NEW TRANSLATION OF 1854 BESTSELLER
"A clever, inspiring gem."
"A ripping yarn. Fans of 19th-century French literature will want to take a look."
"A highbrow classic that reads like a guilty pleasure."
Eleni N. Gage, Features Editor, O, the Oprah Magazine
"A compelling mystery that transports the reader to the early days of the French Revolution in search of a woman who reads radical books in secret,"
Rebecca Romney, founder, Type Punch Matrix and book expert for HISTORY Channel's Pawn Stars.
ABOUT MADEMOISELLE DE MALEPEIRE
Discover a long-forgotten classic!
A modern translation of Fanny Reybaud's 19th-century romance and murder mystery, in which a captivating portrait of a beautiful aristocrat inspires a young scholar to discover the subject's true identity, only to uncover a French Revolution-era tale of murder and deception.
Publisher's Weekly calls it "a ripping yarn" that testifies to Reybaud's massive fame during her lifetime.
Who was Fanny Reybaud? (The short version)
How did Fanny Reybaud (née Josephine Antoinette Henriette Fanny Arnaud), once considered the equal of fellow female French novelist George Sand (née Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin), go from being the darling of French literary circles to total obscurity? By November of 1870, when Reybaud quietly died unmourned and unnoticed in a remote corner of southwestern France, Napoleon III had already suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Otto von Bismarck in the Battle of Sedan, assuring a Prussian victory and the fall of the Second Empire. In short, there were other pressing national issues on the eve of her death, yet twenty-seven years earlier, Reybaud made the rounds of the glittering Parisian literary circuit and dazzled everyone she met.
Too bad Fanny's first books were flops.
But Fanny kept writing, and her breakout success came in 1836 when she wrote "The Adventures of a Renegade under his Dictation" in 1836. The story was based on the life of a young Spanish officer forced to flee the country for his role in the Cadiz rebellion of 1831.
Reybaud’s persistence finally paid off. Now, the public clamored for her books, which she turned out in quick succession, while also becoming something of a regular on the chic literary circuits of Paris and Aix-en-Provence.
By 1840, Reybaud was a frequent contributor to La Revue des Deux Mondes, and it was here that Mademoiselle de Malepeire first appeared in two issues between December 1854 and January 1855. Reybaud continued writing, and even though it seemed her star had faded by 1860, publisher Louis Hachette released nine of her works for his Bibliotheque de Chemins de fer, a selection of popular books printed in a travel-friendly format.
In 1870, Fanny Reybaud died in a small village near Nice, with little fanfare, and hardly any family to grieve her absence—Charles had died in 1864, and her son Emile would pass away in 1874.
Reybaud’s papers and correspondence were given to her granddaughter, Marie, who left Provence soon after she was married and was never heard from again. Following World War I, a great nephew tried to reconstruct Reybaud’s original workroom, but upon his death, her house was abandoned and the contents dispersed to the four winds.
Much of what is known of Reybaud comes from correspondence retained by her contemporaries.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Barbara has translated works from French to English which have appeared in the following books: "Cross of Snow" (Knopf 2020), "On Paper" (Knopf 2013), "Every Book Its Reader" (HarperCollins November 2005), and "Patience and Fortitude" (HarperCollins October 2001). In 2015, Barbara translated nineteenth century French correspondence for Wedgestone Press, an endeavor funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities dedicated to transcribing and publishing the documents of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their circle.
After receiving both a BA and an MA in French Literature (Smith College and Tufts University, respectively), Barbara served as the department chair of a world languages program in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she led the development of a world language curriculum and resurrected a dying French and Latin program.
When not translating, Barbara runs In Ink Ghostwriting, where she and her team write and books for all sorts of clients. Two of these projects have been bestsellers.