Today, July 14, marks Bastille Day, commemorating the major event that ushered in the French Revolution. It’s celebrated by the French as Fete nationale or the national day of France in which they celebrate their unity and peace. I read that this year, President Macron has also decided to celebrate all their frontline and essential workers during this Covid crisis, which is fantastic.
In celebration of Bastille day, I’m showcasing the cover reveal for New York Times best-selling author Stephanie Dray for her next book (coming in March 2021) called THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE. I’m very fond of Stephanie as a person and as an author so I’m pleased to do so, and as well, I’m very excited for this book! Isn’t the cover gorgeous? I love it. Check it out and read about the book below. I know if you’re not already excited, you will be now as well! Let us know what you think in the comments.
I’ve always loved reading about Marquis de Lafayette and we’d not quite be America without him! If by chance you don’t know of him, he fought with the American colonists against the British in the American Revolution. More than that, he was a mastermind and one of George Washington’s closest friends (Lafayette was very young when he came over to fight during the American Revolution, and an orphan, and so it was more like a father/son relationship). His idealism helped spark France into the French Revolution after he returned. There is a reason so many places in America are named after Lafayette, because he was a hero. In Lafayette Square, which is the beautiful park located in Washington D.C. at the White House, is a cool statue honoring his legacy here. My son, who goes to school at George Washington University nearby and studies American Revolution and Colonial History, often studied and ate lunch near it before Covid sent him home to us for safety. He is also a huge Lafayette fan, and truthfully, made me open my eyes to learn more about him myself. I loved hearing and seeing photos as he took in all around him, including all the inspired French architecture!
Now, with Stephanie’s book, I’m looking forward to reading and learning about the woman in Lafayette’s life, their time in France during the revolution, and the intertwining of generations of women experiencing wartime scenarios and the decisions they had to make as well. I will never tire of reading these women’s stories because to me, they are truly heroes as well.
About the book –
An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity’s darkest hours.
Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women…
A founding mother…
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.
A daring visionary…
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing – not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.
A reluctant resistor…
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.
Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.
THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE by New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray (Berkley hardcover; on-sale March 30, 2021).
Q & A with Stephanie Dray –
This of course is not one of my original interviews but upon reading it from the Berkley publicist, I decided I must include it for my readers as Stephanie’s answers give you such a good point of view of where the book is coming from. Hopefully, I’ll have a lengthier interview with her next year!
What made you fall in love with Adrienne Lafayette and why do you think readers will fall for her as you did?
Thanks to a popular musical, the Marquis de Lafayette is known to a new generation as “America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman”- and there’s good reason for that. He’s easily the most lovable of our Founding Fathers, and his wife, whom he called his dear heart, is just as lovable if not more so. Adrienne was our French Founding Mother, so right up my alley as a heroine, but at first I worried she was too sweet, devoted, and forgiving. In short, too gentle for a novel. Little did I realize that more than any other historical heroine I’ve ever written, Adrienne fought and sacrificed for her principles, courageously threw herself into danger, confronted tyrants, and endured trials that would have broken lesser mortals. She truly humbles me, and when I talk about the Lafayette legacy, I think of it as every bit as much hers as it is his.
How long did it take you to write this book? Did the story evolve as you researched, or did you always know you wanted to take on the lives of these particular women?
I was always interested in Lafayette – an interest that grew as Laura Kamoie and I co-authored America’s First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. I think I had the germ of the idea for a Lafayette novel at least seven years ago, but I had other projects in the way. And I was always in search of an angle that would be fresh and unique. That came to me when I discovered that Lafayette’s castle in Auvergne, which had been purchased and renovated by Americans, served to shelter Jewish children from the Nazis. Knowing how deeply the Lafayettes both felt about religious freedom, I knew this would have pleased them, and it touched me. I was then determined to know which Americans had purchased the chateau, and when I found out, yet another glorious chapter in the Lafayette legacy was born. That’s when the story took shape for me about one special place on this earth where, generation after generation, faith has been kept with principles of liberty and humanity. I find that very inspirational, now more than ever.
The book is centered around Lafayette’s castle, the Château de Chavaniac, and the pivotal role it played during three of history’s darkest hours—the French Revolution and both World Wars. If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) at Chavaniac, who would you choose and why?
Believe it or not, this is actually a difficult choice because so many incredible men and women passed through those doors. I’d have to start with the Lafayettes–though I hope they would not serve me pigeons, which were a favorite at their wedding banquet. To join us for dinner, I’d choose the colorful stage-star of the Belle Epoque, Beatrice Chanler, because she was a force of nature without whom Chavaniac might not still be standing. Actress, artist, philanthropist, decorated war-relief worker and so-called Queen of the Social Register, she was as mysterious as she was wonderful, and even after all the startling discoveries I made researching her larger-than-life existence, I have a million questions about the early life she tried so hard to hide. I can’t wait for readers to meet her!
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Stephanie Dray, Biography –
STEPHANIE DRAY is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction.
Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year.
Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.