books that make you go hmmm...

Here's another non-fiction novel set in France during the Revolution that looks interesting.  Please note that this is the UK version, released on March 5.  It will be released in the States on June 30, 2009.

Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie De La Tour Du Pin and the French Revolution by Caroline Moorehead

Born Lucie Dillon, to a half-French mother and an Anglo-Irish father, her world was Versailles and the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She married a French aristocrat, and narrowly survived the French Revolution, escaping to America at the time of Washington and Jefferson. Here, she lived a life of milking cows and chopping wood, having previously been accustomed to the lavish life of the French court. Returning to France prematurely, Lucie had to flee again, this time to England, where she took up sewing in order to support herself and her family. Repeatedly in the right place at the right time, Lucie saw the Battle of Waterloo, the fall of Napoleon and the return of Louis XVIII, and the Restoration.  She was an outstanding diarist and a remarkable woman, who witnessed one of the most dramatic and brutal periods of history, playing the part of observer, commentator and, often, participant. For the last years of her life she was ambassadress to Holland and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Her friends included Wellington, Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, Talleyrand and Madame de Stael. She died, aged 83, in Pisa. Mixing politics and court intrigue, social observation and everyday details about food, work, illness, children, manners and clothes, Caroline Moorehead paints a vivid and memorable portrait of an era - lasting three-quarters of a century - that saw the fortunes of France, as well as those of Lucie herself, rise and fall and rise again. Both as a witness and as a survivor, Lucie is a superb subject for an exemplary biographer.


  1. That definitely sounds like a book I'd like. Thanks for the post!

  2. Oh, I would so be interested in this book. Not only does it involve my favorite time period, but she also has Irish in her.... which always catches my attention because I have Irish in me too. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Sheila Kohler's Bluebird, or the Invention of Happiness is a relatively recent novel about Lucie Dillon. I enjoyed it.

  4. I read a book about de Stael and found it fascinating. This looks like more of the same. Thanks for the tip Amy!


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