The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray
An epic saga from bestselling author, Stephanie Dray, this novel is based on the true story of Chateau Lafayette and the three, fierce-hearted women who protect its legacy.
About the book:
Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women…
A founding mother…
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.
A daring visionary…
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing–not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.
A reluctant resistor…
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.
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This novel spans three pivotal points of French history: the French Revolution, WWI, and WWII. Each timeline follows the life of an extraordinary woman who calls the castle Chavaniac home.
With over 500 pages, this historical fiction is a hefty read. Each of the three timelines could easily have had their own book — there is such a large amount of material there. The author has clearly done in-depth research and while it was a bit of a slower read for me, it was still highly engaging and interesting.
Stephanie Dray portrayed each of these characters in a way that felt honest and real — demonstrating their flaws as well as their strength and determination. Although fictionalized, it still felt as if Dray was able to capture the heart of each woman’s motivation. Not having heard of either Adrienne Lafayette or Beatrice Chanler before, this book was an intriguing glimpse into the lives of two, remarkable women and their enduring legacy.
The third character, Marthe, was purely fictional. While I initially found her storyline less compelling than the other two, I grew to love it by the end. The pacing in the second half was much quicker, the plot strong, and the character development was well done.
Overall, this was a rich and sweeping saga that I would recommend for fans of historical fiction.
The Women of Chateau Lafayette is available March 30, 2021!