ADRIENNE by Andre Maurois

ADRIENNE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Adrienne of this latest biography by a popular and prolific writer is Mme. de La Fayette, the devoted wife of the ""hero"" of the American Revolution. The hero, if such he is, is her fuzzy-minded and perpetually unfaithful husband. Adrienne was marred at 15 to the enormously rich, tall, red-headed La Fayette. A submissive wife, passionately in love with her Gilbert, as he was known, she bore him three children and became his slave and shadow; in turn he called her ""dear heart"", made impossible demands upon her, and neglected her for his many mistresses. After serving in America under Washington, La Fayette returned to France imbued with half-baked liberal ideals and an undeviating conviction of his own importance, which Adrienne shared. The Revolution he helped foment did not spare him; he was caught in the Terror as an aristocrat, he fled to Austria, and was imprisoned as a dangerous Revolutionary. Smuggling their children to safety, Adrienne also was arrested and sentenced to death- but was saved by the intervention of Gouverneur orris. Determined to share her husband's captivity, Adrienne had herself (and her two daughters) imprisoned for two years in a cell near him in Olmutz, a gesture which ruined her health. On their release, La Fayette retired with a mistress to a chateau, while Adrienne attempted to recover for him his estates. After her death, he is seen as an old man living on- ""solely occupied in fumbling with pretty girls' plackets""... A book to interest women rather than men, this may appeal to a readymade market on the basis of Maurois' name. A controversial debunking biography.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1961
Publisher: McGraw-Hill