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Loss of Innocence: A Novel of the French Revolution    by Anne Newton Walther order for
Loss of Innocence
by Anne Newton Walther
Order:  USA  Can
Tapestries, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

The story's prologue begins on October 16, 1793 in the Place de la Révolution in Paris, France. It is the day of Marie Antoinette's execution. As the French queen falls victim to the guillotine, the tone is set for Anne Newton Walther's latest tale - Loss of Innocence.

Eugénie Devereux is a French countess from the Bordeaux. Like the rest of her country she is living amidst the turmoil of the revolution, in the aftermath of the storming of the Bastille. A fiercely independent woman with a sharp mind and a strong sense of adventure, Eugénie manages her tranquil valley estate and vineyards with a firm, but kind, hand. Through her network of agents she manages to keep well informed of events unfolding beyond the walls of her château. As the violence grows in the streets of Paris and the monarchy comes under siege in Versailles, Eugénie receives a cryptic invitation from Marie Antoinette prior to her execution. Suspecting the mounting danger to the royal family, she hastens to the queen's side just as a mob of women marches on the palace, raging against their wealth and prestige.

While rebellion rocks the country, Eugénie struggles to maintain a grip on the events swirling in her life. As she undertakes a bold mission, she is joined by American shipper Bridger Goodrich, her longtime love. Though both married others, their love for each other deepens as they wade into a little-known historical plot led by French nobles and brave Americans to rescue the queen from her prison and spirit her across the Atlantic.

Anne Newton Walther's book deftly chronicles the events of the French Revolution and those swept up in such dangerous times. Her characters are engaging and personable. Although the plot is sometimes rather predictable, readers will wonder whether Eugénie will carry out her plan in time, and whether she will survive the danger in which she places herself.

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