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 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,502 ratings  ·  182 reviews
View our feature on Catherine Delors' "Mistress of the Revolution."
An impoverished noblewoman, Gabrielle de Montserrat is only fifteen when she meets her first love, a commoner named Pierre-Andre Coffinhal. But her brother forbids their union, forcing her instead to marry an aging, wealthy cousin.
Widowed and a mother before the age of twenty, Gabrielle arrives at the c
ebook, 528 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by New American Library (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

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
Ana T.
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

"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
Rosina Lippi
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
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
Apr 01, 2008 Gerald rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Sara Giacalone
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!
A young woman's struggle for independence featured against the devastating backdrop of the French Revolution.
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
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
Pam Sheppard
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
Scott M.
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
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
Franklin Michaels
Mar 23, 2008 Franklin Michaels rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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:

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy S
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
9/10 stars
Mistress of the Revolution was an incredibly enjoyable read. Although it took a while to get through the book, I enjoyed the way the author was able to include so much of the French revolution into the life story of one girl. The book is written like a memoir, so every once in a while we get to see a glimpse of what her life will be like at the end of the book. I learned a lot about the French revolution reading this novel, and the novel made it easier for me to grasp the time line of
This was a hard book to read as it presented very graphically how horrible life could be for the commoners before the Revolution and how hard the Terror was. But in those respects so it is for many people in many countries today--the aristocrats/plutocrats holding most people's lives cheaply and in turn when revolution comes, it brings no lessening of difficulties for the poor but only a widening of horror to those high up. One of the reviewers commented that Gabrielle just kept on making poor c ...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.
Jazmin A
This book was exactly all the elements of my favorite type of historical fiction:

Set in France before the revolution, the protagonist Gabrielle, is a country aristocrat who falls in love with a commoner. Despite the obvious cliched beginnings, this book is anything but cliche. I was surprised at the twists and turns of this book as well as pleasantly surprised at the authenticity of the characters.

Delors writing style was very accessible, and many different styles of readers can enjoy her simpl
May 13, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I went into the book not knowing much about the French Revolution, but now I am curious to learn more. The main character, Gabrielle, lives on the fringe of the French court. While she is a fictional character, many of the characters around her are historical. If you are interested in well researched historical fiction, you may enjoy this book.
Rebecca Huston
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Such a great way to digest history. I have heard of the Girondins and the Jacobins and Robespierre during the French Revolution and its aftermath, but I have a much clearer sense of the role of the different groups. By following one character through 30 years of her life, I got a great sense of what life was like for woman in 18th century France, for noblewomen and commoners, including poverty-stricken women, and of the disastrous policies and practices that led to the inevitability of the revol ...more
I don't usually write reviews, but this book needed one. I cannot say that I liked this book, or even that I enjoyed it, and yet I never thought to abandon it either. There are almost no likable characters in this book, and the protagonist is the worst of all. She claims to have no false pride, but continually is offended by the most trivial things; she claims no false modesty, nor vanity, yet is so "stunningly beautiful" that literally every man she meets falls in love with her; and, most annoy ...more
Toni Osborne
“Mistress of the Revolution” is written in the form a memoir by a fictional character, Gabrielle de Montserrat, a beautiful minor noblewoman from Auvergne now living in England. Gabrielle relives her childhood, youth and the French Revolution that dramatically changed the life of so many. Although the author has taken great liberties with many of the settings this tragic story manages to convey both the excitement of the early days of the Revolution and the Terror endured by the nobility and the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 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
  • Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV
  • Finding Emilie
  • Farewell, My Queen
  • Royal Harlot: A Novel of the Countess Castlemaine and King Charles II
  • Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
  • Madame Serpent (Catherine de Medici, #1)
  • The Queen's Pawn
  • The Queen's Handmaiden
  • City of Darkness, City of Light
  • The Dark Queen (The Dark Queen Saga, #1)
  • Exit the Actress
  • The King's Mistress
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...
For the King

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…