I am a “Hamilton” musical lover and that led to a fascination with Lafayette as well, so I couldn’t wait to read The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray. I was not disappointed! I loved the detail and the characters, as well as the French setting. This novel was extremely well written – but do expect to commit some time to it, as it is 546 pages. It is a terrific historical fiction novel!
There are three timelines in The Women of Chateau Lafayette: 1774 / The French Revolution; 1914 / WWI and 1940 / WWII. The different eras were woven together really well by giving each era its own female lead character. Two of the women were actual historical figures . . . Adrienne de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette became the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette at the age of 14. She was a remarkable woman and fought for her beliefs and for her husband until the day she died. Beatrice Chanler aided the war relief effort and thousands of children during WWI. The third character, Marthe is a fictional person – a teacher and artist, who aids children and helps the French Resistance fighters. The novel follows each woman’s life, loves and accomplishments.
I loved the focus on the roles that women played in three tumultuous eras. Adrienne, Beatrice and Marthe were strong, admirable women who followed their beliefs in the middle of great danger. The castle of Chavaniac (Chateau Lafayette) is the link that connects their stories. If you enjoy great historical fiction, don’t miss this novel! Below are several links you might enjoy before or after reading The Women of Chateau Lafayette.