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Reviews (ADR)

from Reviews (ADR)
concerning Blanche de Beaulieu, ou la vendéene

     Blanche de Beaulieu is set in the Vendée (near Nantes) and Paris in 1793-94. It's hero is a historical figure, the Republican General Francois-Severin Marceau (1769-1796), a general at age 24, and killed in action at age 27. In 1793, the Republic was dragging aristocrats, clerics, and the insufficiently enthusiastic to the guillotine by the hundreds and thousands, while foreign armies assailed the frontier. In the Vendée, a poor, isolated semi-wilderness well suited for guerilla warfare, a popular coalition of aristocrats, royalists, the religious, and draft dodgers rose in revolt against the Republic.
     As the story begins, General Marceau leads an assault on a rebel encampment (assisted by his colleague, General Dumas--the author's father) and captures a beautiful young woman dressed in a man's clothing. This woman proves to be Blanche de Beaulieu, daughter of the Marquis de Beaulieu, an important rebel leader. Marceau, smitten with the woman, saves her from execution (the normal fate of captured rebels) and conveys her to Nantes to live with Marceau's mother and sister. Blanche is recognized and arrested. Marceau visits her in jail, and with the assistance of a conveniently incarcerated priest, marries Blanche. He then travels to Paris to beg for a pardon for his wife from Robespierre, and then must race against the cruel efficacy of the Terror to return to Nantes in time to prevent her execution.
     The book contains one other interesting character, the peasant rebel Tinguy, enormously strong, cunning, and devoted to Blanche. Tinguy will appear again some thirty years later in Louves de Machecoul.

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