Historical fiction, or as it is sometimes called ‘faction’ is a very hard genre for an author to work with. The plot is set, the people, places, and events cannot be changed, the challenge is to weave into the existing fabric a new design. Anne Newton Walther is becoming a master of this style; in her first book she introduced us to the very beautiful, intelligent, and always innovative Countess Eugenie Devereux and used the American Revolution as the background. In Loss of Innocence we are re-introduced to this delightful character with the ‘French Revolution’ as the backdrop.

Anne Newton Walther has created a tour de force with this book, and actually uses some little known historical facts concerning the attempts to save Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette from the wrath of the rabid revolutionists. I for one was not aware that there was an American backed effort to relocate Marie Antoinette to the US, and create a small town for her and her followers on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. There were actually some buildings put together, and it had a name, Azilum. Alas not much of it remains today, but it most certainly is historical fact.

Loss of innocence is a great way to get an important history lesson without realizing it. Clearly the author has done countless hours of research into this very bleak period of French history, one oppressive regime, was merely replaced by another, and one who seemed to thrive on terror as a way of control.

I found Loss of Innocence to be a very interesting read, the fictional characters were well developed, and interacted with the historical events splendidly. We will never know what Marie Antoinette’s private thoughts were as she witnessed her slow demise from queen to criminal, nor her final thoughts as she approached Madame Guillotine. Anne Newton Walther has created a believable dialog, and I found it very moving.

This is not a Harlequin book by any means, but there is a romantic aspect, and it is pulled off to perfection. The beautiful Eugenie Devereux who is wholly fictional and the very historically real Captain Bridger, make a couple to be reasoned with. Bridger offers the support that Eugenie needs to pull off her daring plan.

I will end this review with a quote from Marie Antoinette, that appears at the end of the book. Oh and this we do know is factual!

I was a queen, and you took away my crown;
A wife, and you killed my husband;
A mother, and you deprived me of my children.
My blood alone remains:
Take it, but do not make me suffer long.

You can get your own copy of Loss of Innocence from Amazon.

Simon Barrett


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