Last night on Write Now I had the pleasure of having a dear friend as my guest – but not to talk about her writing! We talked about a new book I’d been sent: The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt.
I knew I wouldn’t have time to read it, so I asked this friend – a confirmed Francophile – if she’d like to read it and then come on the programme and do a review via discussion with me. I had dipped into the book and read some of it, and like Elizabeth, I was impressed.
We had such a great time talking about the book and the remarkable central character – Valtesse de la Bigne – a celebrated Parisian courtesan. What a life – from poverty to a central position as a woman lauded not only for her beauty (and her ‘favours’) but as a highly intelligent, witty, charming (self) educated conversationalist with a great breadth and depth of knowledge!
Of course as with any biography, we gain many insights into the times, culture, views, values – including the prevailing view that women were inferiors! Salons, where discussions of the Arts, politics etc went on, were for men! So Valtesse created her own weekly Salon, where she could engage in intelligent conversation with artists, writers, journalists, military men – she really liked a man in uniform.
It’s such a well researched book and a fascinating story.
To find my friend’s blog, just put Elizabeth Eiffel into your browser.
Happy reading. Gaytana