In this post, we are going to explore the inspiration behind my short story, MarieThis is my first foray into the world of publishing. It has been quite a journey!
For the people that know me, I have long been in love with the Regency era. Really, it all began with Jane Austen and my love of the culture. So, it is only fitting that my short story be set in my favorite time period.
In writing this short story, I answer a burning question that has always fascinated me: What if the French royal family succeeded in escaping France during the revolution? It is this driving question that inspired me to write this story. Some other questions that popped up were:
What if they escaped in the Flight to Varennes?
What would the repercussions have been?
What would their lives had been like abroad in exile?
How would have everything played out?
Before I started even writing this story, I knew it had to Marie Thérèse Charlotte’s story. For a long time I was haunted by the horrors that the royal family had to face during the Reign of Terror. I think one of the most horrific aspects was how she was the only surviving family member. She lost her entire family in a violent world gone mad. In the end, she was sent off to Austria, not knowing what happened to her loved ones.
For the rest of her life, she never forgot those she lost. It was a major driving force in her life and helped to shape who she was as a person. Napoleon Bonaparte famously said that she was “‘the only man in the family'” when he heard that she refused to leave Bordeaux. This very same woman declared to one of Napoleon’s generals that “she would never surrender.”1
The Marie Thérèse of my story is an entirely different creation. She is a woman who never had to contend with the horrors that the real Marie Thérèse did. In writing this story, I envisioned the Marie Thérèse in my story as being a strong person who is motivated by the drive to take back the throne of France. Around the year 1810, she lives at Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire, Great Britain with her ailing mother, Marie Antoinette; her brother, Louis XVII; her uncle, Louis, Count of Provence; and her husband, the Duke of Angoulême.
While her loved ones have become entrenched in England, she never for a minute forgets France. In essence, France is where the heart is. We see the story through Marie Thérèse’s eyes. She writes down her thoughts in a memorandum book where she can truly express herself without the restraint of etiquette that is so characteristic of the French royal court.
Will the House of Bourbon regain the French throne? Will they vanquish Napoleon? You can find out in the Alternate Endings anthology.
We all know the past is the past, but what if you could change history?
We asked eight historical authors to set aside the facts and rewrite the history they love. The results couldn’t be more tantalizing.
What if Julius Caesar never conquered Gaul?
What if Arthur Tudor lived and his little brother never became King Henry VIII?
What if Abigail Adams persuaded the Continental Congress in 1776 to give women the right to vote and to own property?
Dive in to our collection of eight short stories as we explore the alternate endings of events set in ancient Rome, Britain, the United States, and France.
An anthology of the Historical Writers Forum.