French history was always a favourite of mine, but since I moved to France, this became more of a passion. I tried to choose books that are big favourites but also translated in English. Like always when doing these lists, I have the feeling that I'm forgetting something important...:)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
This was one of my first French classics and unfortunately one that I haven't read in several years. The story is so intense that last time I felt completely wiped out when I reach the last pages of this incredibly rich and emotional roller coaster. This fragile and turbulent first half of the 19th century France is not my favourite period but Hugo's realistic social portrait (and Jean Valjean !) win me over immediately.
Mistress of the Revolution and For the King by Catherine Delors
The Iron King by Maurice Druon ( I highly recommend all the series)
The Iron King (Le Roi de Fer) is the first book of an historical French series named The Accursed Kings (Les Rois Maudits) written by Maurice Druon. The story is set in the 14th century France during the last years of the reign of the King Philip IV, the Fair also known as The Iron King.
(excerpt from my review, see above)
The Accursed Kings series by Druon is considered a classic in France, and every history buff I know read, at least, the first book – The Iron King. I reviewed it some time ago when I had the chance to reread it during the release of a new edition of the series.
The books were adapted to the screen twice, even if the 70's version is far better. Unfortunately, I don't think this was ever translated in English.
The King’s Way (L’allée du roi) by Françoise Chandernagor
A magnificent story beautifully written about Françoise d'Aubigné, Madame de Maintenon. We follow the life of this intriguing and fascinating woman who becomes the king's favourite and his "secret" wife. This book is definitely one of my favourites set during Louis XIV reign and a must read.
Don’t forget to watch the movie adapted from this book, which is a real gem. I'll leave you with a scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5LmmZ9xxi8
The Oracle of Glass by Judith Merkle Riley
Genevieve is a precocious girl with the remarkable power to read the future in a water glass. Left for dead by her family, she is taken in by La Voisin, who rules a secret society of witches that manipulate the rich—from tradesmen all the way up to the king himself.
Genevieve transforms herself into the mysterious Madame de Morville, rumored to be 150 years old. Driven by the spirit of revenge, Genevieve is on the verge of discovering true love when the police sniff out the secret network of poisoners and sorcerers. Genevieve races to escape the stake, unaware who will live and who will die in the wake of the King's terrible vengeance. (from Goodreads)
Again another book set during the reign of Louis XIV and one that is been waiting in my "to be reread" pile for some time. I read The Oracle for the first time in my late teens and I kept wonderful memories of this book. It's the perfect mix of intrigue, love, history and politics. The main character, Geneviève Pasquier is the kind of heroine impossible not to like and who makes this brilliant story even more interesting.
Do you have any HF favourites set in France that you would like to share ?