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A floppy period romance set in Paris during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, with storm-tossed lovers working hard at getting-in-touch-with-their-feelings while surviving danger and hardship. Julienne, 29, has had three children and a dreadful, near-fatal marriage in Austria--as husband Franz, son of an Austrian duke, has become increasingly, dangerously paranoid (false accusations of infidelity) and physically abusive. So, afraid to turn to adored brother Stefan (Franz would kill him and his family), Julienne engineers a daring farm-cart escape for herself and the children--surviving starvation, exhaustion, and a violent thugs' rape. And thanks to a rescuing order of nuns, they do arrive in Paris, where Julienne will determinedly meld into the proles. . . even though she is a cousin of Austria's Emperor! The battered family finds a safe haven in the home of kind carpenter Armand Mabilleau and his wife Cecile. Julienne bravely takes a punishing embroidery sweatshop job. She'll meet drunken Lord Edward Atherton-Moore, when Edward and a similarly sozzled pal come in to find a girl for the night. But this bad start is gradually but firmly righted by Edward's natural kindness: the children come out of their Austrian shells and adore him; Julienne, though seared by her Austrian experiences, comes around too; eventually both will tell their stories. (Edward's troubles stem from guilt about the deaths of three men and unresolved anger that his father loved his dead brother best.) Even Stefan, who arrives in town on some obscure State errand and confronts his sister living with her lover, simmers down when it's obvious that Edward is a Good Thing All Around. But political turmoil then comes to Paris--with siege, hunger, riots, and a plague. So Julienne and Edward will face tragedy, imprisonment, illness--after which two dramatic showdowns (Edward and his father, Julienne and psycho Franz) clear the decks for happy endings. Easy and busy, long but thin.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1984
Publisher: Putnam