Title: The Testament of Sophie Dawes: The Queen n of Chantilly and a Scandal at the Heart of Victorian Society
Publisher: Create Space Independent Platform
Publication Date: March 16, 2016
The year is 1862 and the place is England. To be more specific, the place is actually Queen Victoria's Island residence of Osborne House. The time is actually a dark time, because Queen Victoria is mourning the loss of her beloved, Prince Albert. This time period was really a National Catastrophe for all of Britain. Victoria was distraught and her only interest was to memorialize her beloved forever. During this time the nation mourned with her and almost everyone dressed in black mourning wear. Therefore, everyone around her was dressed in black, which I am sure added to the dark atmosphere.
A young archivist, new at his job was sent to this dark place to find, organize, and process any type of papers, documents, or letters pertaining to or written by Prince Albert. However, all the archivist really wanted to do was to take strolls around the property bird watching. But, shortly after arriving at Osborne House, he came across a letter written by woman he had never heard of. This letter contained scandalous information centered around the son of Marie Antoinette. This information had the potential to change the history of France. The young man does not know what to think about this information. To make matters worse, he meets a woman on one of his walks and then kept running into her time and time again. Eventually they began to talk, and the woman claimed to be Madam Feucheres, the actual writer of the letter he had found. Although, he had seen this woman's grave and believed her to be dead, here she was in the flesh. He does not know what to make of this woman, but she turns up everywhere and tells more of her story at each meeting. The young man becomes haunted by this mysterious woman and grows more and more confused.
Although the story occurs during a dark time, Robert Parry managed to bring enough humor into the story to balance out the dark. For example, the young archivist hires a woman to tend house for him during his stay and they develop an unusual and unexpected relationship, which is quite entertaining. I have read most of Mr. Parry's books and have loved every one, this one included. I recommend this book for anyone interested in Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Marie Antoinette, or Louis XVI. Or, for anyone just wanting to read a great book!