Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Stephanie Dray | Exclusive Excerpt: THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE
Author Guest / March 24, 2021

MARTHE Chavaniac-Lafayette December 1940 “She was only fourteen when she married?” Anna asks, as she helps me cart a box of research books into the tower chamber with its crystal chandelier and abundant natural light. I’ve been telling her about what I’m learning for my new series of sketches, and she asks, “Can you imagine being ready for marriage at such a young age?” I don’t even know that I’m ready now, I almost say. I might not have accepted Henri’s proposal if not for the war. I certainly wouldn’t be taking on a project to make the preventorium over in Adrienne Lafayette’s image. And I wouldn’t have a fancy studio like this. I wouldn’t want to sculpt stone here—the dust would get into every crevice of the canopied bed and antique furniture—but it’s a perfect place to sketch. It looks like the preventorium’s president took most of her belongings with her when she returned to America in the summer of ’39—but she left behind some books on the shelf, old hatboxes under the bed, and framed photographs on the wall. The books are a mix of Shakespeare’s plays, Balzac’s novels, and Anatole France’s poetry. The hatboxes are filled with…