Misfit's Reviews > Daughters of the Storm

Daughters of the Storm by Elizabeth Buchan
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Jul 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: browsers-used-books, french-revolution, historical-fiction, not-recommended-for-the-fluffies
Read from August 05 to 10, 2012 — I own a copy

“It was too much,' she murmured. "Too much of everything. Blood. Death. Fear. Wasted hope...”

Paris, 1789. Sophie Lutrell leaves her comfortable life in the English countryside behind for an extended visit with her cousin Héloïse de Guinot. The two cousins are more like sisters, and they're soon swept up in the romance and glamour of the Parisian court - and Sophie might forget her almost-fiance from home and let herself be swept off her feet by the dashing American William Jones (a secret spy for the American government). Héloïse is unhappily married off to the Comte de Choissy, but she soon finds love in the arms of a French soldier, Louis d'Epinon. The third female in this story is that of Héloïse's maid, Marie-Victoire Bonnard, who finds love in the arms of a revolutionary - but that love comes at a great personal cost.

“They threw their hats into the air, screamed their joy and fought to dip their handkerchiefs into the blood.”

Sophie is so caught up in the glitz and glamour of her life in Paris that she hides her head in the sand ignores the warnings to leave France while she still can, and when madness takes over and The Terror begins, it just might be too late...

“You have heard what they say about the Conciergerie? The hell from which there is no route save by the little window of the guillotine.”

Let me tell you, that was some pretty intense stuff at the end. I did have a pretty rocky start with this one, the early chapters were very short and there was a lot of head hopping (third person, but still annoying), and I admit to thinking about bailing out of this, and glad I hung on. The different POVs give the reader a bird's-eye view from multiple perspectives, from the glitz of Versailles to the underbelly of Paris. I'll just add one word of caution - this is not a fluffy, feel good, romantic HEA kind of book, so if that's your cuppa tea I suggest you move along. One word of caution for cover geeks, my copy ISBN #0-553-28448-7 has the cover posted above, but when you search swap/seller sites by this number it pulls up the so-ugly-I-won't-even-post-it-here cover. I have no idea which cover you'll get, so don't blame me if you get that other one.

One odd thing is the author's Afterward. She writes as if some of the characters in the novel were real historical people, yet I've not had a hit on any of them on Google. Any one out there have an answer for me?
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Reading Progress

08/05/2012 page 3
0.74% "'It ws too much,' she murmered. "Too much of everything. Blood. Death. Fear. Wasted hope..."
08/06/2012 page 23
5.71% "'To the Bastille,' he cried. 'Patriots take action.'"
08/06/2012 page 30
7.44% "Never again will I be able to enjoy the smell of hay, she thought, or the sight of scarlet poppies on the grass. They are tainted now with the smell of lust and the unwanted body on mine."
08/06/2012
31.0% "Have you no pity?

Have you?

"
08/07/2012 page 55
14.0% "Paris had never seemed so extravagant or so glittering as it did that September."
08/08/2012 page 97
24.0% "The spectacle of the Bourbons virtually imprisoned by their own people sent uneasy shivers through Europe's corridors of power."
08/08/2012 page 180
45.0% "The reached a climax, and its final cadences were crashed out to the rhythm of marching feet and screaming cheers.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=..." 1 comment
08/08/2012 page 190
47.0% "All throughout the night of August 9th the people continued to gather until there was 20,000 or more.

As August 10th dawned, a day that promised to be of searing heat, the second march on the Tuileries Palace by the citizens of Paris began.

"
08/09/2012 page 213
53.0% "What have they done? Dear God, what have they done?"
08/09/2012 page 237
59.0% "The marquis' death and those of his fellow-prisoners who perished with him at La Force marked the beginning of the massacres that swept the prisons of Paris for five days; to begin with as isolated incidents and then as a swelling tide of blood that broke over the city with the avenging hatred of the Furies."
08/09/2012 page 259
64.0% "They threw their hats into the air, screamed their joy and fought to dip their handkerchiefs into the blood.

France was without a king.

"
08/09/2012 page 291
72.0% "So, Monsieur le Comte and I are enemies of France.

I am afraid so, madame. If it comforts you at all, you are in good company.

"
08/09/2012 page 325
81.0% "The reign of terror had begun."
08/10/2012 page 335
83.0% "You have heard what they say about the Conciergerie? The hell from which there is no route save by the little window of the guillotine."
08/10/2012 page 357
89.0% "The scene was absurd. Did neither of them remember that they were no longer in Versailles but in a prison, and that time was running out?"
08/10/2012 page 377
94.0% "With a supreme effort, Marie-Victoire climbed up on the bench.

"Vive le roi."

Well, that should stir the pot up a bit.

"
08/10/2012 page 382
95.0% "Justice, you are not known in this place. Your turn will come, and the deaths of your victims will haunt you."
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Comments (showing 1-25 of 25) (25 new)

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Misfit The best I can do on the cover until I have a chance to scan.


Misfit Cover uploaded. Cover artist Franco.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Very nice :)


Misfit Promising start...


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Misfit wrote: "Promising start..."

Look forward to updates:)


message 6: by Kim (last edited Aug 11, 2012 01:51PM) (new)

Kim The Reign of Terror didn't start until 1793. It took Sophie four years to decide that leaving France would be a good idea?

ETA. Pretty much the sum total of my French Revolution knowledge comes from reading A Tale of Two Cities (not really worth it for the history) and A Place of Greater Safety (better than a history book). The names of the characters in your book don't ring a bell. Not that means they're not real people, but you'd think Google would know if they were.


Misfit Kim wrote: "The Reign of Terror didn't start until 1793. It took Sophie four years to decide that leaving France would be a good idea?

ETA. Pretty much the sum total of my French Revolution knowledge comes fr..."


Yeah, I thought it took her a bit too long to come to her senses. I think the author manages to work it so that you understand her loyalty to staying with her cousin, but still.


Misfit Kim, just heard back from Melanie Clegg on my blog review. She's read the book as well as knowing the French Revolution backwards and forwards, says the main characters are fictional.


message 9: by Kim (last edited Aug 11, 2012 09:29PM) (new)

Kim Misfit wrote: "Kim, just heard back from Melanie Clegg on my blog review. She's read the book as well as knowing the French Revolution backwards and forwards, says the main characters are fictional."

I'm not at all surprised. When I was buddy-reading A Place of Greater Safety with Jemidar, we would look up people and events from time to time and it always seemed that Mantel's history was accurate. It's pretty safe to conclude that if Google hasn't heard of someone, chances are that they didn't exist. It's a bit strange that the author's note should imply that the characters were real people if they were not.


Misfit I agree. Outside of that, from what I know of the Revolution the author got the historical facts right. Really scary stuff, not a place/period I'd want to be stuck in.


Lolly's Library I'm sure you probably discovered this in your own searches on Google, but there's a Marquis de Choisy who was at the siege of Yorktown in 1781, under the command of Rochambeau. I found several William Jones: there's the Anglo-Welsh philologist and scholar of ancient India--certainly not an American spy; a William Jones who was a Welsh radical; a governor of Rhode Island from 1811 to 1817; the fourth U.S. Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania (who may have gotten his start as a spy; he was born in 1760, so he would've been a good age for that kind of thing, though there's no evidence he ever went to France); as well as a naturalist/entomologist, a couple of clergymen, and an optician. Those were the only names I could find that were remotely historically accurate. Other than that little wobble, this sounds like a good book.


Misfit Thanks, I had not found those. This was a lucky find for me, and despite the head hopping at the start it was pretty compelling ending.


message 13: by TJ (new)

TJ Now THAT'S a great review, Mis.. It warns me of stuff I might not like, explains the great stuff well.... Awesome job!!


Misfit Thank you. I thought that's what reviews were supposed to be for.


message 15: by TJ (new)

TJ It is, that's why yours are so good. :)


Lolly's Library Misfit wrote: "Thanks, I had not found those. This was a lucky find for me, and despite the head hopping at the start it was pretty compelling ending."

You're welcome. Maybe those similarities are why she wrote that author's note. And a compelling ending can usually make up for a rocky start, so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for this. Other than the Scarlet Pimpernel books, I haven't read much HF set in the French Revolution/Reign of Terror.


Misfit I haven't read the Pimpernel books, but have read the Dumas series. Darned good stuff, but you do want to hunt down the old Collier editions (libraries have them). Very good reading.


Lolly's Library To be honest, I haven't read all of the Pimpernel books; I think there are like twenty or so of them. But I've read the first five and got such a kick out of them; they've got their own style and can take some getting used to, but they're worth it. And I love Dumas; his novels were actually some of the few that were force-fed to me in English class that I enjoyed. Don't know what editions I read, though--what's the difference between Collier and others?


Misfit The Colliers date back to 1910. Much of what comes out now are very poor translations and abridged at that. I had one I purchased (The Queen's Necklace) that had two page chapters and tepid dialogue. You're generally pretty safe with the Colliers unless you can read them in French. Check out the lesser known but excellent The Two Dianas. What fun.


message 20: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Penguin Classics also do good translations.


Misfit Jemidar wrote: "Penguin Classics also do good translations."

Like the Robin Buss translation of Count of Monte Cristo. The lesser known Dumas books are the ones to tread cautiously. Lots of hack publishers out there issuing *new editions* of these public domain books. That edition of The Queen's Necklace I had was vile.


message 22: by Jemidar (last edited Aug 15, 2012 04:46AM) (new)

Jemidar Yep, sometimes it's worth the every penny to invest in a reputable edition. When in doubt, I reach for the Penguins.


Lolly's Library Misfit wrote: "The Colliers date back to 1910. Much of what comes out now are very poor translations and abridged at that. I had one I purchased (The Queen's Necklace) that had two page chapters and tepid dialogu..."

Ah. I do hate poor translations, especially since I don't have the talent to read in French. I might be able to decipher one word out of ten, but with that kind of "talent," I might as well read a crappily translated version. LOL Especially since it's the lesser-known Dumas novels I'd love to get my hands on... and The Two Dianas is right up there on my list. Thanks for the info--now I know what to keep my eye out for. :)


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