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Archive for the ‘books about Paris’ Category

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Yes, it’s the giveaway time here at the Victorian Paris blog!

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Dear readers!

I seldom use the blog for personal matters, but the launch of my second novel is a rare exception.

The Boarding House for Single Gentlemen fits the category of the BBC’s popular series Downton Abbey with the addition of French flair, tasty cuisine, and subtle humor.

The year is 1886. Not far from the Champs-Élysées, on a boulevard that leads to the Bois de Boulogne, stands a mansion belonging to the twice-widowed Estelle de Chavignon, a former high-ranking courtesan. Estelle, now in her sixties, acquired the property through her charms, and the house is still the crossroads for her former lovers and admirers.

The quirky residents hide many secrets, not least Estelle herself who has withheld from her orphaned grandchildren the truth about their parents. And then there is Mariette, a kitchen scullion, who ascends the social ladder with meteoric speed. But will she escape her servitude? Many of the envious servants hope not. The cast of characters also includes a retired world-famous hypnotist who still occasionally alters people’s minds. With all this happening, the arrival of American guests adds a clash of cultures.

The chapters are illustrated with pictures from the 1877 album Les Boulevards de Paris.

(300 pages, available in print and ebook)

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Here is what the early reviewers say about the novel:

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Be prepared for a rollicking good read

With a cast of characters that will stay with you after you’ve finished reading and a plot with as many ups and downs as a roller-coaster ride, be prepared for a rollicking good read. This story has everything you could wish for an entertaining read: intrigue, love affairs, secrets, deceptions, even a touch of magic in the form of mind-altering hypnosis, all played out in Paris of the Belle Époque. Polansky’s smooth prose lavishly laced with humour is a joy to read.

Delicious, devious, and delightful

The Boarding House transports you back to Paris during the enchanting Belle Époque period with a diverse ensemble of players: young and old, servants and socialites, French and foreign, polite and ill-mannered. It seems that everybody has something to hide. It’s delicious, devious, and delightful. Iva Polansky writes with a style and authenticity you might wonder if she was there in another life.

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For a limited time (July 1 to 5), the e-book version is available free (see below). If you like the story, please leave a brief review on Amazon to help with the sales. With millions of books, the competition is stiff and every recommendation helps.

Thank you for visiting, and enjoy the read!

Iva Polansky

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To obtain a copy, click on the picture:

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commune 1

 

A blook? I bet your reaction was “Huh?” as was mine when I first heard that word. That happened two weeks ago and, yesterday, the mailman brought me a fairly heavy parcel which contained my blook. Since yesterday was also my birthday—a very round one—I could have hardly received a better gift.

 

You, too, can have a blook, assuming that you have a blog (who doesn’t?) and a valid credit card. Made of time and energy, a blog is a body without substance, which is in danger of disappearing should the technology that keeps it together break down. I had that thought several times in the past, telling myself that I should print the posts or at least save them, but I failed to find the time. Never mind now. The blook is here to save us from possible cyber-annihilation.

 

So what do you do to get a printed book out of your blog and how long does it take? Assuming, again, that your blog needs no serious editing, and that you need no help with the cover design, the whole process of uploading and pdf-churning takes about ten minutes. The result is a high-quality printed version of your blog plus a free epub edition to read on your phone or tablet while awaiting the delivery of the real thing.

 

obalka

You can choose a program-generated cover design or make your own

 

commune 2

Careful with the captions: if you add them as an afterthought, they will format into narrow columns. I had to part with several posts rather than to start over

 

terror

I would wish for a better use of space here but considering that no human hand handled the page, it looks acceptable

 

 

 

 

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bertieThe year is 1855. An enthusiastic crowd lining the boulevards greets Queen Victoria with her husband Prince Albert and the French imperial couple, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, as their open carriages progress across Paris. It is the first visit of a British ruler since 1431 and it has been a tremendous success on several levels. Both monarchs have become firm allies in the Crimean War, the term “entente cordiale” was coined between them, and lasting personal friendships have been born.

Albert is much taken with the elegant Eugenie. “Altogether I’m delighted to see how much he likes her and admires her,” the queen notes in her diary, “as it is so seldom that I see him do so with any woman.” Victoria herself is experiencing a pleasant electric current each time Napoleon whispers endearments into her ear, compliments her on her dress or tickles the back of her hand with his mustache. No man had ever dared flirt with her and it is all so very French!

If the 10-day visit made such a good impression on the parents, the two children Victoria and Albert brought along were quite smitten. Vicky, the Princess Royal, broke into tears and pleaded for more time in France. Her 13-year old brother Bertie, the future King Edward VII, took a more direct action. The day he found himself alone with the emperor, he said: “You have a nice country and I would like to be your son.” When his proposal met with no success, he tried again, this time with Eugenie. “You parents cannot do without you,” she replied. “Not do without us?” Bertie exclaimed. “Don’t fancy that, for there are six more of us, and they don’t want us.”

The unloved Bertie grew up into a playboy. The Prince de Galles, as he was known in France, returned many times, enthusiastically sampling all the pleasures Paris could offer.

Related posts:

Mark Twain on Napoleon III

Eugenie, the Tragic Empress

 

 

 

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