Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution

Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution

by James Tipton


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Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution by James Tipton

Born into a world of wealth and pleasure, Annette Vallon enjoys the privileges of aristocracy, but a burning curiosity and headstrong independence set her apart from other women of her class. Spoiled by the novels of Rousseau, she refuses to be married unless it is for passion. Her stubborn devotion to her romantic principles bears the sweetest fruit when William Wordsworth, a young English poet, enters her life. She will be his mistress, his muse, his obsession. But theirs is a love that will test Annette in unexpected ways, bringing great joy and gravest peril in a dark time of chaos, upheaval, and death.

Set amid the terror and excitement of the French Revolution, Annette Vallon is an enthralling and evocative tale that captures the courageous spirit of a remarkable woman who, for too long, has been relegated to the shadows of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060822224
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/04/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 873,995
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

James Tipton holds a Ph.D. in English literature and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives with his family.

Read an Excerpt

Annette Vallon
A Novel of the French Revolution

Chapter One

Remember That

But may you never have a revolution in this country," the tall American said.

We were dining at the grand house of my older sister and her husband. The American gentleman had come down from Paris in a golden carriage on some business regarding my brother-in-law's vineyard. I had not paid attention to what it was: I was only sixteen and fresh out of convent school.

"In France you enjoy the most graceful lifestyle in the world," he continued. "You value philosophy, literature, art, music, all the sciences, more than any culture I know, including my own," and he laughed. "But your ­people do not have any representation in the government. To that end, I hope they may be educated, but gradually—for if they were thrust headlong into a freedom which they have never known, it would be chaos. A revolution here would not be as it was in my country, against a foreign power; a revolution here would be . . . a disaster. But forgive me for presuming to speak on a subject of which you know far more than I. What do you think, Mademoiselle?" And his blue eyes suddenly looked directly at me.

I frantically tried to think of something, one line from Rousseau that I had talked about with the girls because I had applied it to the despotic Sister Angèle.

"I think that since Might cannot produce Right, the only legitimate authority in human societies is agreement."

The American laughed. "That must be an enlightened convent school your parents sent you to," he said.

"I'm afraid, Monsieur, that someof us read Rousseau in secret."

"Well, for now," he said, "Rousseau may be best kept behind closed doors in France and pondered upon by fine young minds." And he turned to the men.

We were on to the duck with orange now. Our guest took a bite of the meat but held back on the sauce. I was impatient for the steaming sauceboat, placed in front of him, with its mélange of caramelized sugar, lemon and orange juices, white wine, and red currant jelly.

A servant poured a ruby wine into the one glass I was allowed at dinner. I was sure it was my brother-in-law's vintage, which he said smelled of green peppers and pea pods. He was championing a red wine in the land of famous whites. I reached for my glass, then caught Papa's eye and became aware of a curious tension at the table. Our guest, my father had told me, was the finest wine connoisseur in the New World and had a peculiarity about trying new wines. He thought they were only truly appreciated in the context of food, so he waited until dinner to make his final decisions. He had come all the way from Paris now for this moment. All his pleasant and insightful conversation, all of my sister's dinner plans and Cook's lengthy preparations, were leading to this.

The American drank some water, raised his wineglass, inspected the color within—I noticed a flame from the hearth reflected, shimmering, in the burgundy depths—swirled it gently, tipped, sniffed it—would he smell peppers and pea pods? He closed his eyes, sipped, held, and almost chewed the wine. He seemed oblivious to us, in a world of pure concentration.

I could smell the sauce, see its curling steam, and very much wanted him to pass it to me. But there was no rushing the moment. A smile gradually spread across his handsome face. He opened his blue eyes. "Monsieur Vincent," he said, "it exceeds all expectations. It must be those cool limestone caves you keep it in."

The table relaxed. Maybe he would now pour the sauce. But he held the eye of my brother-in-law. This was a moment of business transacted between gentlemen, at a table laden with duck and wine. "I will take ten cases and, with your permission, the soil samples I collected today back to Paris," the foreigner said.

I liked his hair. My father and brother-in-law had powdered wigs, and here was this bright red hair that seemed to shine in the candlelight.

Our guest lifted the porcelain boat and discreetly lavished his duck with the sauce that was now coming my way. He paused a moment and took in the fragrance. Then he returned to business. "And I will accept your offer to ship some vines to Virginia."

"I would be honored," my brother-in-law said.

"I will call it," said the American, "the Shenandoah grape."

I liked the name. "Pardon, Monsieur?"

"Yes, Mademoiselle?"

"Could you please say that name again?"

"Shenandoah," he said. "It is the river that runs near my home. Like your great river here. It is very beautiful, and I miss it. When I think of America, I do not think of the vast Atlantic seaboard and of our victory against the British Empire; I think of one small patch of rocky land on top of a cliff overlooking the river. So you remember that, Mademoiselle," and he looked at me again, his eyes twinkling.

"Remember what, Monsieur?"

"To thine own land be true," and he smiled, and my brother-in-law asked him to sample another wine, and their conversation went on, but it isn't part of my story.

Annette Vallon
A Novel of the French Revolution
. Copyright © by James Tipton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! What a great story - I LOVED it! James Tipton's heroine is Annette Vallon, a French woman who lives during the Revolution period. She loves, lives and survives, but she does more than just survive! She soon finds a way to fight back and performes a service with a heroic purpose. Facing grave danger and risking all she holds dear, she follows her heart and shows us what being a hero is all about. It's a fabulous adventure and a passionate love story. I hope it becomes a BEST SELLER for it is very thought provoking and a good read. Annette Vallon lingers on the soul like fine French wine on the tongue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would love to learn more about Annette Vallon! She is truly an amazing individual - such courage and spunk. This novel was long but it described her entire life so by the end I felt as if I really knew her. It was partly a passionate love story and partly an adventure. There were some moments throughout the book where I was holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next. James Tipton's writing style is very eloquent and descriptive which makes the plot even more believable. I highly recommend it.
Stacie0408 More than 1 year ago
The only French history I'd ever read was from the British-side of things. Reading Tipton's book and going through the challenges Vallon faced in life was fascinating and gave a different meaning to the previous historical fiction books I'd read. The characters have great depth and you feel as if you're in the middle of the war with Vallon and Wordsworth. Wonderful book!
LyndaT More than 1 year ago
This fact-based historical romance/adventure takes you back to the French Revolution through the eyes of an upper-middle class woman who leads a double life. Her romance with poet William Wordsworth is interesting and painful. Annette's thrilling exploits (and those of other women) keep you turning pages long after you meant to stop. The discussions of French politics are informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very pleasantly surprised - sometimes historical novels get caught up in just dramatizing factual events. Sometimes they are all fluff. This was neither - it was dynamic, interesting, but not a lesson book at all. It contained much more action than I expected; it was less of a love story of Wordsworth than the story of a woman and her life during the French Revolution - and this woman happened to be in love with a poet. I highly recommend this book - it got better and better the farther I got into it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend this beautifully written book. One of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. Its not only a beautiful romance, but it taught me a lot about the French Revolution. If you like historical fiction and romance, you will love this too!
b33 More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book because of the idea that it showed having take place during the french revolution. it showed how women were treated and how some were lucky and unlucky including the main character annette vallon. through her trials she learns true love in helping her country and protecting her child. the ending i felt could have been better but you wonder what you could expect with an indescretion with a poet from another country.
Dshill More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is historic fiction, which is my favorite. It is set in France during the French Revolution. Annette meets and falls in love with William Wordsworth. They marry in a secret ceremony and Annette has their child. They are separated during the the Revolution because William is English and may be mistaken for a spy so he has to go back to England. During their separation, Annette becomes a hero of her people. She is very brave and helps many escape death. Wordsworth, on the other hand, turns out to be a wimp. I was very disappointed in what he does later in the book. I don't think that he was worthy of Annette. It was a great read.
susreview More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. I had never heard of Annett Vallon before. This story takes place during the French Revolution. William Wordsworth is over in France visiting before the outbreak of the war.

Scholars of Wordsworth have thought most of his best work was created during this ten year period.

You'll have to read this book yourself to find out what happens. This is a real page turner- the one where you start reading, and keep turning the page, and you are still going at 1am without realizing you have just gotten lost in this book and must see what happens next.

I would recommend this to those who love real heroines and historical fiction.

A great read! You will recommend it to your friends.
skrishna on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Review for HarperCollins:Annette Vallon is a gripping tale of historical fiction that places the reader at the center of events during the French Revolution. At the beginning of the book, Annette is barely more than a child; however, through the course of the book, she morphs into a strong woman and a leader in her own right. Though the book is billed as the story of William Wordsworth¿s mistress, Annette is much more than that. Indeed, after the beginning of the book, Wordsworth only plays a minor role. The real story of the book is Annette¿s struggle to follow her conscience and make a difference in the horrible backdrop of the French Revolution. She is a heroine in her own right, and fans of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy reading her story, as presented by James Tipton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
        A Spellbinding Excellent Book! I discovered this book recently and so glad I did. It  definitely is in the couldn't put it down category. I hadn't heard of the major characters and knew little if  anything about the French Revolution and had no curiosity about it, but I was curious about how this woman's life and leadership would interact  with an English poet.  The revolution was so much of this beautifully written book that I became fascinated by the history, the way of life during these times, lost  in the story of these two amazing people, Annette and William, following them  through dramatic, suspenseful, touching lives. This is one of the best historical fictions I've ever read.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I ever read. Amazing woman and love story!!! A real treasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, took me awhile to get to the end but overall not bad.
EVKendall More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much until the end. It's a shame that history never changes nomatter how we might like the characters in these historical novels to meet with happier endings. Annette devotes her entire life to a man whom she shares the most passionate and fulfilling love, however they do not marry and have the kind of life together that they, and we as readers wish them to have. Still, it's a diverting story, entertaining and informative.
HBella More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book. Ever. It is the best book I've ever read. It made my heart ache it was so romantic and heartbreaking. I was extremely sad when I finished the book because it was over! I can't vouch for historical accuracy, but for a genuinely good read, this is your book. I haven't read it in 2 years, probably time for a re-read!
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Kailyn Murray More than 1 year ago
could not put it down. loved it! read it twice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago