From Publishers Weekly
Against the backdrop of the leadup to the French Revolution, Delors's mostly successful debut follows the life of Gabrielle de Montserrat, a feisty young woman forced by her meddling brother to forsake her commoner true love and marry the Baron de Peyre, a wealthy, older man. The baron is abusive and cruel, but the short-lived marriage produces a daughter before the baron dies. A widowed Gabrielle travels to Paris and enters the heady world of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, where, with a sparse inheritance and the responsibility of a young daughter, Gabrielle becomes the mistress of Count de Villers. Delors shines in her portrayal of the late 18th-century French women's world (she has a rougher time with the men), though the amount of political-historical detail covered overshadows the tragic love story that develops once Gabrielle reunites with her first love, Pierre-André Coffinhal, who is now a lawyer. The appearance of historical figures sometimes comes off awkwardly (as when Gabrielle meets Thomas Jefferson or has a private audience with Robespierre), and the ending is marred by a too-convenient and seemingly tossed-off twist. Nevertheless, the author ably captures the vagaries of French politics during turbulent times and creates a world inhabited by nicely developed and sympathetic characters. (Mar.)
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Cruelly deprived of her first love, poor but aristocratic noblewoman Gabrielle de Montserrat is married off to an abusive elderly baron. After her husband’s death, the young widow and her daughter are transported to Paris, where Gabrielle becomes entangled in the scandalous court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The plot thickens when Gabrielle, now the mistress of Count de Villers, rekindles the passion with her former flame, a politically connected lawyer on the Revolutionary Tribunal. Positioning her would-be lovers against the tumultuous backdrop of the French Revolution, Delors does an admirable job of depicting the tension, confusion, and volatility of an era when one false move could mean the guillotine. --Margaret Flanagan