The bestselling author of `Maharanis' recreates the lives of six remarkable women who, in a time of violent revolution, leapt at the chance to exercise their considerable charm, intelligence and acumen, and make their mark on history.Germaine de Stael was an intellectual and an aristocrat, equally obsessed by politics and love affairs, who is said to have helped write the 1791 Constitution. Her fellow salonniere, Mme Roland, was a bourgeois housewife who became a fervent and influential revolutionary, until Robespierre's regime sent her to the guillotine.While female intellectuals sipped wine in their salons, their working class counterparts patrolled the streets of Paris with pistols in their belts. Theroigne de Mericourt was an ill-treated mistress when she fell in love with revolutionary ideals and became an ardent anti-royalist until a mob beating by `sans-culottes' ended her activism. The mob in question was made up of members of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, whose founder, Pauline Leon, agitated for women's rights.After the sans-culottes came the 'sans-chemises' - the glamorous (often skimpily clad) merveilleuses. Decadent Theresia Tallien combined sexual license with the secular amorality of the new Republic and reportedly helped engineer Robespierre's downfall. Her only rival for beauty was Juliette Recamier, whose elegance made her salons the most sought-after in Paris. When she refused Napoleon's advances she was exiled from the city until his fall.Writing with vigour and passion, Lucy Moore reanimates these witty salonnieres, fervent citoyennes and glittering merveilleuses to illuminate the brief, hopeful period in which the Revolution seemed to offer them the freedom they craved - and the ways in which it failed.
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Lucy Moore was born in 1970 and educated in Britain and the United States before reading history at Edinburgh University. She is the author and editor of many books including the critically acclaimed `Maharanis'. Lucy is a regular book reviewer for the Observer and the Sunday Times, she was voted one of the 'top twenty young writers in Britain' by the Independent on Sunday and featured in the Writers section of the New Statesman's `Best of Young British' issue. She lives in London.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" for the six women through whose public and private lives Moore presents a fresh history of the French Revolution. Salonnieres Germaine de Stael and Manon Roland were early enthusiasts but later paid a price (a very heavy price in the case of Roland, who was guillotined) for their moderate views. Theroigne de Mericourt and Pauline Leon sought more activist roles. One of glamorous beauty Theresia de Fontenay's romantic entanglements helped trigger Robespierre's fall, and Juliette Recamier, a schoolgirl when the Revolution began, became an icon of the next generation. Using the Revolution's progress as her framework, Moore (who also wrote Maharanis, 2004), interweaves the six women's stories to show how each helped steer or was steered by the course of events. For all their talk of equality, some of the Revolution's most fervent leaders were uninterested in, if not violently opposed to, women's rights, and Moore's subjects had to contend with this as well as with the general havoc of the time. Riveting and revelatory. REVWR
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