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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Reading Tipton's novel, it's easy to wonder why posterity has remembered William Wordsworth so well but largely forgotten his French lover. Annette Vallon gave birth to Wordsworth's daughter on the eve of the French Revolution and became a prime influence upon the poet's artistic development.
Here the headstrong Annette is brought vividly to life, a woman of deep feelings and ideals separate and at times in direction opposition to those of the famous English poet. Both antirevolutionary and progressive, guided by conscience and fury at her brother's execution, Annette forged a dangerous secret life as the masked Blonde Chouan -- a royalist raider armed with stiletto and gun who relieved revolutionary thugs of the money that oiled Robespierre's insatiable guillotines. Hiding refugees in a former hunting lodge, creeping at night past entombed bodies to engineer a prison break, saving a barge full of prisoners from drowning, Annette contrasted sharply in her deeds with Wordsworth's moody ramblings across the Lake District.
Annette however, believed in love, and in the mold of French heroines such as Joan of Arc, was distinctly ahead of her time. War separated her from Wordsworth for over a decade, yet throughout she remained true to him, a man naively committed to a movement that destroyed her family. In Annette Vallon, Tipton has achieved a tour de force of historical literature, fascinating for both the characters and the chaotic bloody era in which they lived. (Holiday 2007 Selection)