I have saved one of the bests for last. This is the novel that made me want to read more about the French Revolution. Mistress of the Revolution: A Novel by Catherine Delors is a superbly written epic novel. The characters are well-written, the storylines gripping, and rich descriptions flow througout its pages.
This is the story of a young noblewoman, Gabrielle de Montserrat, who makes the dreadful mistake of falling in love with commoner Pierre-Andre Coffinhal. Her brother forbids their union and forces her into a marriage to an aging and wealthy cousin who mistreats her.
After the sudden and unexpected death of her abusive husband, Gabrielle goes to Paris to make a life for her and her young daughter, Aimee. As the threat of revolution hangs overhead, Gabrielle becomes a kept woman and a lady in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. When Gabrielle is faced with the guillotine, she reaches out to Pierre-Andre, who had fled to Paris to become a lawyer when he was denied her hand in marriage. The two lovers search for a way to hold onto each other, as violence swirls around them; pulling everyone and everything into its grasp.
Told in first person by Gabrielle, this is a powerful story of forbidden love. I remember the late nights I spent staying up to read just one more page--which always turned into at least ten more pages. I couldn't put the book down, and as soon as I was done, I wanted to read it again.
The paperback version of Mistress of the Revolution is due out at the beginning of March, so make sure you stop by Amazon.com and pre-order a copy. You can also find out more about the book and its author at http://catherinedelors.com/