis is in many ways the standard “unlikely hero” character. He is, in many ways, too good to be true, and yet Sabatini wrote him with such dash and style that I love him anyway.

When the story opens, André-Louis is a young man with very little ambition. A tragic encounter lights a fire beneath him, and he becomes a political activist, an ardent Republican, at a time when such views are dangerous. He discovers that he possesses the gift of oratory, but its rash use places his life in danger. Revenge is his driving motivation.

So he goes into hiding among a company of traveling actors. And he discovers that he possesses a gift for acting and for writing plays, adding into them a bit of political satire that again puts his life in danger. The book's title is taken from the character André plays on stage, the boastful Scaramouche. He falls madly in love with a fellow player and intends to marry her. Once again, his "nemesis" strikes, but when André-Louis seeks revenge, his enemy escapes.

His cover is blown, so he goes into hiding in a fencing academy, and (surprise!) after plenty of practice he becomes the greatest fencer alive. In order to pursue his goal of revenge, he becomes a deputy in the Assembly, but once again his attempt at revenge is thwarted.

All this brilliant achievement, yet he cannot seem to kill his enemy! Read the story to discover the layered reasons for André's frustration, jealousy, and failures--and fall more in love with him than ever!

This story ends in August of 1792, before the worst blood-baths in Paris begin, but the danger to our hero and other characters is very real. Plenty of heart-pounding action and suspense here!

Rating: Includes swearing, many violent deaths, and off-scene sexual implications. However, our hero is a moral and upstanding young man.

Try it! You won't be sorry.


  1. We've missed you, Mrs. Jill!

    Ooooh, I've been wanting to read this for a while now. I certainly love stories like SCARAMOUCHE, so I'll be certain to check it out before too long!

    1. Thank you, Clara!
      Oh yes, this one is well worth reading. I love discovering new/old favorite authors!