From Publishers Weekly
When her mother is burned alive for "practicing the black arts," the beautiful young Sophie Volland is racked with fear and uncertainty. She finds work in Paris's Cafe Procope, known as a meeting place for dangerous freethinkers, and meets outspoken philosopher Denis Diderot. The two are instantly taken with each other, but Diderot is married and Sophie wants security more than anything else. Diderot has taken up the monumental task of editing a Bible-like encyclopedia "containing all human knowledge," a book which, as this is the mid-18th century, is a direct threat to the monarchy and the church. Diderot is quickly persecuted, placing the lives of all around him—Sophie included—at risk. Care for him though she may, the likelihood of Sophie or any other freethinker saving Diderot grows dim. This historic tale is compelling and well written, and Prange particularly brings Paris to vivid life. Unfortunately Sophie, his heroine, is less interesting than the supporting characters, particularly the king's mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Still, fans of historical fiction will find plenty to like. (Apr.)
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"Prange's "The Philosopher's Kiss," set in eighteenth-century France, is a careful study of the origins of the Encyclopedia and the life and love of one of its creators, Diderot. Here is historical fiction at its finest--meticulously researched with superbly drawn characters, edifying and entertaining. "
--Indu Sundaresan, author of "The Twentieth Wife" and "Shadow Princess"