This past weekend, I happened to finish an extraordinary book titled, “Ribbons of Scarlet” A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women by Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb, and the forward by Allison Pataki.
I first discovered Stephanie Dray when I read America’s First Daughter, a fantastic biographical, historical fiction piece about the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. So when Amazon recommended this book she collaborated on, I decided to give it a try.
First of all, I simply could not put this book down. It was incredible. The way the authors were able to cover a wide variety of women in different socio-economic situations, as well as piece together the entire revolution. The brilliance and ability to share historic facts and create such a compelling narrative was simply outstanding.
There are six different characters that the authors introduce you to. There is Sophie de Grouchy, an aristocrat, that wants to see equal rights not just for women, but for everyone in France. There is an interesting love story attached to her and guess who her crush is? None other than Lafayette! You will also meet Louise Ardu, a fruit seller that becomes a student of Sophie’s. Louise reminds me of the rough-neck girls I went to high school with. Smart, feisty, and not afraid of anything. You will even get to peek into Princess Elizabeth’s take on all of the political upheavel. (She is the King’s pious sister.) She wants to be a nun, is 100% a royalist, and is not a great fan of her sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette.
There is Manon Roland, one of the most prolific writers and ends up being the ghost writer of her husband, Jean-Marie Roland de la Platièr’s, speeches. She is not exactly a royalist and not exactly a revolutionary. I could relate so much to her – a true Independent Moderate. Where we differ is how incredibly brave she was.
You will also meet Pauline Leon, a woman who owns a chocolatier and is blood thirsty and a true-blue revolutionary. And one of my favorite characters is Charlotte Corday. Strategic and her story flows almost like the visions of Joan of Arc. Then there is the beautiful Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe, who is capable of turning any man’s head. Unfortunately, she turned the head of the fearsome Robespierre and that did not end well for her.
OMG… you have to read this book. Even if history is not your thing, this book about the French Revolution is so incredibly timely. With the state of our nation and with women’s rights and factions trying to gain control. Between our protests and their protests, you will feel like you understand what the French were going through.
Give Ribbons of Scarlet a try. I think you will be very pleased!