- Author: Liza Perrat
- Published: May 2012 by Perrat Publishing
- Category: Historical, Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading
Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the story of Victoire Charpentier. Born in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne in rural 18th century France during the years leading up to the French Revolution, she lives with her parents and siblings. Madam Charpentier is a healer and the local midwife, her husband a carpenter travelling from town to town plying his trade. A fierce storm when Victoire was six years old brought about a terrible tragedy and the family’s fortunes are about to take a devastating turn for the worst. Victoire is forced to take a domestic position in Paris, with a letter of recommendation from the village priest.
Victoire’s troubles are only just beginning. She is now at the mercy of her employer, the Marquis de Barberon. Her belief in the cruelty and indifference of the aristocracy to the common people, born when her father was killed, only intensified and chafed. It was wholly due to the help of Claudine, the cook, she survived the Marquis’ visits and the eventual outcome.
He will go unpunished no doubt. As you well know, justice is a dream! Those of the blue blood are above crimes and we commoners are powerless against them.
Victoire’s life is filled with tragedy, loss, betrayal and horror. She also experiences happiness and joy, especially when she is in Lucie at L’Auberge des Anges, the inn she and her husband, Armand, began together. But nothing lasts and Victoire is soon again in the direst of circumstances.
After Victoire’s meeting in the dreaded La Salpêtrière Asylum, and subsequent friendship, with the notorious Jeanne de Valois, her resolve to raise awareness of the plight of women only grew. I enjoyed Victoire’s exchanges of letters with Jeanne and Mary Wollstonecraft, both of whom are not fictional, as another way to convey their thoughts on the state of affairs.
I cannot agree with you more that, in general, women remain silly and superficial, and could achieve far greater things if men stopped denying them the right to education. We must convince them to view us as human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as them.
This autumn I made some new acquaintances – women of the same mind as myself – with whom I meet from time to time to discuss the important role the well-educated wife and mother must play in the downfall of our archaic governing system.
Liza Perrat brings the history (obviously researched in depth), the sights, sounds and vast differences between the rich and poor of pre revolution France to life skilfully. Along with village life and Parisian society, there are wonderfully drawn and fascinating characters, realistic dialogue and some shocking scenes. Beautifully written and vividly described, the volatility of the political climate and the plight of women are shown to great effect.
Spirit of Lost Angels in the first in The Bone Angel trilogy, following the women of the Charpentier family, named for the bone angel protective talisman given to Victoire by her mother and passed down through the generations.
I chose to read and review Spirit of Lost Angels for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.
About Liza Perrat
Liza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for over twenty years, where she works as a part-time medical translator and a novelist. She is the author of the historical The Bone Angel series. The first, Spirit of Lost Angels is set in 18th century revolutionary France. The second, Wolfsangel is set during the WW2 Nazi Occupation and the French Resistance, and the third novel – Blood Rose Angel –– is set during the 14thcentury Black Plague years.
Her latest novel, The Silent Kookaburra, is a psychological suspense, set in 1970s Australia.
Liza is a co-founder and member of the writers’ collective Triskele Books.
Liza reviews books for Bookmuse.