First Day of Summer


“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance” –Jane Austen

So, today is the first day of summer, and that JA quote is just all too apt. 95+ degree weather, along with thunderstorms and sticky humidity, makes things most inelegant indeed. Thank goodness that, unlike Jane, I can wear cotton sundresses and flipflops to work! I’m also grateful for iced tea, that plastic kiddie pool I bought for my dogs, and good books to read.

This summer is turning into a busy one, what with planning for RWA and working on the WIP (Book 3 of “The Muses of Mayfair”–page 121 written last night!). I also have a brand new and challenging project–a short story for the Harlequin “Historical Briefs” line of ebooks (available on eHarlequin!) This story will be connected to Balthazar’s as-yet untitled Caribbean book, out in January ’09, and will be available in November. Stay tuned…

I’m also planning for a much-needed little getaway next weekend, which hopefully will go better than another summer jaunt of June 21, 1791–the flight to Varennes. This escape attempt by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, their two children, Louis’s sister Madame Elisabeth, and various servants should actually be called the flight that ended at Varennes, as their goal was the Royalist stronghold of Montmedy in northeast France.

After the storming of Versailles in October 1789, the royal family was moved to the ramshackle Tuileries in Paris, where life became increasingly restricted and uncomfortable for them. By the summer of 1791, the queen had had enough. Along with her rumored lover Count Axel Von Fersen and the Baron de Breteuil, she planned an escape. The little dauphin’s governess, the Marquise de Tourzel, would play a Russian baroness, with the royal children her daughters (even the boy!) and the others her servants. They took off on the night of June 20, but various blunders and misfortunes (including the fact that Marie Antoinette was reluctant to leave all her stuff behind) doomed them. They were recognized and captured at the town of Varennes.

Some good sources for this incident are Stanley Loomis’s The Fatal Friendship and Timothy Tackett’s When the King Took Flight. I also like the first-hand account in Madame Royale’s memoirs, plus the good new biography by Susan Nagal, Marie-Therese: Child of Terror.

What are your summer plans? (Not fleeing from revolutionaries, I hope!). And who will be at RWA???

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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