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Mistress of the Revolution: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, March 3, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Reprint edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451225953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451225955
  • ASIN: B003156BMC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,726,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lilly Flora VINE VOICE on March 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The French revolution is one of those eras in history that it seemed like I would never understand. There were too many political twists, too many people involved, and too many perspectives on the whole thing. This novel, "Mistress of the revolution" went a long way in helping me to understand this complicated and horrible time in history.

Gabrielle is only eleven years old when her brother the Marquis de Castel takes her from the convent which is educating her and brings her to her family home and to her mother for the first time since she was born. Raised by country peasants and nuns, Gabrielle is kind and takes her mothers consent criticisms in stride along with her brother's increasingly strange attentions. But when she falls in love with a local man she sees a chance to escape.

But this is not in her cards. Gabrielle is married off to an older cousin who abuses her in his quest for an heir. Upon his death he leaves her and her daughter destitute and with no where to go until a kind friend reminds her of a distant relation in Paris. In the city of lights she flourishes but still needs a means to provide for herself and her daughter. Work is out because of her social status and marriage is out because of her lack of funds leaving her only one option-become a wealthy man's mistress.

But the time of the French revolution, the great terror is fast approaching and Paris is becoming a turbulent sea of politics. Can Gabrielle, a noble woman, a kept woman and a young mother survive the coming storm on her own? Or will she need to depend on the help of an old friend?

"Mistress of the Revolution" is a first person memoir type account of one woman's experience during the French Revolution.
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Format: Hardcover
France, 1780. Gabrielle de Montserrat is a noblewoman -- one with no money and therefore no dowry. She would have to be the best at everything else to land a great marriage. But her family finds her lacking in every sense. She had once trusted her brother, until he does unspeakable things to her. When she falls in love with Pierre-Andre, she feels her life has meaning. And when her brother, who has absolute power as his sister's guardian, forces her to marry an aging but wealthy man, takes that away from her, Gabrielle's world is shattered all over again. Gabrielle has no idea what fate will deal her when she arrives at the court of Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. In the midst of the French Revolution, Gabrielle will have to decide whether to do what is expected of her or follow her heart, even if it means facing the guillotine.

The other reviewers will probably disagree with my review, but I like to give an honest opinion on what I read and my perspective will be somewhat different from the other reviewers on this page. The story is well written and the historical aspect is dead on. I was impressed with that aspect of Mistress of the Revolution. However, I thought the story was somewhat boring and I had a hard time getting into it. The first-person narrative didn't help. It somehow didn't work for me. Gabrielle's brother is disgusting and despicable, and there are other characters that will make you hate them here as well. The star-crossed romance between Gabrielle and Pierre-Andre is also kind of nice, and the backdrop of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution is done well, but none of these things makes up for the fact that, as a whole, this novel is simply not engaging enough.
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2 Comments 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than a year ago, I joined an online group of readers who focused on historical novels. Through them, I have found a renewed interest in fiction and nonfiction set in the past, and have happily discovered some new authors to try on.

One of these was newcomer Catherine Delors. Her novel, Mistress of the Revolution may at first appear to be not much more than yet another novel set during the fall of the French monarchy, and the rise of the French Revolution and all of the adventure that would create. It's proved to be very fertile ground for novelists, and in recent years, there has been a real upsurge of interest in the period. Sadly, most of what gets published is not much more than trite modern romance dressed up in fancy clothes, and where authors betray their own lack of research with every word that their characters utter. And these sorts of novels were what have caused me to loose interest in the genre, swamped as it is with heaving bosoms and too perfect characters.

So it was with some trepidation that I ordered this from Amazon. But once I started reading, I was in for a very pleasant surprise. The story starts in a rather classic way, with a young girl of eleven being suddenly called home to the family chateau from a convent. Gabrielle de Montserrat is fresh and lovely, and just a bit on the determined side. While she knows that she has a duty to her family and class, there's a part of herself that aches to move beyond the constrants of her existance. If she just knew what they were.

Four years pass, with Gabrielle running wild, enjoying the company of her elder brother, the Marquis de Casel, and chafing under the restrictions of her rather cold-blooded mother.
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