Monday, January 27, 2020

Five top novels set in the 18th century

Laura Shepherd-Robinson has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. She worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.

Blood & Sugar, her first novel, won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown, was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, and a Guardian and Telegraph novel of the year. It was also shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and the Sapere Historical Dagger; and the Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Best Debut Novel.

At the Waterstones blog, Shepherd-Robinson shared five of her favorite novels set in the 18th century, including:
Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

Written in 1782, in pre-revolutionary France, this classic novel immerses the reader in the world of the French aristocracy in the years before the guillotine fell. That this book has inspired so many film and theatre adaptations (including 1999’s Cruel Intentions, which I love) is a testament to its compelling characters and timeless themes: desire, revenge, love, and deceit. Written in epistolary form, an exchange of letters between the Marquis de Merteuil and her friend, the Vicomte de Valmont, the plot centres upon the schemes and machinations of these two delightfully depraved characters. The Marquis enlists the help of Valmont to seduce the young bride of an ex-lover, whilst she assists him in seducing the famously chaste Presidente de Tourvel, a highly religious woman. The writing is a treat, knowing and witty, and the characters, especially the women, are creatures of fascinating complexity and nuanced motive.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses also appears on Heinz Helle’s top ten list of novels featuring hateful characters, Jonathan Grimwood's top ten list of French Revolution novels, Helena Frith Powell's top ten list of sexy French books, H.M. Castor's top ten list of dark and haunted heroes and heroines, and John Mullan's list of ten of the best lotharios in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue