Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mistress of the Revolution” as Want to Read:
Mistress of the Revolution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mistress of the Revolution

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,814 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
A singular new voice in historical fiction. A time of decadence in a country embroiled in revolution. An unforgettably high-spirited heroine.

Set in opulent, decadent, turbulent revolutionary France, Mistress of the Revolution is the story of Gabrielle de Montserrat. An impoverished noblewoman blessed with fiery red hair and a mischievous demeanor, Gabrielle is only fifte
Hardcover, 451 pages
Published March 13th 2008 by Dutton Adult (first published 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mistress of the Revolution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mistress of the Revolution

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 05, 2007 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Mistress of the Revolution. It's a great historical fiction about a lady's life during the French Revolution. I wish I had read the book when I was learning about the French Revolution in clears up a lot of confusion. This is great for people who love historical fiction but don't want a whole lot of cheesy romance. I have my B.A. in History and am always impressed when authors such as Catherine Delors puts an amazing amount of effort to get not only the historical ...more
Amid the present plethora of bestselling novels set in the Tudor Era, there are a few gems in the historical novel genre set during France’s Ancien Régime and Revolutionary Period. “Mistress of the Revolution” is one such priceless gem. It begins in 1780 in France’s Auvergne Region with the arrival of a young girl (Gabrielle de Monserrat, whose red hair already makes her standout among famille and friends) at her family’s estate, Fontfreyde, from convent school, where she had spent the early yea ...more
Rio (Lynne)
4.5 Stars.

As an avid book reader, I love books, but rarely does a book become a favorite. This had been in my pile forever. I bought it off a $1.99 clearance rack. After seeing the movie Les Mis, I decided to break into the French Revolution pile. I also want to add that I do not tend to like historical fiction books with fictional characters. I'd rather read about real people. Well, to my surprise fictional Gabrielle locked me in from the beginning. Born into a poor aristocrat family, we journ
Ana T.
Mar 20, 2008 Ana T. rated it it was amazing
This was a difficult review to write. I enjoyed the book very much and I wanted to do it justice but sometimes there are so many things you appreciate that you get overwhelmed when it comes to writing the review.

This book reads like a memoir, the heroine is looking back on her past and telling us about her life. There are only a few occasions in which we are brought back to the present and actually know her as an old woman.

This is a book about a very sensitive period in history. The French Revol
Mar 28, 2008 Elena rated it it was amazing

"Mistress of the Revolution" by Catherine Delors possesses all the elements of the finest modern historical fiction. Beautifully written, the reader is carried immediately into the France of the past. The main characters are very human, with foibles, sins, strengths, and potential for redemption. It is obvious that the author immersed herself in the art, music, drama and literature of the time; the atmosphere of the story exudes authenticity without being pedantic. With some aspects of a contemp
Scott M.
Nov 04, 2012 Scott M. rated it it was ok
The French Revolution is a vast, complex subject that begs for epic fiction. This is not it.

The problem begins with a weak-willed, vapid protagonist named Gabrielle, who has a penchant for making bad decisions that lead to one crisis after another. She's a problem only aggrivated by a series of male characters who are, everyone, slightly unhinged, from an incestous brother to a sadistic husband to a serial-killer lover. It's a rather perplexing reading experience, because Catherine Delors is a s
Sherry H
This was a fast read, engaging, and I learned a bit about the French Revolution, which is not an era that I have read much about.

It is written as a memoir, and the fictional woman who writes it is a penniless aristocrat, a stunning beauty, a victim of circumstance, with impeccable morals and incredible courage. She is kind to the ugly, aged and odd, to whom so many others are not kind. She was a member of the court and inside the palace when King Louis and Marie-Antoinette were arrested, but wa
Apr 23, 2010 Moppet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the second year of my history degree, I had the opportunity to write a dissertation, and naturally I chose my favourite subject, eighteenth-century France. The post-revolutionary period was particularly rich in memoirs and I decided that I would analyse seven autobiographies by noblewomen. This is an extract from my conclusion:

The role of women of the eighteenth-century noble elite was in many respects strictly limited. The task to which they were dedicated by their own order was to form a ma
Rosina Lippi
Feb 04, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it
This is Catherine Delors' first novel, and I would call it a great success. I confess I was a little worried; the French Revolution has been written about so widely that it's not easy to capture the interest of dedicated readers of historical fiction. Delors pulls this off, because her character and story are strong enough to overcome background historical events that are - to some at least - too familiar. From her website, about this novel:
In 1815 England, an exiled Frenchwoman, Gabrielle de Mo
Maia B.
After reading this, I'm tempted to strongly believe that it couldn't have been good even if someone other than Catherine Delors had written it. I mean, the premise, sure, is pretty interesting, but after that the whole book is heavy and dull.

I'm not a prude. I think. I try really hard not to be one - and yet I just could not like Gabrielle. Or sympathize with her. Or even pity her. I loathed her too much.

First: the way she continually forgives everyone around her for everything. Her brother for
Apr 01, 2008 Gerald rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of history, sexual politics
Recommended to Gerald by: the author
From a writer's technical viewpoint, the impeccable prose style of this book is remarkable. Delors is a native French speaker, and English is her second language. The book is written from Gabrielle's (the main character's) point of view in 1815, while exiled in England. Like Delors, Gabrielle writes in her adopted English. In the historical note in the book's endpapers, the author admits, "I strove to write this novel in the British English Gabrielle would have used in 1815." I find that it read ...more
Sara Giacalone
Dec 17, 2014 Sara Giacalone rated it really liked it
I was enraptured by this book of revolutionary France, and thoroughly enjoyed the characters and narrative. I'm very impressed by Ms. Delors, as this was an amazing first book. I'm eager to read her second, "For the King". Highly recommended!
Feb 19, 2009 C.W. rated it really liked it
A young woman's struggle for independence featured against the devastating backdrop of the French Revolution.
Mar 10, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
From The Associated Press:
¶ "Mistress of the Revolution" (Dutton, 464 pages, $24.95), by Catherine Delors: Raised in an impoverished aristocratic family by her penny-pinching mother and lascivious brother, Gabrielle de Montserrat is forced into a brutal marriage at 15.
¶ When a lucky heart attack strikes her husband during a hunting excursion, Gabrielle finds herself a penniless widow at 17. She takes refuge with a family friend in Paris in 1787, as momentum is beginning to build toward revolutio
Pam Sheppard
Mar 23, 2008 Pam Sheppard rated it it was amazing
Every other review of this book goes into great detail about the plot, characters and history before actually telling you if it is good at all. I'll skip all that. This novel is GOOD, very good! Like "Other Boleyn Girl" the subtext of using young women as currency to advance the family fortunes is central. Here, Gabrielle is denied her true choice and must submit to the choices forced on her by her family. Later, she must trade herself into Paris Society, not for a husband, but for survival. Thr ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Simon rated it did not like it
Ms. Delors' heroine, a beautiful redhead with grey eyes (naturally) goes through a series of unbelievable adventures from almost the moment she hits puberty. I mean, boy howdy! Everyone who meets her wants to possess Belle, making her sort of the French Revolution's Judy Tenuta. Even her own brother dopes her with laudanum in order to . . . heaven forfend, I cannot speak of it! But man, oh man, Ms. Delors sure can, and does, in prose so tortured that it makes even the massacres seem boring. And ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Jp rated it it was amazing
A real page turner!

This is the story of Gabrielle de Montserrat, a young noblewoman who runs into trouble by falling in love with a commoner a few years before the Revolution. Gabrielle is forced by her family to marry a brutal cousin three
times her age.

Soon widowed with a young daughter, she manages to
escape to Paris where she receives the help of a friendly Duchess. Her prospects are dimmed by her lack of fortune and she has to become the mistress of a wealthy nobleman. Before long she, like
Jun 24, 2011 Agnes rated it really liked it
One of the reasons I love (well-written) historical fiction is that you get a great story and a history lesson! I enjoyed this one very much, but I do think that there was too much politics and a lot to keep track of – which is ok if I’m reading nonfiction and my intention is to immerse myself with the details to make sense of the complicated historical occurrences. In this novel, long-winded political explanations were awkwardly incorporated into dialogues – no one talks like that! And still a ...more
Kitano Ana
Aug 25, 2016 Kitano Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition avut ocazia sa ma bucur de doua momente istorice ,Franta in timpul lui Ludovic al 16lea,sfarsitul monarhiei si Franta in timpul Revolutiei ,cu haosul si teroarea acelor acest fundal ne este prezentata viata Gabriellei ,o nobila fara avere care trebuie sa supravietuiasca acelor vremuri ,eu de fapt am vazut mai mult conditia femeii acelor timpuri ...mi-a placut personajul Gabrielle foarte tare..chiar daca a trebuit sa ia o serie de decizii "revoltatoare" si-a pastrat inte ...more
Franklin Michaels
Mar 23, 2008 Franklin Michaels rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adult readers
This is first and foremost an exquisite exercise in the intertwining of details, all true to the period, most arising from in the historic record, for which the author's website reveals that she relied heavily on original sources such as 18th century memoirs and actual trial transcripts, and the rest coming to life in the intersticies.

The character development is so subtle, a line here or there, but soon each is alive and at once haunting. The author quotes Alain Jouffroy at the beginning:

Gina (Weena)
Aug 25, 2015 Gina (Weena) rated it liked it
While the story of Gabrielle was interesting enough, and rich with historic references, I wasn't very satisfied in the end. There were some very intriguing parts, of course, but there was far too much down time. Also, whenever the historical facts came into play, it really bogged everything down. It was more like, let's pause here for a history lesson. It didn't flow with the story. I also did not like how the author would abruptly end a scene. The characters were interesting, the history was ok ...more
Apr 18, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy S
May 12, 2008 Amy S rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Between this and Sandra Gulland's books on Josephine Bonaparte, I am just amazed at anyone who lived during the french revolution. I am also amazed that this was the author's first work. It was obviously a work of love. I enjoyed the character development, details of the period, and the story in general. The only thing I ever shook my head in frustration at was the men in her life. Was it just me, or did they seem a little...overbearing? I guess it was the period of t ...more
Liz Dehoff
I'm sort of surprised that I managed to finish this -- the prose was wooden at times and it felt as if the author were shoehorning an encyclopedia article on the French Revolution into a mediocre romance novel. Even the sex was boring. I also didn't like the fact that all the men in the heroine's life kept telling her she was stupid and was going to screw everything up -- and they were correct every single time. Nice message there.
Rebecca Huston
Aug 11, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing
A great debut novel, with a smart heroine is a bit of an idiot at first, but thankfully grows up quick. Lots of politicking, romance, fine details and a very hunky hero as France hurtles towards the revolution and people get seriously worried about losing their heads. Happily recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:
May 30, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical accuracy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a work of fiction about the French Revolution that is well researched with a mixture of fictional characters, such as the main character and her family, and historical figures, such as her first love. I started this book fairly ignorant about the French Revolution, only knowing the basics; this book has wet my appetite for more.
Jun 25, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
Awesome to read about the French Revolution, my high school education didn't go beyond reading Les Mes. I was deeply drawn to the protagonist and moved to tears at the end. The novel was lengthy but never felt cumbersome.
Kristy Marshall
Jun 20, 2011 Kristy Marshall rated it it was amazing
Mistress of the Revolution was AMAZING. Historically accurate, romantic and so enticing I could not put it down! A lot of joy and much heartbreak and it takes you on the journy with a young aristocrat stuck in the harsh and cruel times of the revolution.
Dec 31, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Moving, gripping, and powerful, this book is one of the best historical fiction novels I've ever read. Gabrielle is a wonderful narrator, and Ms. Delors' brilliant writing shines throughout the entire piece. Just perfect.
Jan 22, 2012 Kristen rated it it was ok
I'm reading the reviews and I don't feel that I read the same book as everyone else. I couldn't stand Gabrielle as a character and seriously struggled to finish this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution
  • To Dance with Kings
  • Mistress of the Sun
  • Courtesan
  • Farewell, My Queen
  • Royal Harlot
  • Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV
  • Abundance
  • Finding Emilie
  • The Princess of Nowhere
  • To Serve a King
  • Madame Serpent (Catherine de Medici, #1)
  • The Queen's Pawn
  • The First Princess of Wales
  • Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon
  • The Queen's Dollmaker
  • The King's Mistress
  • An Army of Angels: A Novel of Joan of Arc
Author of Mistress of the Revolution and For the King (publication date: July 8, 2010). Both are historical novels set in Paris around the time of the French Revolution.
Catherine was born and raised in France. She is also an attorney with an international practice, and splits her time between Paris, London and Los Angeles.
Visit her blog, Versailles and more, at
More about Catherine Delors...

Share This Book

“I came to understand that we do not change gradually, peacefully, over time, but that we undergo sudden upheavals that overthrow our best-laid plans, change our character and redesign the shape of our life, all in the matter of moments.” 0 likes
More quotes…