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Dancing to the precipice : the life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, eyewitness to an
Caroline Moorehead
Adult Nonfiction DC146.L3 M66 2009b

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Educated to wait on Marie Antoinette, the marquise Lucie de la Tour du Pin (1770-1853) instead precariously survived a devastating revolution, an emperor, two restorations and a republic. Drawing on Lucie's memoirs and those of her contemporaries, Moorehead (Gellhorn) uses Lucie's descriptions of both personal events and the ever-changing French political atmosphere to portray the nobility's awkward shifts with each new event and the impact they have on Lucie and her diplomat husband, Freedric. A woman with both court-honed aristocratic manners and rough farm skills (earned in the Revolution's wake during her rural New York exile), Lucie benefited from passing platonic relationships with Napoleon and Wellington, Talleyrand, and countless salon personalities. Lucie's terror during the anarchy of the Revolution remains palpable in her memoirs centuries later. Moorehead obviously admires Lucie, but she gives a convincing and entertaining portrait of an intelligent, shrewd, unpretentious woman and the turbulent times she lived through and testified to in her memoirs. 16 pages of b&w photos, 19 illus. throughout. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

The exceptional Henriette Lucie Dillon, Marquise de la Tour du Pin Gouvernet (1770-1853) has long deserved a competent biographer, and Moorehead (Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life) does her justice. The marquise's Journal d'une Femme de Cinquante Ans, 1778-1815 is considered one of the best first-person accounts available of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era and is still in print. While Moorehead relies heavily on these memoirs, she also uses additional primary sources to flesh out the nearly 50 years (1815-53) not covered by Lucie's memoirs and places Lucie within the context of an emigre culture that grew out of the radicalization of the French Revolution. Born to the French aristocracy, Lucie was equally comfortable at the opulent court of Versailles and the back country of upstate New York. She and her family were forced to flee France four times during the revolutionary era. Her father and father-in-law lost their heads to the guillotine, she had several miscarriages, and most of her children did not reach adulthood, but through it all she remained resilient, compassionate, and observant. An outstanding choice for general readers.-Jim Doyle, formerly with Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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