Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women

Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women


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“The French Revolution comes alive through the eyes of six diverse and complex women, in the skilled hands of these amazing authors.”—Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

A breathtaking, epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—seven 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.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062916075
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 43,762
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages. She and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia.

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

Laura Kamoie is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing fiction. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters.

Heather Webb is the award-winning and international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris, The Phantom’s Apprentice, Rodin’s Lover and Becoming Josephine. Her novels have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide. Heather is also a freelance editor, public speaker and blogger. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

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Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
SusanKC 4 months ago
This is an epic story of 6 women during the struggle for liberty of the French Revolution. It was a time of terror and violence. The separate authors do not mince words as they masterfully bring to life 6 women from all walks of life during this violent time. Women struggled to have their voice heard amidst the chaos of opposing views and factions that were part of the Reign of Terror. This group of authors give a voice to these women. They bring to life the struggle that has been fought for centuries, that of women having an equal voice. The women in these stories were from different walks of life, had different political views, but all ultimately wanted the same thing. To end the bloodshed. They all shared a strong love for France. I was entranced by the way Sophie and Madame Roland sought to influence those in power, as many women have over time, through their husbands. I was horrified by the power of the mob in Pauline's story. I was inspired by the bravery which some showed in their final moments before dying at the scaffold. The authors have expertly crafted a set of stories, rich in historical detail, that bring the voices of this turbulent time to life. I love it when I can say I learned a lot as I read this book. Monumental in every sense of the word. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
Anonymous 7 days ago
"Ribbons of Scarlet" is a heart-wrenching portrait of six strong women from different backgrounds, who demonstrate courage during a terrifying period of upheaval and at the same time are dismissed on the basis of their sex. The novel will reverberate with today's readers because women face the same challenges. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
literarymuseVC 3 months ago
Six dynamic women’s part in the French Revolution is depicted in this historical novel by six very talented, skilled writers, ensuring that every aspect of the Revolution is covered. The terrible fears, passionate hopes and dreams, debilitating confusion, truthful and lying promises, and torturous resignations are vividly described as the life-changing reality of true revolution. Sophie de Grouchy is the voice behind her husband, the Marquis de Condorcet. She believed that royalists and commoners were working toward the same end – a better world. Bread is up to fourteen sous a loaf and France waits for King Louis XVI to call the Estates General which will guarantee a place in government for all economic and social classes. Even the poor believe the Condorcet family is denying rights to those not so fortunate such as fruit-seller Louise Audu who learns to read in one of Sophie’s saloniere gatherings. Louise is the Revolutionary, leading the people in the streets to join the National Assembly where they will present their demands for liberty, equality and fraternity in practical ways that will hopefully remove their dire, starving conditions. Louise’s primary goal is vengeance. This results in the storming of the Bastille, with resultant bloodshed and chaos as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. They now avidly own and present their “Pride, Purpose and Passion” in their demanded rights. Princess Elizabeth, the King’s sister, is depicted as a true royalist. Loving her brother as blood family as well as the man appointed by God to rule, Elizabeth also has a compassionate heart that reaches out to those suffering in France. Such loyalty will not save her eventually, but she naively hopes against hope when her family attempts to escape Paris only to be brought back and imprisoned. She fails to acknowledge her brother’s responsibility for the horrible state of affairs in France. She, however, does foresee that those who sow violence now will later be “eaten up” by it. Manon Roland, the wife of writer Jean-Marie Roland, is a complex woman. She is a woman who suffered sexual trauma when younger but now is an author who assists her husband in writing revolutionary pamphlets and attempts to fend off a lover. Those who now screech counterrevolutionary terror are Robespierre, Danton and Marat, leaders who are after the Girondists, those who suggest less violent government and methodology. Her confession of past and present thoughts will prove to be her undoing. Political involvement is her end when she announces, “Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name?” Charlotte Corday comes to Paris to assassinate Marat and becomes infamous as the “Angel of Assassination, a murderous harlot from Caen.” Her motivation is to end the betrayal of the revolution for love of country. Her acquaintance, Pauline, fights for women’s rights but then loses them because of “lust and weakness.” Finally, when Robespierre’s power is unassailable, terror reigns. Citizeness de Ainte-Amaranthe or Emilie de Sartine, renowned for her beauty, becomes the object of Robespierre’s lustful admiration and then his destructive power. She is the last victim of “our revolution…a great wheel of torture upon which women have been broken and silenced.” So many more scenes and discussions are presented that readers will never forget, all dramatically told. We share their powerful, poignant and comprehensive thoughts and feelings which a
Lisa-nh-23 3 months ago
The French Revolution was one of the most important events in history. The monarchy was abolished and was replaced by republics all across the French countryside. Not only did it result in political changes, but the social ramifications were far reaching and paved the way for future feminist movements. “Ribbons of Scarlet” focuses on seven brave women from all walks of life and differing beliefs, who felt their country needed a change and that women’s voices were worthy of being heard. Sophie was a young woman with an old soul who worked with her Uncle campaigning for equality for women, and also for freeing men who were unjustly imprisoned. As a young girl, she witnessed a man being beaten to death and it changed her life forever. Sophie and her husband shared the same thoughts and beliefs and he appreciated her insight and never thought she was a stupid female who should be kept quiet. He loved her for her brilliant mind, as well as her beauty. Sophie came in contact with all of the women in the book in different ways, and she left a lasting impression on each of them. She was also a teacher who taught women to read and write so they could fight for the equality they were searching for, and so justly deserved. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to read “Ribbons of Scarlet” because it made me realize how important the historical fiction genre is to the literary world. I had no idea I would learn so much about a time in history that had such a profound effect on society. As I began to understand each woman in the book, I felt as if I had been transported back in time to experience the excitement and sadness of the tumultuous events with them. I knew very little about the French Revolution before I began reading, and I will never forget all that I have learned from this amazing book.
KerryACroucier 3 months ago
This was an absolutely stunning novel on so many levels. It’s written by six authors from 7 viewpoints, combined to tell the story of these women and the French Revolution, from it’s inception through The Terror. Each viewpoint and experience was different, but these are real women, some who were way ahead of their time in their quest for change and equality. The research by each author that went into this novel is staggering and the writing to bring each woman to life was amazing. Not only was each part well-written, but each wove seamlessly into the next, while also revisiting them later in the novel. I had a cursory knowledge of the French Revolution before I started this novel, and it dropped me into the Revolution, where I felt I had a front row seat, or was beside each woman, experiencing their fight and their beliefs, and their horrors. There were so many horrors, but these women stood and fought for their beliefs in their own way, and were strong and empowered. This novel floored me, in a good way. I took my time with it, wanting to be sure I didn’t miss anything and was able to really give it the attention it deserved. This was is one that shouldn’t be missed. #RibbonsofScarlet #WilliamMorrow&Company #TallPoppyWriter #BloomReads #TallPoppyReviewer #NetGalley
CharlotteLynnsReviews 3 months ago
If you have ever thought that history was boring you have not read anything by these amazing authors. They take the French Revolution and turn it into a place that you cannot wait to go. A place that excites you. A place that you will learn so much about during a time in history that you will wonder why you ever thought history was not interesting. I started reading Ribbons of Scarlet and fell into the story quickly. I couldn’t put it down. I snuck away from my daily life to read a few more pages or another chapter just to find out what is going to happen next. I loved how all the historical authors that I love came together to write such an amazing story. Each author wrote a different chapter and they came together perfectly.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Given the list of authors involved in writing this novel, I was certain I'd enjoy it, but still it surprised me. I hadn't expected that a collaboration among so many different authors could come together as such a perfect, cohesive whole. There are six parts, each focusing on a different woman (though one part centers on two women). The women are from diverse backgrounds, ranging from a poor fruit seller to a princess. Each character tells her story in first person, and with a different author at the helm of each of these stories, every character has a her own distinct voice. Every one of these six stories feels as if it could stand on its own, but combined, they tell one complete, unforgettable story. The parts are arranged in chronological order with the first set before the Revolution and the last set during the Terror. Though each part centers on one main character, each part has appearances by most of the other women too. That way, once a characters section has wrapped up, her story may continue. And if the character hasn't been featured yet, the reader has already gotten to know her. This criss crossing of characters was perfectly done and made for a solid, unified whole. I definitely found some characters more relatable than others, but there was more to relate to here than the women. There were themes that are very relevant today. I also appreciated the range of emotion in this book. Of course there was horror, but there was also tenderness and love. I learned a lot reading this, and I appreciated the authors' notes at the end. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or even books about strong women. I was fortunate enough to have an ARC to base this review on, but I was so impressed by this novel that I ordered a finished copy.
Reader4102 4 months ago
This novel is not written by just one author, but by six. Each chapter, written by a different author, features a real historical woman. The authors have created a nearly seamless cohesive novel about the French Revolution. What is most amazing about this book is about the tenacity and courage of seven women from different backgrounds and levels of commitment in the midst of a country-wide revolution. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this book needs to be at the top of your to-be-read list. Thanks to Morrow and Edelweiss for a free eArc.
Anonymous 4 months ago
An excellent book about the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. It’s amazing how much I didn’t know about this period of history. The story is told by six authors from the perspective of six women during this period. A must read for fans of historical fiction. Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy for review.
TrudyAD 4 months ago
I was trying to figure out how to give this book the justice/review that it deserves. There are six different authors dealing with 7 different main characters that are interlinked by the French Revolution. As I was reading I kept thinking this is similar to the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. They are all intertwined in some way. The education system failed us. Classes barely touched on the French Revolution. I cannot thank the authors enough for making me think, making me want to know more. Ribbons of Scarlet give a fresh prospective. It isn't the "It was bloody and terrible" that we studied in school. It gives details. It creates empathy for some of the people involved. I developed an understanding that I didn't think possible. I am gutted. My heart weeps. To give the authors the credit they deserve I am going to make a few comments about each section. Part I, The Philosopher by Stephanie Dray brings to the forefront the cruelty that was part of everyday life in France at the beginning of the French Revolution through the eyes of Sophie de Grouchy. The author has the ability to paint a vivid picture with words that had me nauseous as Sophie witnessed someone being punished on the wheel. The reader sees the challenges of females during that time period and that with proper support even they can influence others. When Sophie starts a school to teach the lesser class females to read she introduces the next character of importance, Louise. Part II, The Revolutionary by Heather Webb centers around Louise a fruit cart seller who sees life from the eyes of the lesser class. She makes extra money delivering messages to those impowered to take action. This part also concentrates on Pauline who is much more vocal in the beginning, someone who Louise aspires to be. The reader gets a clear picture of the life of the less fortunate. The violence increases. The suffering continues to worsen developing more and more anger. France is spiraling. The king is loosing control. Part III, The Princess by Sophie Perinot gives us a different perspective through the eyes of King Louis' sister, Madame Elisabeth. She is someone that has met and had some of the same beliefs as Sophie De Grouchy. She is a kind, caring soul who in another life would have been a nun. In a world where family comes first she stands by the King's side as people rise up against the royalty. Thanks to this section the readers gets a better understanding of everything that was going on. There are two sides to every story. Elisabeth's journey is frightful. Part IV, The Politician by Kate Quinn shows us the influence of Manon Roland, wife of the Minister of the Interior is the power behind the pen. The Revolution should be coming to an end. Politics keep changing. Those in charge are deciding who lives or dies. With a rumor, Manon Roland can be crushed, her husband destroyed. Her self sacrifice gained my respect when at times I didn't much like the woman or the games she played. Part V, The Assassin by E. Knight I am speechless after reading this section. It illustrated the different factions, the turmoil, the anguish, the challenges. The French Revolution was dirty and it touched everyone. Charlotte Corday travels from Caen with one goal-to save France. Through her eyes we see how Paris has been destroyed by those that know best. People are starving. People are dying and she blames one man, Marat. She sees the solution as simple but doesn't stop to think what will happen if she suc