Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: VIVE LA FRANCE
Author Guest / July 21, 2021

Bastille Day on July 14 commemorates of the birth of modern France—a process that was lengthy, violent, and controversial.  But who can resist reading stories about a country so synonymous with wine, culture, fashion, elegance, and savoir-faire, most of the tales featuring real historical figures? We begin chronologically with THE SHADOW QUEEN by Sandra Gulland.  Claude des Oeillets, a real young woman from the theatre and daughter of a famous actress, narrates a story that describes the controversy and strife during the “war of the theatres” between Corneille, Moliere, and Racine and the opposing church.  During those days, she meets the beautiful, arrogant aristocrat who later becomes Madame de Montespon, Louis XIV’s mistress and “shadow queen” of his court. Recruited years later to become Madame’s personal attendant, Claude is brought into the heart of life at Versailles—the politics, the intrigues, and Madame de Montespon’s increasingly desperate and dangerous efforts to hold on to her royal lover.  An intriguing look at the decadent court of Louis XIV from a new perspective. We move forward to the eve of the Revolution in FINDING EMILIE by Laurel Corona, that also fictionalizes the lives of real people.  Daughter of brilliant and unconventional mathematician Emilie…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Vive La France!
Author Guest / July 15, 2020

For the month of Bastille Day, I’m serving up a selection of historical fiction that captures the time just before, during, and after the Revolution. Caught in the merciless cogs of this seismic shift are four very different women, some who will thrive–and one who will pay the ultimate price for being on the wrong side of history. Beginning first with the one who loses the most, we have ABUNDANCE by Sena Jeter Naslund. Much like Sophia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette, Naslund’s book looks at Marie’s life through her own eyes. Beginning as a giddy 14-year old thrilled to be going to France to marry the 15-year-old Dauphin, completely unprepared for the vicious cauldron of political intrigue that is Versailles, Marie is dazzled by the court, who seemed charmed by her. But although she works hard to build a relationship with her husband, his failure to consummate the marriage and give France the heir it needs sours her life at court. She buries her disappointment by retreating in opulent comfort, surrounding herself with a small coterie of women friends, the Austrian ambassador–the Swedish Count Von Fersen. By the time the long-awaited children arrive, France is in desperate circumstances, with bitter…