Ribbons of Scarlet
“The French Revolution comes alive through the eyes of six diverse and complex women, in the skilled hands of these amazing authors.”–Martha Hall Kelly, New York Timesbestselling author of Lilac Girls
A breathtaking, epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—seven unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.
Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.
In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them.
Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy believes in democracy, education, and equal rights for women, and marries the only man in Paris who agrees. Emboldened to fight the injustices of King Louis XVI, Sophie aims to prove that an educated populace can govern itself–but one of her students, fruit-seller Louise Audu, is hungrier for bread and vengeance than learning. When the Bastille falls and Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles, the monarchy is forced to bend, but not without a fight. The king’s pious sister Princess Elisabeth takes a stand to defend her brother, spirit her family to safety, and restore the old order, even at the risk of her head.
But when fanatics use the newspapers to twist the revolution’s ideals into a new tyranny, even the women who toppled the monarchy are threatened by the guillotine. Putting her faith in the pen, brilliant political wife Manon Roland tries to write a way out of France’s blood-soaked Reign of Terror while pike-bearing Pauline Leon and steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. With justice corrupted by revenge, all the women must make impossible choices to survive–unless unlikely heroine and courtesan’s daughter Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe can sway the man who controls France’s fate: the fearsome Robespierre.
AudioFile Earphones Award Winner
Six experienced performers portray the women who are featured in these interwoven novellas of the French Revolution. They use unaccented speech for the narrative and a subtle French accent for the dialogue–with the exception of the last two chapters, in which the French accents are harsh and brittle. In “The Philosopher,” Sophie de Grouchy de Condorcet is portrayed as an idealist. In “The Revolutionary,” Louise Audu, a rough-voiced fruit seller, is contrasted with soft-spoken “Princess” Elisabeth, the pious sister of Louis XVI. Manon Roland is portrayed as steely in “The Politician,” while in “The Assassin,” Pauline Léon, is coldhearted. Finally, milie de Sainte-Amaranthe, in “The Beauty,” recites her story in sharp, increasingly hysterical tones as she faces Madame Guillotine. These are spellbinding tales of the French Revolution from its inchoate beginnings to its bloody and terrifying end. M.B.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine [Published: JANUARY 2020]