Reading Corner – Annette Vallon

annettevallonWow. What a story. Annette Vallon is historical fiction at it’s finest. It is a richly woven story, set during the French Revolution, with flavors of romance, adventure, tragedy, and terror. Annette was the language tutor, and subsequently also the lover, of famous poet William Wordsworth. Author James Tipton suggests quite a love story between the two, amid the perils of the French Revolution. Not only was the story an excellent balance of fiction and history, but it was a fascinating read at a time when, I think, our own country is undergoing a great deal of change and splintering. I couldn’t help but see many parallels between the actions of the French revolutionists and the politics of current day. Which is illuminating, but also actually quite scary. Arresting, detaining, and often times executing people for ‘counterrevolutionary’ sympathies as slight as forgetting to wear the tricolor rosette proclaiming the love of country or singing psalms during a funeral procession, because freedom of religious expression has been outlawed, is not a far cry from some of the civil liberties we see violated in our own country these days in the spirit of safety, security, or the fight against terror. How about the recent story of this man who was pulled over, accused of lying that he did not have his legally owned gun in the car, was searched and essentially humiliated in front of his family for nearly 2 hours on the side of the road, on Christmas Eve by an overzealous police officer? Or the probably more well known story of David Eckert who, in January 2013, was forced to undergo multiple colonoscopies and enemas? He’s been awarded 1.5 million for that by the way. Good for him. This kind of extremist behavior towards law abiding citizens is appalling. And it’s happening more and more every day.

It’s scary stuff folks. Forgive my rant that may seem off topic but I can’t comment on the value of this novel without pointing out things it made me think of while reading. I think anyone who is interested in history and/or the climate of our current affairs would find this book to be enlightening to say the least.

He cared nothing for republic or monarchy, just for the river itself, which was much, much older than either of those governments and would be here when kings and revolutionaries had all rotted and become soil washed into the river.
~ Unnamed bargeman, Annette Vallon

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