Review: The Women of Chateau Lafayette


By Stephanie Dray
576 pages
Published March 30, 2021 by Berkley

An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity's darkest hours.

Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women...

A founding mother...

1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband's political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary...

1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing--not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what's right.

A reluctant resistor...

1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan's self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.


Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.
I jumped at the chance to read this book! Any historical fiction set in France interests me, and my recent obsession with Hamilton made anything tied to Lafayette automatically on my list as well. Sadly, I knew very little about Lafayette before watching Hamilton, and I was excited to learn more, especially since this novel focused on the women and their roles in history. I read Dray's My Dear Hamilton (co written with Lauren Kamoie) earlier this year and absolutely loved it--so I definitely had high expectations for this book. I am happy to say that this book was everything I hoped it would be and more!!

This book was beautifully written, spanning centuries and continents. It centered around Lafayette's wife Adrienne (late 1700's) Beatrice (during WW1) and Marthe (WW2). Initially I was most interested in Adrienne's story--but as the book went on I loved each one of these women and their stories. Dray expertly wove these stories together and I alternated between wanting to finish the book to know how everything wrapped up, and never wanting the book to end because it was THAT GOOD. I had this both on my kindle and on audio. The narration was fantastic.

Can we also take a moment to appreciate the immense amount of research Stephanie Dray did for this book? Any one of these three time periods requires a lot of research, but all three? Dray is amazing at what she does and I will automatically read any and all of her future books. Make sure to read her author's note at the end of this one--it outlines her research and any choices she made that were different from history.

If you love historical fiction, this is an absolute must read!! It will absolutely be one of my favorites of 2021. ALL THE STARS!
About the Author 
Stephanie Dray is a New York TimesWall Street Journal, USA Today bestselling author of historical women's fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages. She lives near the nation's capital with her husband, cats, and history books.


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