As a young girl, Annette Vallon is a free spirit. She reads novels, rides horses, and hunts with her father. She is far from ordinary, particularly set against the backdrop of the French revolution. When young, Annette meets and falls in love with William Wordsworth, an English poet who has just found his muse. This book follows Annette in her journey to persevere during the French Revolution, as a woman who is strong, faithful, and brave.
I found it a bit difficult to engage with this book. I’m not sure why. It is well-written and well-told, particularly the love between Annette and William, and by the end I found myself overwhelmed by the story I’d read and a bit sad that I’d felt so distracted through the rest of the novel. I think I would have had a better time with it if I had a little more patience around this time of year. It’s unquestionably very good. Annette is a wonderful character, surrounded by loveable sidekicks and a few despicable enemies. The plot is always lively. I felt as though the author slipped into Annette’s narrative voice more easily as the story went along, and he did a very good job portraying a woman’s mind. It would have been easy to make Annette weak, considering all that happens in her life, but instead she is brave and daring. I wish there was more history written about her so that I could know more – and that, as Tipton says in his author’s note, Wordsworth’s nephew hadn’t destroyed all evidence of their correspondence.
It isn’t the best historical fiction I’ve read, but Annette Vallon is worth a look, particularly for those who like to really sink into a book and stay there.
Buy Annette Vallon on Amazon.
Thanks to Jeremy at Harper Collins for my copy!