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Can anybody suggest some good historical novels about France to get me in the mood?

Can anybody suggest some good historical novels about France to get me in the mood?

Jul 28th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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I'm reading Weir's Eleanor of Aquitaine now, and enjoying it.

I find parallels between current events and the misadventures of Louis VII, her first husband, during the Second Crusade.
stokebailey is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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I'm reading Emile Zola's Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight)--translated into English in a Penguin edition--published in 1883. I LOVE this book. The fictional "Au Bonheur des Dames" is a department store, and the novel explores the advent of the big department stores in Paris and their impact on society. Zola takes on what he saw as mass consumerism of the day...some bits sound positively 2006! I'd recommend for anyone planning to go to Paris and do a lot of shopping. ;-)

I just finished a collection of short stories called Life Studies by Susan Vreeland (who also wrote the Passion of Artemisia and Girl in Hyacinth Blue). They're not all set in France, but many are, and have Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists as characters (including Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Morisot, and van Gogh). What I like is that the stories' main characters are not the 'famous' artists themselves, but people peripheral to them, so it's not the usual way of telling their stories. Very beautifully written and engaging. Highly recommended!
DejaVu is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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"The Sun King" by Nancy Mitford is a very enjoyable life of horrible old Louis XIV.

mjsilver is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 11:16 AM
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Hemingway: "The Sun Also Rises," although primarily about Pamplona in Spain, has probably 30-40% of its story set in Paris. Also, a number of his short stories (you can get a book of the complete short stories). The book "A Moveable Feast" is a collection of Paris anecdotes from Hemingways life.

I also second "The Count of Monte Cristo" and the book "Almost French" mentioned here.
tlove09 is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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tlove09, you took what I was going to say! I loved A Moveable Feast (I plan on re-reading it before I go back to Paris) and Sun Also Rises. I also recommend:

Vilette by Charlotte Bronte
any short story by Guy de Maupassant
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Hugo
Suite Francaise
Ambassadors by Henry James

I've seen a GORGEOUS book of photographs called The Light of Paris but I can't remember the name of the photographer - he took tons of pictures in Paris just before dawn - outstanding - it will certainly get you in the right mood for the trip!
ValCanada is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 01:47 AM
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amwosu is offline  
May 20th, 2007, 02:21 AM
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This looks like a mostly old but still good thread. There is another thread with books about France with the heading "Fiction"
A few other historical novels about France that don't seem to be on this list:
Versailles by Kathryn Davis
Iain Pears' Dream of Scipio
Susan Vreeland's new novel Afternoon of the Boating Party, based on the Renoir painting at the Philipps gallery in DC
Vttraveler is online now  
May 25th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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My book group unanimously voted "Versailles" as the worst book we'd read in our ten years. However, the very last sentence is a knockout.
Underhill is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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Zola's, "The Belly Of France." (Les Halles) The other book dejavu mentions is translated here as "A Ladies Paradise." and yes, it's just like today what goes on
cigalechanta is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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The Scarlet Pimpernel - adventure during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror!
degas is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Balzac, "About Catherine de Medici"
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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My mother just gave me this book so I haven't read it yet and am not sure how it fits in here, but she highly recommends "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano.
kwren is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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The Lady and the Unicorn, and then you must visit the Cluny Museum to see the real tapestries. My book club read this before we went to Paris a couple of years ago and visited the museum as a follow up. I've been to Paris many times, but that was one of my best experiences in the city.
martygnc is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Great thread!
samsmom1127 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:27 PM
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"Scaramouche" by Rafael Sabatini...young aristocrat navigates the French Revolution
kit is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:36 PM
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Another vote for Weir's Eleanor of Aquitane. And, Abundance (Marie Antoinette).

Great suggestions, off to the library! annieladd
Jun 3rd, 2007, 01:02 AM
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Posts: 62
Sublime - The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury. Reads like a novel but its all too tragically true. dont miss it. Excellent reviews.

Ridiculous (but thoroughly enjoyable) - These Old Shades - Georgette Heyer .. English historical romance writer, has lots of historical background and still manages to be lots of fun.
Pleiades is offline  
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