November 14, 2019
Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women by Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb, and E. Knight
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, French Revolution, France
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Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!
Six masterful storytellers collaborate to share the experiences of seven unforgettable women of The French Revolution. During the Revolution, these courageous and determined women felt compelled to speak up and exert their influence wherever they could. Even though these are six separate stories, some passionate convictions and ideas connect them.
Writing: The authors of Ribbons of Scarlet pull off an ambitious collaboration and put the history back into historical fiction! This compelling and powerful story is well researched, well written, and packed with vivid historical details. The transitions are smooth between the stories and Ribbons of Scarlet reads like one complete story….if I didn’t know there were six authors, I would not have been able to guess. I appreciate the multiple viewpoints which give us well-rounded perspectives from members of royalty, a fruitseller, a teacher, a political writer, two revengeful women, and a beautiful woman married to an influential man.
I wish the authors had included a bit more scaffolding for readers to understand the scope and sequence of the French Revolution. I feel like I was immersed in the individual stories but I was uncertain of the political groups and broad ideas of the Revolution. I Googled frequently, but most of the information I found was complex to understand in a quick Google search. What I really needed was a “Dummies Guide to the French Revolution.” It might have been helpful for each author to provide a brief and simple overview of the politics and factions at the beginning of each chapter.
Don’t miss the authors’ notes!
Characters: The characterizations of these strong-willed women are excellent even though each of their sections is like a short story. I was immediately drawn into their situations and felt connected with them and grew to appreciate their causes and viewpoints. The women seem modern in their thinking: lending their voices to the cause and passionate about equal rights. I heard Kate Quinn speak to this first hand, and she assures readers that the women’s modern attitudes reflect thorough research and that these women were, indeed, early feminists.
Themes: In addition to themes of politics and patriotism, there are thoughtful themes of loyalty, family, risk, courageous determination, bravery, hope, finding your voice, sacrifice, and equal rights.
Content warning: capital punishment, beheadings (PG-13)
Recommended: I highly recommend Ribbons of Scarlet for readers who appreciate compelling stories of strong and independent women, for fans of historically rich and powerful histfic, for those who are interested in French history, and for book clubs looking for ambitious reads.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 on Goodreads)
Meet the Authors:
Is Ribbons of Scarlet on your TBR?
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