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Looking for a book I read about 10 years ago. Two elderly Frenchmen are having dinner. One is a Cardinal, a Catholic, and the other is his

Looking for a book I read about 10 years ago. Two elderly Frenchmen are having dinner. One is a Cardinal, a Catholic, and the other is his cousin, a Huguenot, who is wealthy. They are waiting for the arrival of a relative from the US. During the course of the evening dinner, they discuss their family, and this brings about a sort of French history from both sides of the religious beliefs. The Catholic and the Huguenot memories alternate, and the family's involvement in the history of France over the years is told. There are ancestors who were persecuted as Huguenots, ancestors who were pals of the King, and so on. Fascinating book, but I have been unable to recall the title or author, and have been unable to find anyone who has read this book. I hope you can help me. And by the way, great story in the World-Herald this morning on you sleuths' efforts! Thanks so much. Patty Leslie
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016  |  25 Views

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Thanks for asking! That sounds like a book well worth finding. At first search I'm afraid I don't have a perfect match, but I'll offer a few possibilities and a few questions that may help us track down the title. As the article illustrated, these searches can be a bit of a process.

I made an implicit assumption that this is a historical fiction novel, but please correct me if it's a memoir or nonfiction history. The mention of an American relative makes me think of a certain time period, but do you have any gut impression of the time setting in which the two men are having their conversation? Before or after the French Revolution, or Napoleon, the mid-19th century or the early 20th? If you're not sure, that's OK. As a second question, do you have the sense that the conversation is the frame of the entire novel, or is it one part of a larger story? And as a third, do you have the sense that it was a newer or older book when you first read it, i.e., should we focus our search on books from the early 2000s or farther back?

If it wasn't for the pesky lack of English translations until recent years, I'd offer Robert Merle's Fortune de France series as a possible solution. Also take a look at G.A. Henty's St. Bartholomew's Eve: A Tale of the Huguenot Wars, which is in the public domain and may have been reprinted in any number of editions. 

We'll let this one rattle around a bit and see what we can find - if you can offer additional details, especially to help lock in the time period and a rough sense of the publication date, please feel free to email back. 

Thanks again for asking, and thanks for using AskOPL! 

Answered by Mark SorensenBookmark and Share

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