A Court Lady – Clova Leighton, Author

March 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm (Uncategorized)


A Court Lady – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“Von Lichtenberg, I wish that you would consider this offer.  I want to see you married off.  It is your duty, as a soldier, to found a family, before you go to fight.  And there are several young ladies who might be acceptable.  There is Mlle. DeBelmaris.  If you were to take her, I’d be very generous with your next command…”  Sebastian cursed himself.  For the first time, he began to wonder why he had put himself under this vulgar upstart’s patronage.  Was he right in supposing that in the end, Napoleon’s abilities as an administrator would triumph and greatly improve the condition of the French and their satellites?  He was beginning to doubt it.  Certainly Napoleon had made many improvements; he had modernized France, and had improved the lot of many people.  He had improved the tax system.  Sebastian admired the way the man, working all the hours of the day, had slaved to revitalize the economy and to promote French industry.  He liked the fact that there was also greater religious freedom.  As things stood, Sebastian knew that he was indebted to his commander, and it would be expedient to obey him.  He was prepared to agree.  Having a wife would not really change his life.  “Very well, sire.  If it is your wish that I consider marriage, of course I will do so.”  Napoleon gave a short laugh.  “Indeed, if you have some other woman in mind, provided she’s of suitable rank, I would be happy enough.  As long as she is a lady…”
Sebastian Von Lichtenberg, of German descent, had served under Napoleon since his youth.  His admiration for this great leader had been what kept him from joining his own small country’s forces.  But, after a minor wound and a rumor of his being more than an admirer of Napoleon’s sister Paulette, it was decided that Sebastian should marry.  And Sebastian sees that if he wants another command, he must do as his leader says.
Now, to find a wife.  There are many to choose from but Sebastian finds most of the court women to be silly in their actions, unable to carry on an intelligent conversation and with interests that seem be to geared completely to spending money.  That is until he finally met and got to know Mlle. Corisande DeBelmaris, a protégée and very distant relative of Josephine.  She turned out to be outspoken in her thoughts and enjoyed listening to his military stories.  But, could he tame her?  Did he really want to?
A Court Lady is filled with history, bringing out the personality of Napoleon as well as Josephine.  It’s a story that brings to light the changes made in France during his time of rule.  But it’s also a beautiful love story of two people who are both afraid to admit their true feelings for each other.  I must warn you, there are some really “heated” love scenes so if you are a truly romantic reader, you will simply love A Court Lady.
2011
Smashwords Edition
ISBN# 978-1-4581-5621-1

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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1 Comment

  1. David Russell said,

    I am happy to award ‘A Court Lady’ a resounding 5 stars.

    Firstly, I am a fairly avid history reader, and was highly impressed by the in-depth knowledge of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period. It was very astute of you to relate the action to the escalation of the Peninsula War, and the relationship of a small German state to Napoleon’s Europe.

    The action takes places against the backdrop of the Revolution, with its liberating changes, and the turning back of the clock under the Directory and the Imperial Regime. The personal struggles and ambitions of the characters are intimately related to the greater political situation – including direct contact with the Emperor himself, his impending divorce and his need for an heir. Striving for material/marital security is a matter of politics.

    The novel explores with great subtlety all the aspects of love and marriage – the conflict between solid, reliable domestic virtue and courtesan/’society woman’ extravagance. In the relationship between Corisande and Sebastian, it makes a perceptive comparison between a marital relationship and an affair.The intensity of their reiterated love scenes certainly savours of the latter. It is doubly interesting because Sebastian gives the initial impression of lacking in badinage repartee, and being somewhat frigid. He certainly proves the reverse in their intimate encounters, sensually understated, as is definitely my preference. His gesture of wanting to postpone their consummation until a suitable moment, and to allow Corisande an opportunity for a ‘null and void’ escape, shows a really high level of sensitivity. Sharp psychological insight into Corisande’s retroactive jealousy when she elicits the details of Sebastian’s past attachment to an English governess, more of a sensitive spot than his admitted, and admittedly unsatisfactory, dalliances with society ladies.

    The full spectrum of society is depicted in the rescue of the fugitive maid Lucienne, who was forced into prostitution. A great bit of blood and thunder where Corisande fires off a pistol to deter a knife attack from Lucienne’s pimp. Good handling of the conflict between love and honour theme: Sebastian is a true and dedicated soldier, and should prove himself in the next campaign; Corisande, purely naturally, would like to travel with him and/or get him an administrative job nearer home. Sebastian’s devotion to Napoleon is purely voluntary; he could always return to his home state.

    David Russell

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