A Dutch woman flees her marriage to become a courtesan against the backdrop of the French Revolution in this steamy historical novel described as Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Dangerous Liaisons.
Liberté, Egalité, Sensualité. . . .
As a spirit of change overturns Europe’s old order, strong-willed Elzelina Versfelt enters her own age of revolution. Married as a romantic young girl to a man who wanted only her money, but neither loves nor desires her, Elza refuses to be chained any longer. Leaving Amsterdam, her marriage, and her home, she flees to France—where the old rules no longer apply, debauchery is not a sin . . . and nothing is forbidden.
Yet Elza finds herself bound in a new way, to the ambitious General Moreau. And while they share pleasure, pain, and carnal adventures, she dreams of another man, an unruly red-haired soldier she first saw in the promise of a Tarot card. Drawn by this half-real, half-imagined hero, Elza defies her relationship with Moreau, and begins a perilous search across war-torn Europe. . . . But will this woman with the instincts of a survivor, the passion of a courtesan, and the gift of second sight ever find the destiny for which she has risked it all?
This stunning novel blends history with the language of the heart to tell a sensual story of an era of upheaval . . . and of the clamoring, dangerous desires of a woman’s soul.
Elzelina is seduced into marriage by an ambitious, grasping Dutch politician who soon turns cold and abusive. As the young French republic takes the first steps toward Bonaparte s doomed empire, Elza flees her cruel husband for the relative safety of Gen. Victor Moreau. When the jealous Moreau turns on her as well, Elzelina, now known as Ida St. Elme, becomes an actress and writer; this demanding, arduous life provides the freedom conventional society has previously denied her. This dramatic and often erotic novel hews closely to the biography of the real Ida St. Elme , whose many affairs and career provide more than enough material for an engaging narrative. The moments of occult adventure and predestined romance, revealed to Ida by second sight, are entirely unnecessary; her history was intimately entangled with events that reshaped Europe, and her struggle for autonomy and meaning require no fantastic embellishments.