Her Own Revolution (Château de Verzat Series, Book 2)
This beautifully written novel tells the story of a strong, courageous woman during the French Revolution. Geneviève Fouquier-Tinville, the daughter of the public prosecutor during the Reign of Terror, dresses as a man in order to attend the university, until she is exposed as a woman. After this humiliating incident, she works as a clerk for her father so she can earn enough money to join her lover, Henri, in America. While copying a list of people who are to be sent to the guillotine, she sees the name of Louis LaGarde, the nobleman who discovered her true identity at the university. She knows he doesn’t deserve to die, so she substitutes the name of someone already dead. Geneviève continues her work, saving the lives of innocent people and hiding many of them at the Château de Verzat, Henri’s lovely estate in the Loire Valley. She resists her developing feelings for Louis, knowing that if her activities are discovered, she will face the guillotine.
Geneviève is an amazing heroine, and you cannot help but cheer for her. As she says at the beginning, if women had more rights, she wouldn’t need to dress as a man. Through her story, we realize how badly women were treated by the leaders of the Revolution, who believed in liberty and equality but only for men. She puts her own life in danger to save others, but she has certain vulnerabilities, including a fear of the dark as well as doubts over who she truly loves, Louis or Henri. This makes her a well-rounded character, and I enjoyed spending time with her. Although this is the second in a series, it can be read on its own. The first, Her Own Legacy, is about Henri and his sister Joliette. I highly recommend this wonderful novel.