1789 was an explosive year with the eruption in a big way of the French Revolution. Although considered the ‘moderate stage’ before the Reign of Terror, a great deal of upheaval and violence took place that resulted in waves of nobility fleeing France.
From: The Beginning of the French Revolution, 1789: “King Louis XVI’s financial crisis forced the French monarch to reluctantly convene the Estates General in order to levy a new land tax that would hopefully solve his monetary woes. It had been 175 years since the last meeting of this deliberative body that included representatives of three Estates: the First comprised of the clergy, the Second comprised of the nobility and the Third comprised of the middle and lower classes. The Estates began their meeting at Versailles on May 5, 1789 and quickly entered into a power struggle. The Third Estate declared itself a ‘National Assembly’ that was representative of the people. This new Assembly expressed its desire to include the other two Estates in its deliberations but also made it clear that it was determined to move forward without them. Louis attempted to shut down the National Assembly, but on June 20 its members declared that they would not disband until they had written a new constitution for France.
The tension increased, exacerbated by massive crop failures that led to a shortage of food. In Paris, mobs filled the city's streets. The fear spread that the king would retaliate with force. On July 14 the mob stormed the Bastille to obtain arms. The attack launched the nation down a pathway that would eventually lead to the destruction of the monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI.”~
Among key events in 1789 that caused nobles to become émigrés: July 17, the beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Insurrection and the spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout France. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux. The first wave of the nobility fled then.
October 5-6: The Women's March on Versailles was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the royal palace at Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace and in a violent confrontation successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and the entire French Assembly to return with them to Paris.”~
The mob was out to get Marie Antoinette who narrowly escaped their wrath. This riot and subsequent treatment of the monarchy caused another wave of nobility to take flight. Obviously many remained and were later guillotined along with members of the clergy and commoners, anyone who opposed or were said to oppose the Revolution. Trials were a mockery. All it took to send someone to their death was an accusation.
“It was not until 1791 that a law was passed that everyone condemned to death in France should be decapitated.
Almost all of the French aristocracy was sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were its most famous victims.
Up to 40,000 people were killed during the Guillotine's reign of terror in France - an estimated 80-85 per cent of them were commoners.”
*Bear in mind there were far more commoners than nobility to begin with and the guillotine greedy for victims.
Although set in Georgian England, this tumult in France is the backdrop for my new historical romance, Into the Lion’s Heart, which has the honor of launching the new series The Wild Rose Press is debuting called . The premise behind this theme is that a letter must be the cause of bringing the hero and heroine together. At 96 pages, Into the Lion’s Heart is an easy but satisfying read. However, I did as much research for as I would a full novel.
As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he’s conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn’t immune to her artless charm, either.
Cecile Beaumont didn’t choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn’t expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.~
Choking on the brine, she thrashed to right herself. Dalton spat saltwater from his mouth and fought to regain his seat while pulling her up with him. Not his most dignified effort. She was the devil to get hold of—kept slipping away. He grabbed her again, only to be knocked back down and rolled with her in the swill on the bottom of the boat.
Damn and blast! Tom and another man hoisted them upright in the prow.
“Thanks,” Dalton grunted, biting his tongue in the presence of a lady. “All right?” he shouted at her, and shifted her securely onto the seat beside him.
“Oui!” she sputtered when she’d recovered her breath.
She shook all over—must be chilled to the bone. They’d be fortunate if she didn’t catch her death, probably bruised too from tossing about in the skiff. The sooner she was safely housed indoors by a toasty hearth, the better.
Keeping an arm around the sodden woman, he peered into a striking pair of charcoal-gray eyes set above a pert nose and framed by fine dark brows.
She parted trembling, bluish lips. “Merci Monsieur—Que Dieu vous bénisse—Les saints nous bénis en préservent,” she stammered, thanking, blessing him, and calling on the saints.
Dalton was tempted to call on them himself, but her outpouring took him by surprise.
Not content with acknowledging his aid, she turned to Tom, crouched on her other side, and blurted similar gratitude—nearly incoherent in the tumult raging around them. Tom gave a nod through gritted teeth then bent his head over the boat and heaved the contents of his volatile stomach.
She tilted her head at Dalton, eyes crinkled in sympathy. “Mal de mer,” she said, using the French for seasick.~
I am giving away a digital download of Into The Lion’s Heart chosen from someone who leaves me a comment.
Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles published by The Wild Rose Press.
Recently I branched out beyond historical & light paranormal romance with a nonfiction book about gardening and country life entitled Shenandoah Watercolors, available in Kindle & Nookbook.
For more on me and links to various sites:
My blog: One Writer’s Way
My books are available in print or digital download at: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.