Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Ribbons of Scarlet by Stephanie Dray Review


Title: Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women
Author(s): Allison Pataki, Stephanie Dray, Heather Webb, Sophie Perinot, E. Knight, and Kate Quinn
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                Ribbons of Scarlet has been on my TBR list since before it came out, and I’ve checked it out at my local library a few times. Unfortunately, before now, I’ve had to return it before I could finish it. Since the pandemic has ground normal life to a complete halt, I’ve decided to work, read, write, do everything I possibly can to keep my sanity. So, when you’ve got a million books in your home… As soon as I was finished with Little Fires Everywhere, I pushed Ribbons of Scarlet up to the top of my stack. I have to tell you guys: this book might be one of my favorites of 2019. I’ve always loved historical fiction, but rarely do I come across an opportunity to hear it from the female point of view! And I’ve been a fan of all of these authors for years, so when I realized they were collaborating their considerable talents to make a novel about five different but interconnected women during the revolution, I was drooling! If I’m being totally honest, I finished this book last week, but I needed time to let it marinate in my head before I put words to paper. This novel was such a rich and well-researched feat. I bow down to these queens of history, and I can hope that another such work is in the pipeline for the future!

                Five young women, all from different walks of life: a philosopher, a revolutionary, a princess, a politician, an assassin, and a beauty form the gorgeous, beautiful threads of this well-researched and thoughtful tale: a philosopher wants more than a loveless marriage, a revolutionary who hungers for bread far more than book learning, a princess who longs to see the God-ordained world order restored, a politician whose rebellion, defiant use of her pen costs her life, an assassin sets out to silence one of the most vocal voices of the revolution, and finally, a renowned society beauty has to use her connections in an attempt to sway the most dangerous of revolutionaries: Robspierre.

                Ribbons of Scarlet tells the story of five very different young women, from all walks of life. A philosopher, a revolutionary, a princess, a politician, an assassin, and a beauty all narrate the novel in that order. Allison Pataki wrote the foreword to this beautifully researched and engaging novel, and honestly, I couldn’t put it down! The pacing was breakneck, and I don’t think I’ve ever before read a book with so many authors at once before! For that reason alone, this book would be unique. But it was just so damn good! I loved the way everything flowed as the novel went on, from the first sparks of the French Revolution all the way to the bloody end of The Reign of Terror. All of these women were different, all across the spectrum when it came to class, but they all had one thing in common: They wanted to see France become a free, democratic republic, free from the tyranny of a mercurial, vapid monarch, where they would be considered equals to the men in a world that tries to crush their very livelihood beneath its feet. Each woman is different and distinct, all with different ambitions and aspirations. There wasn’t a character that I didn’t absolutely love in this book, especially of the main ones. This book was so well-researched and I loved every single character within it. All too often, women are overlooked or even shunted aside, whether history tells the real story or not, and I loved how this book gave me a front-row and, most importantly, female view of the beginnings of one of the bloodiest revolutions in human history. This might be one of my favorite books of 2019, if not all time! The bottom line: Rich, bloody, informative and expansive, I loved Ribbons of Scarlet! Next on deck: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern!

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