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Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution

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Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six 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 Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six 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.


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Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six 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 Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six 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.

30 review for Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Wow, look at the authors contributing to this novel of the French Revolution! In France, in the 1700s, women do not have power or a voice in how their country is run. As the revolution mounts, this is their opportunity to finally be heard. Sophie de Grouchy is a staunch believer in equal rights for women, and unusual for the time, her husband is, too. Sophie assets that an educated country does not need a formal government. Louise Audu is student of Sophie’s, and she wants vengeance and to eat… Wow, look at the authors contributing to this novel of the French Revolution! In France, in the 1700s, women do not have power or a voice in how their country is run. As the revolution mounts, this is their opportunity to finally be heard. Sophie de Grouchy is a staunch believer in equal rights for women, and unusual for the time, her husband is, too. Sophie assets that an educated country does not need a formal government. Louise Audu is student of Sophie’s, and she wants vengeance and to eat… Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles after the fall of the Bastille. The monarchy is going to have to fold, but they have at least one more fight left. Things really heat up when the newspapers turn the revolution on its head, and now the revolutionists, including the women, are in the crosshairs of the guillotine. Manon Roland takes up her pen to find a way out of the Reign of Terror, while Charlotte Corday and Pauline Leon pick up their weapons. A search for justice haunted by revenge, who will come out on top, and what position will women have when the Revolution ends? This powerhouse group of female hist fic authors has penned a powerhouse story of seven strong female characters. There’s beauty here and utter despair. The history of the time provides a rich backdrop. I’ve read a few books set during this tumultuous and bloody time period, but not with this slant, which I found eye-opening and inspiring. Even with seven authors and seven characters, the book reads seamlessly as if one person wrote it. It’s a page-turner. It’s brilliant. And it’s a must-read for all hist fic fans. This is one we’ll be talking about for quite some time. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gill Paul

    The French Revolutionary years were among the most complex historical periods of all time. The Revolution’s proponents fought for differing ideologies and ever-changing goals. Alliances were forged then broken as new factions appeared overnight. Yesterday’s leaders were themselves led to the guillotine, the new-fangled machine invented as a quick and efficient method of execution. Some held true to their ideals and behaved with nobility and selflessness, while others scrabbled to save their own The French Revolutionary years were among the most complex historical periods of all time. The Revolution’s proponents fought for differing ideologies and ever-changing goals. Alliances were forged then broken as new factions appeared overnight. Yesterday’s leaders were themselves led to the guillotine, the new-fangled machine invented as a quick and efficient method of execution. Some held true to their ideals and behaved with nobility and selflessness, while others scrabbled to save their own skins with a complete lack of humanity to others. Before reading Ribbons of Scarlet, I couldn’t begin to imagine how this group of six authors could possibly make a coherent narrative out of such a jumble of ideas and events, but they do so with subtlety and supreme writerliness. The story is told from the points of view of seven women, each with a unique perspective and voice. They come from different backgrounds, from a starving street seller to the king’s sister; some are married, some are virgins. But each one steps off the page, a complete authentic character with her own set of hopes and dreams. I admit I didn’t want to leave Sophie de Grouchy and the wonderful Condorcet at the end of the first section; nor did I want to leave the mouthy wildfire Louise Audu. But I soon realised they would return. We weren’t done with them, as their narratives are woven into later sections where they appear like old friends. The one thing all the women have in common is immense courage. Each is inspirational in her own way. Each one is standing up for her rights, and those of her sisters, over a century before the suffragettes. I learned a lot from this book and came away awed by the skill of the individual writers. The sheer technical difficulty of weaving all these threads into a coherent pattern should not be underestimated. But it’s the stories of these women that make it such a compelling read, and one I recommend whole-heartedly. It’s a masterclass in historical fiction! With thanks to Sophie Perinot for the ARC.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs... Ribbons of Scarlet is the fifth collaborative from the History 360 Co-Op but in many ways, it is entirely unlike its predecessors. For one, Ribbons of Scarlet is the first release to be traditionally published (thank you HarperCollins). For another, it is the first to which long-time member Vicky Alvear Shecter did not contribute (a voice I both adore and missed). Most notably, however, it is the first written with an Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs... Ribbons of Scarlet is the fifth collaborative from the History 360 Co-Op but in many ways, it is entirely unlike its predecessors. For one, Ribbons of Scarlet is the first release to be traditionally published (thank you HarperCollins). For another, it is the first to which long-time member Vicky Alvear Shecter did not contribute (a voice I both adore and missed). Most notably, however, it is the first written with an overarching theme. The Philosopher and Epilogue by Stephanie Dray Dray hasn’t contributed to a History 360 collaborative since 2015’s A Year of Ravens, but she returns with a bang. Her story, The Philosopher, is based on the life and experiences of Sophie de Grouchy and I loved how the author used this character to challenge gender roles without sacrificing all semblance of traditional femininity. The end result is an intensely relatable woman who embodies the ideals of the feminist movement while exhibiting the sort of emotional vulnerability that transcends the page on which she is written. Dray’s use of the ideological ideals that inspired the Revolution is also noteworthy, as are the nods she pays fans of America’s First Daughter. * Favorite Heroine in Ribbons of Scarlet * The Revolutionary by Heather Webb Webb is a first-time contributor to the Co-op, but I can confidently say she pulled out all the stops with her portrait of Louise Reine Audu. I’ve read this author’s entire backlist and firmly believe the heroine of The Revolutionary one of her best. The passion that inspired Webb to speak at the 2017 Women’s March is mirrored in her illustration of the Women's March on Versailles and I couldn’t help falling in love with how the author channeled her own experiences into those of the narrative. Ribbons of Scarlet is an undeniably relevant novel, but this piece more than any other communicated the feel of the moment and spirit that drove women to march both past and present. * Favorite Use of Theme in Ribbons of Scarlet * The Princess by Sophie Perinot Perinot hasn’t contributed to a History 360 release since 2014’s A Day of Fire. To date, this is the longest hiatus by any member of the group, but this author hasn’t lost her edge. Not by a long shot. Élisabeth of France is the only royalist heroine in Ribbons of Scarlet, but her reputation and position at court allowed Perinot to humanize the Revolution while subtly shifting the tone of the entire narrative. The Philosopher and The Revolutionary are characterized by patriotic idealism but it is in The Princess that the chaos of the conflict becomes evident. In addition to turning the tides, Perinot uses Élisabeth to challenge readers into recognizing that strength takes many forms. It is easy to note the pamphlet writer or the speech maker, but The Princess gracefully illustrates how quiet dignity and unwavering devotion are in no way indicative of weakness, submission, or subservience. * Favorite Story in Ribbons of Scarlet * The Politician by Kate Quinn Quinn, like Dray and Knight, is a founder of the History 360 Co-op and returns to the collaborative after a one book hiatus with The Politician. A chronicle of the life of Manon Roland, this story hit me the hardest. I wasn’t familiar with the character and relished the opportunity to delve into fresh material, but the trials and tribulations Manon suffers struck me for the undeniable truths they relay. The repression of feminine intellectualism, hypocritical social norms, and the social conditioning that leads women to blame themselves for the violence they suffer harmonize beautifully with Quinn's astute foray into the political landscape of the French Revolution. * Most Thought-Provoking Story in Ribbons of Scarlet * The Assassin by E. Knight Of all the stories in Ribbons of Scarlet, I looked forward to Knight’s The Assassin most. I assumed correctly that it would feature Charlotte Corday and Jean-Paul Marat, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the author’s second narrator, Pauline Leon. Historically speaking, I found The Assassin the most iconic of the novel’s submissions and loved how the dual narrative allowed Knight to play with the personal costs associated with taking up arms for the sake of one’s convictions. I felt the back and forth gave the story a unique feel and appreciated how it portrayed diversity within the feminist movement. * Most Iconic Story in Ribbons of Scarlet * The Beauty by Laura Kamoie Like Webb, Kamoie is a first-time contributor to the Co-op. Unlike the other contributors, however, my only experience of her work was as half of the duo behind America’s First Daughter and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from her creatively. Having said that, The Beauty caught me entirely off-guard. The Terror is in full force as Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe takes the spotlight in what is easily the most romantic chapter of the novel, but it was the author’s use of theme that took my breath away. At its core, feminism is about equality of both genders and while several of the contributing authors incorporate male characters in their stories, it is Kamoie who puts the two on equal ground in a symbolic display of unity in the face of blatant injustice. * Greatest Surprise Moment in Ribbons of Scarlet *

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Bookish

    My thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for sending me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. "Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations." I've had a bit of an ongoing effort to read more historical fiction thatisn'tset during World War II, and this novel was an easy choice because, hello, Kate Quinn. If you've never My thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for sending me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.  "Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations." I've had a bit of an ongoing effort to read more historical fiction that isn't set during World War II, and this novel was an easy choice because, hello, Kate Quinn. If you've never read any of her work, I (obviously) recommend this book, but also The Alice Network and The Huntress. Ribbons of Scarlet is set during the French Revolution and focuses on women's role in these events.  The format of this novel worked very well. I've seen a lot of misunderstanding about this book online. Because of the number of authors listed, a lot of people have assumed it is a collection of short stories set during the same time period, and this is not the case. The novel follows a single linear narrative following the course of the revolution, but each section introduces a new point of view character. This is different from most novels with multiple POV characters in that, for the most part, we do not return to a character once we move on from her singular section. We get one peek into each woman's perspective and then she is lost to us. I worried that this would feel disjointed overall, but this was absolutely not the case, and it provided an excellent opportunity to look at some of the same events through different eyes.  Despite what must have been a very difficult process, the six authors meshed very well together. Even while jumping from one one woman's perspective to another relatively unrelated woman's section, there is a strong sense of a central narrative following the course of the revolution. Each woman has a wildly different perspective on the historical moment they are inhabiting, and each perspective seems fully fleshed out and genuine.  It was refreshing to see a war novel which focuses exclusively on women's experiences, as these are often overlooked. French women played a significant role in the revolution and women of different social classes were impacted in very different ways. It was particularly interesting to me to spend time in the mind of a female members of the aristocracy, who, while they did enjoy the benefits of wealth leading up to the revolution, often had little to no power of their own. In the end, they bore the consequences of the actions of their husbands and fathers alongside them.  Ribbons of Scarlet is an illuminating novel about a fascinating piece of French history. Seamlessly told and heartbreaking, this book is a jewel.  You can read all of my reviews on my blog, Jenna Bookish! Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristina McMorris

    Honored to have provided a quote for this wonderful collaborative novel: “Seamlessly interwoven by a dream team of historical authors, Ribbons of Scarlet vividly transported me to the tumultuous days of the French Revolution; I could feel the cobblestones of the alleys, taste the fine wines of the salons, hear the whisk of a guillotine’s blade. In a single sitting, I devoured the tales of seven strong and enthralling women—then, for days after, relayed their startling true accounts to any friend Honored to have provided a quote for this wonderful collaborative novel: “Seamlessly interwoven by a dream team of historical authors, Ribbons of Scarlet vividly transported me to the tumultuous days of the French Revolution; I could feel the cobblestones of the alleys, taste the fine wines of the salons, hear the whisk of a guillotine’s blade. In a single sitting, I devoured the tales of seven strong and enthralling women—then, for days after, relayed their startling true accounts to any friend who would listen. Remarkable for its moving finds of beauty amid tragedy, this timely masterpiece is sure to inspire both courage and caution. A spellbinding read from beginning to end.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    An delightful and enlightening book about seven strong-willed women intent on fighting for necessary changes during the French Revolution. SUMMARY RIBBONS OF SCARLET is The French Revolution as seen through the eyes and voice of seven women who actively participate in the revolution. In the late eighteenth century women don’t have a place in politics, but as the revolution begins, these courageous women take up the fight, each with a different purpose. The women are all from different backgrounds An delightful and enlightening book about seven strong-willed women intent on fighting for necessary changes during the French Revolution. SUMMARY RIBBONS OF SCARLET is The French Revolution as seen through the eyes and voice of seven women who actively participate in the revolution. In the late eighteenth century women don’t have a place in politics, but as the revolution begins, these courageous women take up the fight, each with a different purpose. The women are all from different backgrounds but each has a vested interest in this revolution. Salon hostess and philosopher, Sophie de Grouchy, is fighting for equality and education for women. Fruit-seller and revolutionary, Louise Audu is hungry and wants food for all. The king’s sister, Princess Elizabeth fights to defend her brother’s rule. Writer and Politician, Manon Roland puts her faith in the pen, writing speeches. Chocolate-maker Pauline Leon and the steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. But the fate of these women rests with the ability of the beautiful Emilie de Sante-Amaranthe to sway the one man who controls France’s fate. REVIEW I loved the concept of this book and being introduced to these seven strong-minded women who actually stood up for change during the French Revolution. The subject was intriguing, even causing me to research the internet for more about each of these amazing women. The book is an inspiring tribute to this sisterhood who willingly put their lives on the line for change in their country. Each of women showed courage, dedication, and perseverance. Ribbons of Scarlet is divided into six parts, each written by a different author. Authors Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb, and E. Knight also formed a sisterhood to pull off this delightful book. The writing is enlightening and the stories were creatively woven together by ribbons of scarlet. Thanks to the authors for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Publisher WilliamMorrow Books Published October 1, 2019 Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Kondelik

    Ribbons of Scarlet is a powerful, inspiring novel about the women of the French Revolution, by six different authors. Each author writes a chapter from the point of view of a different character. Together, they tell the whole story of the French Revolution from its idealistic beginnings through the height of the Terror in 1794. I had been looking forward to reading this book for a long time, because the French Revolution is one of my favorite historical periods, and Ribbons of Scarlet more than Ribbons of Scarlet is a powerful, inspiring novel about the women of the French Revolution, by six different authors. Each author writes a chapter from the point of view of a different character. Together, they tell the whole story of the French Revolution from its idealistic beginnings through the height of the Terror in 1794. I had been looking forward to reading this book for a long time, because the French Revolution is one of my favorite historical periods, and Ribbons of Scarlet more than lived up to expectations. Every one of the narrators really lived. I was familiar with some of them already, and not so much with others. But each represents a unique voice, and all the stories were equally compelling. The first chapter, by Stephanie Dray, tells the story of Sophie, a young noblewoman who believes in equality for women and who helps her uncle, a magistrate, in his efforts to help people who are wrongfully imprisoned and to put an end to the barbaric execution methods of the time. She is in love with Lafayette, but marries the Marquis de Condorcet, who shares her beliefs. Sophie comes to love her husband as they work for democracy during the early days of the French Revolution. I have to say that Sophie was my favorite character in the whole book, and I missed her when the chapter was over. But she reappears throughout the book. That is another thing I loved about this book: characters who narrate one chapter will appear in others. In the next chapter, Heather Webb writes about Louise Audu, a fruit seller from a poor family, who runs errands for the nobility (and so interacts with some of the upper-class characters in the novel). Louise learns to read at a school for adults founded by Sophie and her husband. In spite of the efforts of well-meaning members of the nobility, such as Sophie, to improve the conditions of the poor, Louise and her friends are no better off than they were before. Her rage at the treatment of the poor leads her to take action, and she and other market women lead a march to Versailles to bring the king back to Paris. The story of the women's march to Versailles is excellently told, and I definitely see parallels with the Women's March of 2017. The third chapter, by Sophie Perinot, tells the story of Princess Élisabeth, sister of Louis XVI, the only royalist narrator in the novel, which gives the chapter a very different perspective. (I also noticed that it's the only chapter written in the present tense, besides the epilogue, which is narrated by Sophie.) The devout Élisabeth is devoted to her brother and believes in the divine right of kings. She sympathizes with the poor and wishes to improve their conditions, but she believes the old order should be preserved. Her chapter tells of the royal family's attempt to flee from Paris, and their capture at Varennes. The revolutionaries, and many historians, have seen this as an attempt to flee the country, but, according to Élisabeth's narrative, the real aim was to escape to another part of France where they thought they'd be safe. In an especially heartbreaking scene, Élisabeth witnesses the first execution by guillotine, after she and the royal family are brought back to Paris. The next chapter, by Kate Quinn, is narrated by Manon Roland, wife of the minister of the interior under the Girondins (moderate revolutionaries). I have read quite a bit about Manon Roland, including her memoir which she wrote in prison and smuggled out to her friends, and I think Kate Quinn captures her voice very well. Manon had a passion for politics, wrote many of her husband's speeches, and even addressed the National Assembly herself. She was a woman ahead of her time in many ways, and I believe that if she'd lived today, she'd be in the Assembly, or in Congress if she were an American. But she also had some old-fashioned beliefs: for example, that women should be subordinate to their husbands. (I don't think she would think so if she lived today.) Unlike Sophie de Condorcet, she did not believe women should have the vote. And so, for much of her political life, Manon hid behind her husband. It was when she was in prison, writing her memoirs, that she found her own voice. Quinn portrays Manon's conflict between her passion for politics and her traditional beliefs very well. She also brings to the forefront the sexual assault Manon experienced as a child, at the hands of one of her father's apprentices, an episode that was censored from earlier editions of her memoir. This early trauma cast a shadow over Manon's later sexual experiences and relations with men. Although she is faithful to her husband, she feels powerfully attracted to a rising politician who is very much in love with her. Her confession to her husband casts a damper on their marriage, until the tragic end comes. In the fifth chapter, E. Knight tells the story of Charlotte Corday, a young woman from Caen who came to Paris to assassinate Jean-Paul Marat, one of the bloodthirstiest leaders of the revolution. Charlotte spent most of her life in a convent, and was cast out on her own after the National Assembly closed the convents. Her father was too poor to take her in, so she lived in the household of a distant cousin, where she read political newspapers by Marat's opponents, the Girondins. Convinced that Marat was ruining the country, she decided that the only way to save France was to assassinate him. Famously, at her trial, she said, "I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand." There is a second narrator in this story: Pauline Léon, a working-class woman who helps to run a chocolate shop in Paris. She and her friends, including Louise Audu and the actress Claire Lacombe, found a society of revolutionary women. Wielding a pike, Pauline takes to the streets to fight for the revolution and for equal rights for women. She and Charlotte represent two different sides of the revolution. (Charlotte was not a royalist. She supported the more moderate revolutionaries, while Pauline supported the radical Jacobins.) Both use violence as a means to accomplish what they think is right. I was familiar with Charlotte Corday's story before I read this book, but not so much with Pauline's. I think E. Knight does an excellent job of explaining why women like Pauline supported Marat and were devastated by his murder, and this is not easy, since I've always thought of Marat as a monster who deserved exactly what he got. (I admit, though, that my thinking is influenced by one of my favorite novels, Katherine Neville's The Eight, where Marat is the villain of the section that takes place during the French Revolution.) The last chapter, by Laura Kamoie, is narrated by Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe, a young girl considered the most beautiful woman in Paris. Émilie is the daughter of a courtesan, and she and her mother make appearances in the earlier chapters. Robespierre desires her, but she resists his advances. Émilie is married to Charles de Sartine, but she is in love with a singer, who comes to her house in secret to visit her at night. Meanwhile, her husband is having an affair with an actress. Émilie and Charles know about each other's affairs, and accept the arrangement. But Émilie's lover's visits are mistaken for those of a foreign spy, and she and her family are implicated in a conspiracy against Robespierre and sent to prison. They had nothing to do with this plot at all, if it really existed. Tragically, it is only when they are all about to be sent to the guillotine that Émilie and her husband come to love each other. Her lover had done absolutely nothing to help her when he had the chance. I had not been familiar with Émilie's story before. This chapter is powerful, and devastating. Ribbons of Scarlet is an outstanding novel. Much of it is tragic, but it is also inspiring, because it shows how women can take charge of their own lives and work to change the world. I see many parallels with our own times. These strong women must not be forgotten! Their stories deserve to be told. I congratulate all the authors who worked on this novel. Even though there are six different stories, by six different authors and with six (actually, seven) different narrators, the novel fits together very well. Note: I received a copy of the book at the American Library Association conference in Washington, DC, and had it signed by the three authors who were there.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I was so excited to win this in a Goodreads giveaway! This book has 6 authors who each wrote a different part of this story which is told from the viewpoints of 7 different women (Part 5 has 2 main characters) during the French Revolution. When I started reading it I didn't realize that they were all real people! I was expecting it to be fictional characters experiencing real events but all of these women actually existed. I found myself looking them up between chapters to try and figure out I was so excited to win this in a Goodreads giveaway! This book has 6 authors who each wrote a different part of this story which is told from the viewpoints of 7 different women (Part 5 has 2 main characters) during the French Revolution. When I started reading it I didn't realize that they were all real people! I was expecting it to be fictional characters experiencing real events but all of these women actually existed. I found myself looking them up between chapters to try and figure out which parts of their story were facts and what was created by the authors to help tell their stories. There's a P.S. section in the back of the book where each author talks about their character which was also very interesting to read. I was worried that with 6 different authors it might feel more like separate short stories, but most of these characters cross over into multiple parts of this book as the story unfolds so it still feels like a novel. If you're even a little bit familiar with this period in history you know that most of the endings are not happy and this book does not spare any of the gory details. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes to read historical fiction.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    After sitting on this for a bit, I'm going to give this 4 true stars, up from my initial 3.5. This book was a heck of an undertaking since there were SIX authors and it was set during one of the most momentous historical events in the history of Western Civilization (aka The French Revolution). I'm a huge history nerd, but I'm more of a WWI/WWII kind of girl so this is before my time and I can tell you I learned a TON. What initially drew me to this book was that it was all about real women from After sitting on this for a bit, I'm going to give this 4 true stars, up from my initial 3.5. This book was a heck of an undertaking since there were SIX authors and it was set during one of the most momentous historical events in the history of Western Civilization (aka The French Revolution). I'm a huge history nerd, but I'm more of a WWI/WWII kind of girl so this is before my time and I can tell you I learned a TON. What initially drew me to this book was that it was all about real women from this time period who served in various roles throughout the French Revolution. The forward was written by Allison Pataki and she made an observation that never really occurred to me before. She talked about how the women of the book I was about to read might sound really progressive...Almost as if they belong in today's time and not in the 1790s. She mentioned that women have always been involved in causes to advance rights of ourselves and others, but it was never written about in our textbooks. Why? Simply, women weren't writing the history they were a big part of. Men were. And there you have it. I was concerned that with so many authors it might be choppy or feel like it wasn't all one story. Let that fear fall by the wayside because I didn't notice at all. I thought each story had something to offer and was extremely descriptive (almost as if you were there), but not boring at all. I like how after you finished reading a particularly character's section, they made an effort to let you know how that character fared from the perspective of the next character. This was extremely well done, but for some reason I'm holding back on giving the 5th star. I can't really say why. I would blame me, not the book. One word of advice: this is definitely not a book to rush through. I admit I kind of had to so that may have been the problem. Thank you to Edelweiss, William Morrow & Company, Kate Quinn, Sophie Perinot, Laura Kamoie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Heather Webb and Allison Pataki (who wrote the forward), for giving me the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book. Review Date: 11/4/19 Publication Date: 10/01/19

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    "The Philosopher" by Stephanie Dray Set in the time before the revolution, a young female philosopher fights for justice and independence in her world. Without being heavy-handed, this short story sets the tone in France at the time, raising several points of conflict all through an upper crust lens. The heroine runs in a more liberal circle and is hoping for change. It's interesting because, though she chafes at the fact that women are owned, she almost can't fathom equality for women, as much "The Philosopher" by Stephanie Dray Set in the time before the revolution, a young female philosopher fights for justice and independence in her world. Without being heavy-handed, this short story sets the tone in France at the time, raising several points of conflict all through an upper crust lens. The heroine runs in a more liberal circle and is hoping for change. It's interesting because, though she chafes at the fact that women are owned, she almost can't fathom equality for women, as much as she wishes for it. The romance is an interesting one, borne of mutual admiration and compatible intellects, rather than passion. A solid story, one that will have me picking up books by Stephanie Dray. ★★★★ "The Revolutionary" by Heather Webb There's much less development to this story, but it's also much shorter, so it didn't bother me too much. Where the first story focused on an aristocrat, this one focuses on a flower-seller who turns revolutionary, fighting to make her world better. It's a great follow-up to "The Philosopher" because they're both fighting for change but for very different reasons and in very different circumstances. The heroine, Louise, feels a bit like an every-woman rather than a specific character, but I think that works for this story, which captures the role of women in fomenting revolution and marching on Versailles. The point isn't that Louise is special in some way; she's like every other peasant woman and becomes a leader by chance. ★★★½ "The Princess" by Sophie Perinot From the perspective of Madame Élisabeth, sister to King Louis XVI, "The Princess" covers the period of the revolution in which France briefly became a constitutional monarchy, after the royal family's attempt to flee Paris failed. The historical aspects are interesting, but the story's slightly boring because this version of Élisabeth is flat and uninteresting. All she cares about are shoes, the annoyance of the rebellion, and God. Her only real sense of conflict in the story is whether she made the right choice in following and supporting her brother rather than becoming a nun, and she does not change or evolve at all over the course of the 80-90 pages of short story. That may very likely be the truth of the woman, but she didn't make for a compelling main character. Not bad but a trifle tedious. ★★½ "The Politician" by Kate Quinn Though not up to the standard of Quinn's full-length novels I've read, "The Politician" was pretty interesting. The heroine, Manon, is the wife of an influential politician and essentially writes everything he says. She's an interesting study, because she believes in a woman's proper place behind her husband, but she's got all the strength, drive, political ability, and intelligence in the relationship. Obviously, she's not my favorite heroine, but she does remind me of certain women of an older generation who, despite being independent and clever, firmly believe in the patriarchy's messages. It causes a jarring dissonance in their character that everyone sees and feels but them. ★★★ "The Assassin" by E. Knight There's a change in format here to dual POV. "The Assassin" alternates between Pauline, a radical revolutionary and advocate for women's rights, who calls for the death of all of the leaders of the least radical faction, the Girondins, and Charlotte, a nun turned assassin, hoping to end the revolution by figuratively cutting off its head, the newspaperman Marat. This installment's particularly interesting in the way it dovetails women from alternate sides of the revolution, both extreme in entirely different ways. There's a hopelessness to this installment, more so even than the prior ones. By the end, the hope for positive change is dying away, and the violence shows no sign of ending. ★★★★ "The Beauty" by Laura Kamoie Émilie Sainte-Amaranthe has been in each of the stories, and her story is as beautifully tragic as one might expect. There's an inevitability to this story that drains some of the tension, but by this point in Ribbons of Scarlet, it's easy to get the main thrust of this anthology: women were powerful forces in the revolution, which ultimately punished them for their daring. ★★★½ Overall, this anthology deserves four stars, as the stories themselves are quite good, and the way they dovetail into a novel is cool. However, to make the sections clear, there are only seven chapters in this book (one per author and an epilogue). The length of the chapters made the stories feel tedious in a way that having regular chapters like a novel (or even some anthologies) would not have. Thus my enjoyment dropped though I was able to adjust my ratings per story based on what I felt they deserved. Otherwise, my only other comment is that, given how frequently we encounter most of these heroines, I wish I'd felt more invested in any of them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Collaboration of six talented female writers brings an epic story about historical female figures, who came from different backgrounds, but had one common goal to give women a voice. They were passionate about politics, which wasn’t a place for women to be meddling in. But they did. Paris, 1786. Sophie de Grouchy, 22 years old, comes from minor aristocratic family. Her uncle Charles is a magistrate, taking charitable cases of defending poor during the time of the French Revolution. Since she can Collaboration of six talented female writers brings an epic story about historical female figures, who came from different backgrounds, but had one common goal to give women a voice. They were passionate about politics, which wasn’t a place for women to be meddling in. But they did. Paris, 1786. Sophie de Grouchy, 22 years old, comes from minor aristocratic family. Her uncle Charles is a magistrate, taking charitable cases of defending poor during the time of the French Revolution. Since she can’t marry a man she loves, she wants to devote herself to the causes she assists her uncle with, “crusading on behalf of condemned peasants.” Major-general Lafayette, who served in America under General George Washington, is one of the wealthiest men in France. And Sophie hopes to “recruit that wealth and influence” to her and her uncle’s cause. Instead, Lafayette suggests Nicolas de Condorcet, a prodigy “in philosophy, science, economics, and mathematics.” Condorcet, a man of bit peculiar manners, when trying to explain his scientific point, the guests flee the room. But what time presents later, is a man of great significance not only on historical level but also personal. The story explores his forward thinking of women and their rights. Sophie accepts his proposal of marriage. She likes their arrangement. She likes her freedom, but she can’t bear purposelessness. Thus she continues to be busy with the cause. Even starting a school for poor women. Louise Audu is one of her students. She is a fruit seller and a passionate disbeliever that anything can change. Even though, she respects Marquise de Condorcet, she has her own opinions about aristocrats. When she meets Pauline and observes her bravery, then she wants to make a difference. Her voice is very real and raw and also entertaining with her opinionated mind. Princess Elisabeth, sister of King Louis XVI, is pious. She believes “in divine right of kings as fervently as she believes in God.” But she is not blind to the plight of common people. She is devoted to charity not politics. The voice of Elisabeth is woven into this story to present different points of view. Manon Roland is married to Jean-Marie Roland, minister of the interior. When she sees the streets of Paris running with blood, she can no longer give herself excuses for not writing. She picks up a pen and drafts her husband’s speeches. She knows his style; she just adds some boldness and strength. Pauline is a leader of highly respected society of women activists. “To end the hypocrisy and the blatant disregard for the lives of those who kept this country alive – peasants, soldiers, women.” She has had enough of empty words, she is all about violence. “If our country was going to make its true transformation, it had to be all the way. No king living, and no heirs to take up his mantle. Which meant that his wife and his children needed to follow him to the guillotine, and soon. Their lives were a necessary sacrifice.” The story explores-well both sides of the story. It is easier for aristocratic women to fight with words when they are well-provided for. It is a different story for those poor women, who have been not only voiceless but also very hungry. Words are not enough any longer, thus they resort to violence. I highly applaud the two extraordinary aristocratic women, Sophie and Manon. They were ahead of their time and they stood for what they believed in. Manon felt the most free, when she was in prison, knowing that the guillotine was inevitable for her, she wrote without any restrains, with every fiber in her body she expressed what she believed in. (Her words were smuggled out of prison). With immersive prose and smart dialogue, the characters shine with ambitions, fighting for the free most important words in French history: liberty, equality, and fraternity. The story is rich in historical details, bringing key events of the French Revolution and more; offering phenomenal cast of historical figures, some more likeable than the others. And above-all paying honor to the women, who took the leading roles in fighting for the most important triumphs and inspiring changes of the tumultuous French Revolution. @FB/BestHistoricalFiction

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kris Waldherr

    A deeply moving pageturner by six immensely talented authors at the top of their historical fiction game. RIBBONS OF SCARLET elegantly unfolds the complex history of the French Revolution through the eyes of seven real-life women, each representing a different stratum of society. Though the novel weighs in at over 500 pages, I tore through it in less than 24 hours and read the final sections with my eyes awash in tears. In our current age of #metoo and cultural and political clashes, RIBBONS OF A deeply moving pageturner by six immensely talented authors at the top of their historical fiction game. RIBBONS OF SCARLET elegantly unfolds the complex history of the French Revolution through the eyes of seven real-life women, each representing a different stratum of society. Though the novel weighs in at over 500 pages, I tore through it in less than 24 hours and read the final sections with my eyes awash in tears. In our current age of #metoo and cultural and political clashes, RIBBONS OF SCARLET offers a potent feminist reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Highly recommended. (Many thanks to William Morrow Books for the ARC.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crystal King

    Wow, what a daredevil of a read! This is a wonderful novel, written by six talented authors, telling the tale of the French Revolution through the eyes of six women from the past. I am in awe of the structure of this novel and how they managed to weave six different narratives together into one cohesive story that sweeps the reader through the chaos and politics of this tumultuous time in French (and in some ways, American) history. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and all of the varying points Wow, what a daredevil of a read! This is a wonderful novel, written by six talented authors, telling the tale of the French Revolution through the eyes of six women from the past. I am in awe of the structure of this novel and how they managed to weave six different narratives together into one cohesive story that sweeps the reader through the chaos and politics of this tumultuous time in French (and in some ways, American) history. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and all of the varying points of view. It is unusual to cheer on protagonists and antagonists at the same time but I found myself doing so because of the interesting way this story was told.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    From the moment I heard about this book, it became one of my most highly-anticipated novels of 2019. Six of the best historical fiction authors, writing about the women who shaped the French Revolution—I couldn’t help but be excited! These extraordinarily talented women have captured the chaos, the passion and conviction of that era with with empathy for all sides caught up in the events of late 18th century France. Each author has written about this time of political and social upheaval from a From the moment I heard about this book, it became one of my most highly-anticipated novels of 2019. Six of the best historical fiction authors, writing about the women who shaped the French Revolution—I couldn’t help but be excited! These extraordinarily talented women have captured the chaos, the passion and conviction of that era with with empathy for all sides caught up in the events of late 18th century France. Each author has written about this time of political and social upheaval from a different point of view, telling the story from all angles. It was fascinating to hear from six women from all walks of life, representing all of the conflicting sides, and being able to feel compassion and sympathy for all of them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this book through Goodreads. This is a wonderful, compelling novel concentrating on six main female characters during the French Revolution and written by six authors. I wasn’t sure how the continuity of the story would be with different writing styles. Not to worry. The flow of the stories and styles was seamless and provided a masterful tale of what it must have been like to be a woman during that era.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jordan

    I took my time with this book. After each part I was looking up the women. Not knowing much about this time period I found it so interesting. I can’t begin to count how many times I cried. After each part I would say that was my favorite, then no that was my favorite. There is no favorite. If I were forced to come up with one negative it would be I wish it were longer. Grab a glass of wine a box of tissues and sit back for a great ride.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I read a lot of historical fiction but this was honestly the first book I've read about the French Revolution. I knew that I had to read Ribbons of Scarlet as soon as it was announced and it didn't disappoint! These six historical fiction heavy hitters have seamlessly written a book with relatable characters, each telling their side of the cause. I honestly was surprised at the credits to find that each author had written a chapter on a separate character. Their voices blended so well! Job well I read a lot of historical fiction but this was honestly the first book I've read about the French Revolution. I knew that I had to read Ribbons of Scarlet as soon as it was announced and it didn't disappoint! These six historical fiction heavy hitters have seamlessly written a book with relatable characters, each telling their side of the cause. I honestly was surprised at the credits to find that each author had written a chapter on a separate character. Their voices blended so well! Job well done, ladies!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "Ribbons of Scarlet" is a fantastic story of the French Revolution told in six parts by some of the powerhouse women authors of the historical fiction world. The French Revolution is definitely well-trodden territory for historical fiction but this book feels fresh as it gives a lot of new perspectives to such an important event through the eyes of the women who experienced it firsthand. These women are strong, principled, cunning in very different ways! This book was truly a treat! One of the "Ribbons of Scarlet" is a fantastic story of the French Revolution told in six parts by some of the powerhouse women authors of the historical fiction world. The French Revolution is definitely well-trodden territory for historical fiction but this book feels fresh as it gives a lot of new perspectives to such an important event through the eyes of the women who experienced it firsthand. These women are strong, principled, cunning in very different ways! This book was truly a treat! One of the things that I love best about reading both non-fiction history and historical fiction is the lessons that they hold for the present day and those nuggets are most definitely strewn throughout this book. Women did not often have a platform during this time but all of these women find small and big ways to make waves and stand for what they believe in! Always an important lesson and one that is definitely well done throughout this book! Each of the six sections of the book is written by a different author but the whole story flows while giving us different perspectives and showing different aspects of the French Revolution. I love this concept and I think it works really well to essentially breakdown super complex events into something that is easier to follow. If you're a historical fiction fan, you may have caught some of the authors in this book in other History 360 books such as "A Day of Fire" and "A Sea of Sorrow" among others. They have found a really great way to tackle some of the big events of history. "Ribbons of Scarlet" is the first History 360 book to be traditionally published, which will hopefully bring these stories to more people. The concept is much the same as the other books although this book really felt more cohesive and a whole story rather than only showing various perspectives. The characters that we're introduced to are really fantastic and they are so different. We meet some of the great thinkers of the revolutions, the students, the traditionalists, and the muscles of France. They come from different experiences and classes. All of them are women. All of them seem to be stymied in some way because of their sex. All of them find ways to make their voices heard. Present day, when it feels like there is not much you can do about the things going on in the world, this book is seriously inspiring!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Rodenberg

    I received a free Advanced Reader Edition of RIBBONS OF SCARLET at the Historical Novel Society conference so this a legitimate prerelease review. The book is unique in that six authors collaborated on it. Each wrote a section told from the point of view of a different female historical figure during the French Revolution. So six authors, six main characters. Does it work as a novel? Amazing well. I didn’t want to put it down. The main characters—women drawn from various levels of society—show up I received a free Advanced Reader Edition of RIBBONS OF SCARLET at the Historical Novel Society conference so this a legitimate prerelease review. The book is unique in that six authors collaborated on it. Each wrote a section told from the point of view of a different female historical figure during the French Revolution. So six authors, six main characters. Does it work as a novel? Amazing well. I didn’t want to put it down. The main characters—women drawn from various levels of society—show up in the other chapters as secondary or cameo characters. As you progress through the book, you get to know all the characters better and better, and you’re thrilled to see them intersect with the other characters’ lives. Their challenges—political, family, economic, philosophical, physical dangers, and love interests—overlap, giving the reader deep insight into the French Revolution from its hopeful inception to its disastrous end at the guillotine. For me, it’s the women’s personal stories that resonate the most. These women struggle to be heard and to be leaders in their own right. They want to build unique personal relationships in a society that reflects their values. As you might expect, that wasn’t easy in late 18th century France. You might be surprised how relevant and touching their struggles feel today. So hats off to the six brave authors who banded together to give voice to these six largely forgotten women. They created a beautifully researched, entertaining, and inspirational novel that takes women’s historical fiction to a new level. Enjoy it! I loved it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Clarissa

    It seems like forever since I've written one of my long-winded, lengthy reviews, but here we are. Ribbons of Scarlet is a title I've spoken a great deal about in the last few months and even though I am publishing this today, you will see my post about it at least two more times, so my apologies in advance. However, I feel given the current state of things, women (and men!) could benefit from reading and learning about life in Revolutionary France. I find that looking at the past can always help It seems like forever since I've written one of my long-winded, lengthy reviews, but here we are. Ribbons of Scarlet is a title I've spoken a great deal about in the last few months and even though I am publishing this today, you will see my post about it at least two more times, so my apologies in advance. However, I feel given the current state of things, women (and men!) could benefit from reading and learning about life in Revolutionary France. I find that looking at the past can always help us learn in the present. Now, women didn't have the rights that we do today. So whether they were protesting at Versailles and begging for bread or they grumbled and tried to survive in what was an oppressive regime, they were progressive because they refused to sit idly by. Even though the new motto sort of laid it plain: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Fraternity. Brotherhood. They were not only fighting for survival, but they also were doing some truly remarkable things, fighting for the rights of women, for the freedom of slaves, for the betterment of things. It was rather progressive for the time period. Far ahead of many countries. Also, bear in mind...they risked their heads too. Everything could b put on the line if you were 'rebellious'. It didn't matter your background either, as we well know. If a King could lose his head...then who was a mere peasant? No one was safe. In my opinion, it takes a special brand of author to each write a portion of a story and to have all of it be part of a cohesive story. But it's a stunningly beautiful collaboration. I've read each author before and I was not at all disappointed with their work. Their efforts at truly beautiful and stunningly written. They don't shy away from the harshness of the period--in Stephanie's section, for example, we meet Sophie whilst she is witnessing a public execution, which doubles as a torture session. The more interested the crowd, the slower the executioner goes, but the moment the crowd loses interest, they make the ending swift. It was not a particularly easy thing to read, but knowing that this actually occurred and that people watched? It makes it more difficult to fathom. Furthermore, the fact that people would dip their handkerchiefs and such in the blood as a memento is even more horrifying. Still, Sophie was a wonderful opener to the book, her section is engrossing and it was wonderful to get lost in her life. I especially felt for her, given her frustration at the binds put on women because of their sex. When women married, their identity was often sacrificed in order to be a mother and a wife. Sophie's intelligence, frankness, and wit lead her to her husband and invariably her survival. Stephanie Dray is quite possibly at her best here. What I really loved was how each of the authors took their subject(s) and made them come off the page in such a striking way. For me, I had heard of some of them, but others were lost in history to me until now. Sophie de Grouchy, Louise Reine Audu, Princess Élisabeth, Manon Roland, Charlotte Corday, Pauline Leon, and Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe. Seven women...seven exceptional women. All so different, yet so unforgettable. I knew of Princess Elisabeth, of course. I was delighted to see Sophie Perinot writing her section; knowing full well how excellent she writes. Elisabeth was in quite safe hands; for these were the hands that wrote of Marguerite, the daughter of Catherine de Medici. Reading her narrative from the perspective of a royal is fascinating and for me, added to my sympathy for them. Do I believe them to be monsters? No. Do I believe the King and Queen to be good rulers? No. What I believe is that they should have been given the choice to flee with their children to live out quiet lives. As we know, that doesn't happen. Reading of the first death by guillotine was like a punch to the gut; Ms. Perinot has the innate ability to pull your heart out, stomp on it and leave you wanting more. Something I particularly enjoyed was reading of other characters in other sections. For example, in part one, Sophie is our main character, but in part two, Louise, our narrator, has attended a school that Sophie has founded and learned to read there. It's a fascinating way to tie everything together. A ribbon, if you will, that winds itself skillfully throughout the entire novel. Reading about the best efforts of the upper classes to improve the life of the poor was both touching and sad. Sophie was a woman who truly wanted to help women less fortunate than herself, but sadly, it doesn't work. Louise joins with others and marches upon Versailles. Perhaps it was just me, but I saw parallels between that and the Women's March that takes place yearly now. Each character had such heart and such power. I don't think I'll ever forget a single one of them, which I am certain was a goal of the authors. To shed light on those who were relegated, as many women were, to background characters. I've been anxiously awaiting this book since I first heard about it and I was not disappointed at all. It's truly a wonder. A true tour de force that shall have your emotions begging you to get off the roller coaster; but you're an enthusiast for the thrill of it. I couldn't put it down...and even after I finished, I still kept it close. (Nerdy, but true.) I am so excited for this coming Saturday and getting to meet all six authors. my first book signing ever and there's going to be six (!!) of my favorites there. Totally over the moon.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Davida Chazan

    This unique book brings six, talented historical fiction authors together to tell the story of seven (well, almost eight) women who played important roles in the French Revolution. Find out what I thought of this special collaboration through my review on my blog here. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2019/09/2...

  23. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    Epic was the first thing that I thought of when I saw this book. There are six different writers in this book and that fact alone suggests that this book was going to have a huge scope. But to be honest, the amount of authors that contributed to this book, made me a little nervous. There are a number of powerhouse writers here and all of them independently successful and excellent authors, but how would their varying styles work together and mesh into one novel? That was my biggest hold out on Epic was the first thing that I thought of when I saw this book. There are six different writers in this book and that fact alone suggests that this book was going to have a huge scope. But to be honest, the amount of authors that contributed to this book, made me a little nervous. There are a number of powerhouse writers here and all of them independently successful and excellent authors, but how would their varying styles work together and mesh into one novel? That was my biggest hold out on this one. I know that many of these same authors have collaborated together to write multiple other works—but I haven’t read any of those other works so I was slightly nervous taking this one on, but I was so curious about the time period they would be exploring and I curiosity got the better of me. I don’t think I have ever read a novel like this before—if you are looking for a truly unique reading experience, then this is the book for you. Was there a lot going on—-YES. But was it a mess—absolutely NOT. With six people writing seven different narratives/POVs to form one larger story, I was so fearful that it would be confusing and that I would be lost and overwhelmed but I really wasn’t. I was so impressed each author’s contribution and perspective and marveled at the way this one came together. While this book is a historical read, it was so well written that I forgot I was reading a history book rather than a fictionalized account of a character or historical figure. Each woman was so intriguing that I often found myself Googling them and wanting to know so much about each one and the best thing about each character was their experience was so different from the next woman and it kept things interesting. The only thing I felt a little torn about was the fact that each woman’s story was condensed which left me wanting to find out so much more about each woman, but also gave me enough to enjoy the larger story. I think each of these women could have had their own full length book but my guess is that it was done this way to help conserve space. I found that I had to slow down with this one to savor it. I didn’t want to rush it, but rather savor each story along the way. The subject matter wasn’t fluffy—in fact it was a little heavier than I was anticipating but I thought the writing each author provided was critical to the enjoyment of the subject. This was an excellent read and I relished picking it up each night. I love the time period and the background and history provided in this book but the history was told with such elegance and ease from each author that I found myself devouring it as often as I could even though I promised myself I would savor it! Well done ladies—-well done this was an impressive undertaking! See my full review here

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    "They killed us for being too political, too intelligent, too opinionated, too daring, too pretty." "The crowd around my guillotine hushes and cried, but around others the people cheered and celebrated. Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations." Ribbons of Scarlet is a poignant, masterful telling of the French Revolution. It had everything I look for in a well written historical fiction novel. The French "They killed us for being too political, too intelligent, too opinionated, too daring, too pretty." "The crowd around my guillotine hushes and cried, but around others the people cheered and celebrated. Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations." Ribbons of Scarlet is a poignant, masterful telling of the French Revolution. It had everything I look for in a well written historical fiction novel. The French Revolution was an extremely brutal time in history. Many different extremist groups formed, all with their own opinions of how France should be ruled (or lack thereof). Historians and authors have a lot of information to cover if they want to do this multifaceted historical event justice. I think that these six authors did a fantastic job of including the various viewpoints found in this era. Unlike the vast majority of most history text books though, in Ribbons of Scarlet women are more than just a mere footnote -- they are the protagonists in the story. The authors found a way to give these women a voice even though they were born at a time that women empowerment was a foreign notion. Each narrator in this book has captivating story to tell; we get to see their roles in the French Revolution, their unending courage, their undying love for their country, and their hopes for a better tomorrow. I can't recommend this book enough. I've read countless books on WWII, and as much as I love those, it's important to learn about other times in history too. When I was in school, I brushed off teachings of the French Revolution - it didn't involve America, therefore I didn't care. After reading this book, my eyes have been opened and I am looking forward to reading more about the French Revolution in the future (something I never thought I'd say). Heck, I would read about any topic if it was written by these amazing authors. Well done ladies... well done. Thanks so much to @tlcbooktours and @williammorrowbooks for my free copy!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate Eminhizer

    When your favorite authors join together to write a book there are sometimes no words to explain the level of happiness that comes. There aren't too many books that regale the French Revolution in a digestible format. These talented authors do that and more. Sophie, Louise, Princess Elizabeth, Manon, Pauline, Charlotte and the beautiful Emilie don't have anything in common aside from the fact that they are women who helped shaped the course of a nation. The authors give us women who loved and When your favorite authors join together to write a book there are sometimes no words to explain the level of happiness that comes. There aren't too many books that regale the French Revolution in a digestible format. These talented authors do that and more. Sophie, Louise, Princess Elizabeth, Manon, Pauline, Charlotte and the beautiful Emilie don't have anything in common aside from the fact that they are women who helped shaped the course of a nation. The authors give us women who loved and laughed and cried and bled; who believed in a cause despite being told is was not their place to have an opinion. This book has all the grit and despair, joy and exultation that one would expect from a novel about the French Revolution. These aren't easy women to like, but they are women to respect. This is a wonderfully crafted novel that weaves a complete tapestry of the turmoil of the time period through the stories of seven women that time forgot.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Very interesting read about a horrific time in history: The French Revolution. I really liked that this was a collection of 6 novellas by 6 different authors that told the stories of 6 women who's lives were intertwined.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary Tilghman

    These terrific authors have done it again. I haven't read all their work but I knew I wanted to read this after reading MY DEAR HAMILTON, THE ALICE NETWORK and MEET ME IN MONACO. I was not disappointed. Six stories of six amazing women. I can't say which one I liked best—they are such fascinating people, both rich and poor, educated and not—but taken together their stories illustrate the tumultuous days of the French Revolution in passionate, personal ways. I gasped. I held my breath and I bit These terrific authors have done it again. I haven't read all their work but I knew I wanted to read this after reading MY DEAR HAMILTON, THE ALICE NETWORK and MEET ME IN MONACO. I was not disappointed. Six stories of six amazing women. I can't say which one I liked best—they are such fascinating people, both rich and poor, educated and not—but taken together their stories illustrate the tumultuous days of the French Revolution in passionate, personal ways. I gasped. I held my breath and I bit my lip as I read these stories. Gripping in every way. This is a telling of the French Revolution I'll never forget.

  28. 5 out of 5

    April

    I got this book as an ARC at a library conference. I love stories that center women and I’m fascinated by stories of the French Revolution, so I really wanted to love this book. In the end, though, it was just okay to me. I think it tries to do too much. Each chapter doesn’t really provide enough character development for us to really get to know each of these women what with trying to cover the women and the historical occurrences in short chapter-size vignettes. So you’re often left feeling I got this book as an ARC at a library conference. I love stories that center women and I’m fascinated by stories of the French Revolution, so I really wanted to love this book. In the end, though, it was just okay to me. I think it tries to do too much. Each chapter doesn’t really provide enough character development for us to really get to know each of these women what with trying to cover the women and the historical occurrences in short chapter-size vignettes. So you’re often left feeling not as connected to the narrators as you’d like to be. Also, I would’ve loved if they’d given a chapter to one of the Black freed women who came to Metropolitan France to support the Revolution and speak out against slavery in the colonies. Alas, those women of color only get referred to in passing by the main white characters. All in all, I like what this book was attempting to do, even if it was a bit of a letdown and in execution.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women is a heartbreaking book. The six authors told the stories of women who were intimately involved with the French Revolution, as instigators, writers, politicians, survivors. Some of the women were executed on the guillotine. However, even the survivors lost loved ones, their purpose, their dignity. The authors point out that women are usually the losers in revolution, in marriage, in life. And, in the 18th century, no matter how they Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women is a heartbreaking book. The six authors told the stories of women who were intimately involved with the French Revolution, as instigators, writers, politicians, survivors. Some of the women were executed on the guillotine. However, even the survivors lost loved ones, their purpose, their dignity. The authors point out that women are usually the losers in revolution, in marriage, in life. And, in the 18th century, no matter how they started out, they were crushed under weight of men's power and cruelty. While Ribbons of Scarlet is not an easy book to summarize, the stories flow easily from one to another. Each author focused on one woman, but their lives intersected, and Heather Webb, who wrote the second part, introduced most of the characters. Stephanie Dray kicked off the book with the story of Sophie de Grouchy, "The Philosopher", a woman who married a man who treated her as an intellectual equal, but she learned to love him. Each author selected a woman who helped to shape the French Revolution. Heather Webb said they shaped it "through their pens, their speeches, their battles in the streets, and their sacrifices. Webb selected Louise "Reine" Audu, a radical activist caught up in the mob violence, whose life ended tragically. And, Webb emphasizes women's fierce nature as she writes of "The Revolutionary". Sophie Perinot took on the third woman, another woman who changed her life and hopes for a man, her brother, and whose end was tragic. Perinot writes of "The Princess", "Madame Elizabeth", sister of Louis XVI. When her brother asked her to give up her hopes of being a nun, she stays by his side. But, she's a complex character, as Perinot shows. Manon Roland is a woman who became a politician's wife. In today's world, she herself would be the brilliant politician and writer. Instead, she became the force behind her husband, as Kate Quinn shows in part four, "The Politician". But, she was not respected for her brilliant words. Instead, she and her husband were mocked because it was known she wrote his speeches. This force behind the man was another woman whose life was cut short. E. Knight writes of the one woman with a name many will recognize, Charlotte Corday, "The Assassin" who tried to end the bloodshed of the revolution by killing the man she thought was one of the forces behind it, Marat. She thought he had incited massacres in his newspaper, and she hoped to save the Republic. Laura Kamoie tells of the tragedy that may have finally hit home with the people in the chapter "The Beauty". She writes of Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe Sartine, the daughter of a courtesan who was a young beauty. And, Emilie's story intersects with some of the other women from the very beginning when she's a young girl. Ribbons of Scarlet is not a pretty story. It spans the entire length of the French Revolution, and Napoleon is about to take the stage as Emperor by the end of the book. "By 1793, years of political unrest, revolution, and chance had transformed Paris into a city of ugliness and hate." And, many of the women of this book, actual women whose lives are portrayed in the novel, were viewed as whores. "That is the word for any woman with an opinion and a voice to express it." Sound familiar? Tragedy. I used that word numerous times in this summary. The revolution itself ended in tragedy and death for so many. You'll find women in these pages who wrote about human rights, wrote against slavery, marched for women's rights, not just the rights of men. But, what happens to those kind of women? People "Killed women for being too political, too intelligent, too opinionated, too darling, too pretty." And, it's still going on today. The authors of Ribbons of Scarlet emphasize women's roles, and what happens to women in this noel of revolution.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    "The crowd around my guillotine hushed and cried, but around others the people cheered and celebrated. Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations. And as the blade fell, I knew France's revolution was both." This is a story that is told through the eyes of seven different women during the French revolution. What initially drew me to this novel was the fact that I had never read a story about this time period "The crowd around my guillotine hushed and cried, but around others the people cheered and celebrated. Beautiful, terrible humanity. Capable of the most inspiring and creative genius and the greatest and most unimaginable abominations. And as the blade fell, I knew France's revolution was both." This is a story that is told through the eyes of seven different women during the French revolution. What initially drew me to this novel was the fact that I had never read a story about this time period and was eager to learn more. I especially loved that it was told from the perspective of women, ranging from the rich to the poor. Despite their varying backgrounds, they all shared a common belief: that women deserved equality, liberty, and the right to be heard. Whether or not you supported each individual women's beliefs, it was admirable to see the passion and strength behind their convictions. They truly believed in their individual rights and held their heads high despite the consequences. I personally loved Sophie ("The Philosopher") and Louise's ("The Revolutionary") stories the most. This book really drew me in with their voices. In contrast, I didn't love Elisabeth's ("The Princess") story and at times, I thought the book slowed in these parts. Fortunately, the book picked up with the remaining women's stories and I really became invested in them. With every story about revolutions, there are moments where it seems unjust. It brings into focus all of sacrifices that had to be made, by both women and men, to achieve what we have today. If you are looking to read an inspiring and educational novel, written by 6 brilliant authors, I would recommend this one! Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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