STEPHANIE DRAY, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE, RIBBONS OF SCARLET, AND AMERICA'S FIRST DAUGHTER.
May 3, 2021
1. Julieta Almeida Rodrigues's Review, The Women of Chateau Lafayette (May 15, 2021):
My heroine of The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray is Adrienne de Lafayette, the wife of the famous Marquis. I have come across the life of the Marquis de Lafayette countless times - but until I read this book it had never, ever, occurred to me whom his wife might have been or what she might have done.
This is a dazzling novel, where I learned again and again that behind a brilliant man there is often a brilliant woman. Not a cliché! The marquis married the young Adrienne de Noialles when they were both adolescents, an arranged marriage as was the case for nobles during the Ancient Regime. Dray entices us to see, step by step, how the arrangement turned into love, love into mutual support for the cause of Liberty, and how their close conjugal bond survived through the good and bad times. Adrienne voluntarily joined her husband in his Austrian dungeon, faithful to their shared ideal to the bitter end.
This is a love story I wouldn't want anyone to miss! Adrienne is rightly called a founding mother of both the United States and France, a revolutionary woman in her own right. The women of Chateau Lafayette (and there are several, enigmatic and worthwhile knowing), blend the past, the present, and the future into one fine thought: there is a beaming light, somewhere, somehow, if only one understands how certain historical figures, and particularly "les femmes Lafayette," conducted their own lives.
2. Julieta Almeida Rodrigues's Review Ribbons of Scarlett (September 3, 2019):
Brilliant! More than a novel of the French Revolution, I see Ribbons of Scarlet as a collection of short stories with interwoven characters. Dray, Webb, Perinot, Quinn, Knight, and Kamoie – the Scarlet Sisters! - entertain us with tales of the French Revolution in which women are major threads in times of upheaval. Red threads, fiery threads. The authors bring forth the flame of revolutionary France with female protagonists who make history by transcending themselves in both life and death.
Like the events narrated, the descriptions are passionate, exhilarating, and terrorizing. It was Thomas Jefferson, in Paris at the time the Bastille was taken, who said the spilling of blood was necessary and justified to end the Ancien Regime.
Soon, the French Revolution spread well beyond its borders, extending its wings throughout Europe. In the Kingdom of Naples, I describe in A Most Unusual Request (my debut novel, forthcoming) how Eleonora Pimentel – The Jacobin Marquise – writes from prison on the impact French revolutionary thinking had on her own life. She followed, of course, Olympe de Gouges and Madame Roland to the scaffold.
The lessons learned from Ribbons of Scarlet inspire us to reach greater heights in our own work. Is there a better way to enjoy a book, empower the writer within, and have fun revising the past?
Writing is a lonely enterprise. Thus, I have asked to join History 360: The Historical Fiction Collective.
Author's Note: Eleonora and Joseph. Passion, Tragedy, and Revolution in the Age of Enlightenment had a tentative tiltle before publication (A Most Unusual Request).