If You Like….

If you like books set during the French Revolution, you’ll probably like….

— Raphael Sabatini’s Scaramouche (which provided a great deal of inspiration for The Orchid Affair!) for old fashioned swash and buckle;

— Catherine Delors’ Mistress of the Revolution (and, for those curious about life a few years post-Revolution, For the King);

— Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud (a finalist for the Goodreads Readers Choice Award!);

— Iris Johansen’s Storm Winds, one of my favorite old romance novels, which covers the more tumultuous bits of the Revolution (off topic, but also excellent, check out the first book in the Winds trilogy, The Wind Dancer, set in Renaissance Italy with cameo appearances by assorted Borgias);

— Rosalind Laker’s To Dance With Kings, which stretches from the reign of Louis XIV up through the Revolution;

— Katherine Neville’s The Eight, a classic thriller which jumps between various periods, including late eighteenth century France, getting up close and personal with Jacques Louis David and other revolutionary It guys;

— Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”;

— Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution, a YA novel going back and forth between a modern teen and the French Revolution (I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR list);

— and, of course, our old friend, The Scarlet Pimpernel (and sequels!).

For some fun non-fiction about the Revolution, try:

— Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette: the Journey, for a portrait of the doomed queen;

— Caroline Moorehead’s Dancing to the Precipice, an engaging biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, who went through the Revolution and the Terror and lived to write about them (she also spent some time in New York, thus neatly crossing paths with Emma, the heroine of my Garden Intrigue);

— and Deborah Cadbury’s The Lost King of France, a fascinating debunking of the myths surrounding the lost Dauphin. (Although it is fun to imagine him rescued by the Scarlet Pimpernel, a la Orczy’s El Dorado, sadly, that was not, in fact, the case.)

What are your favorite novels of the French Revolution?


  1. jeffrey on December 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    For non-fiction, read almost any biography of The Marquis De LaFayette. His life reads like a novel because it was so wild and crazy on both sides of the Atlantic. The French Revolution almost cost him his life.

  2. Allison (Allure of Books) on December 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I bet you’ll love Revolution! I don’t love it as much as her adult historical fiction, but everything Jennifer Donnelly writes is gold.

  3. Joanne M. on December 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    La, what a coincidence! After we decorated the Christmas tree Friday night, I curled up cozily and read The Scarlet Pimpernel again.

    Juliet Grey (aka Leslie Carroll) has a proposed Marie Antoinette trilogy that looks quite good. I have the first one on my shelf but haven’t read it yet: Becoming Marie Antoinette.

  4. Stephanie on December 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I read Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud and discovered a few glaring historical errors, made all the more obvious because I was taking a class called “French Revolution and Napoleon” at the time.

  5. Am7 on December 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Daphne Du Maurier’s The Glass Blowers. It a novel based on her ancestors and it blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction. Its like fictional account of real events? Anyway I liked that she talked a lot about the conditions of the poor and not just the rich. Its been a while since I read it, but maybe I’ll re-read it. I highly recommend it.

  6. Farin on December 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Love love love “To Dance With Kings.”

  7. AmyN on December 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Lots of good ideas for new reads- I wonder if my husband has looked at my “wish list” yet? (I did enjoy The Eight)

  8. SusanN on December 12, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Sorry if some/all of these have already been mentioned, but I haven’t had time to go thru the other lists. I’ve either read or have in my TBR pile many of the ones you’ve mentioned. I’m sure I’ll come up with more must-have reading material after I do go thru the other posters’ notes. (This blog always ends up costing me money, especially on Fridays and Mondays!)

    –Joanna Bourne’s current spy series (Spymaster’s Lady, etc.).

    –Jean Plaidy’s French Revolution series (Louis the Well-Beloved, The Road to Compiegne, and Flawless, Extravagant Queen).

    –Marsha Canham’s Pale Moon Riding (kinda).

    –Daphne du Maurier’s The Glass Blowers (I don’t recall liking this much, but I read it **many** years ago so maybe I’d like it better now. Or not.)

    –Victoria Holt’s The Queen’s Confession. A long-ago read, but I LOVED it at the time.

    –Jane Feather’s Love’s Charade and Almost a Bride.

    That’s all that comes to mind for now!

    (I also apologize if this is a duplicate post–didn’t see it turn up when I first submitted. Probably too long!)

    • Mimosa on July 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      My favorite French Revolution novel is Fleur-de-lis by the Australian historical fiction writer Isolde Martyn. There’s a lot of Romance, Intrigue and Terror that kept me reading to the end.

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