On the evolution of The Game of Hope

On the evolution of The Game of Hope

On November 2, 2011 (the day before my birthday), my agent, Jackie Kaiser, called to tell me that I’d been made a very tempting offer by Penguin to write two YA novels. One was to be about Josephine’s daughter Hortense, and the second was to be of my choosing.

My husband and I were in Mexico at the time, and two nights before I’d told him that I would never again contract to write a book “in advance.” I simply found it too stressful.

So the timing was a bit ironic. After Jackie’s call, I told my husband, “I’ve just been made an offer I can’t refuse.” Jackie had emailed me a photo of the box the offer had arrived in. Inside were the contract details and chocolates. How charming was that?

Even so, I thought about it carefully for two months. It takes me years (and years!) to write a novel, and I have to feel passionate about it. I have to fall in love with it. So I reread books about Hortense and covered our dining room table with plot points on index cards, considering. I needed to see if there was a story there, an enchanting story about Hortense’s teen years.

And there was. And it was one I very much wanted to write. By February 9, 2012, I had made up my mind. I would accept the offer. I would write a Young Adult novel about Hortense …

… although not immediately. I was on draft 6.1 of what I was then calling This Bright Darkness, soon to become The Shadow QueenPlus, as I noted in that blog post of Feb. 9:

Somehow, I feel that I can do all of this all at once: finish This Bright Darkness, begin another adult novel set in the 17th century, write two YAs and a short novel for GoodReads, as well as launch my own e-book imprint.

(Reality has never been my strong suit.)

The Shadow Queen was published and my e-book imprint launched, but the “other adult novel set in the 17th century” had to be put on the back burner and the short novel for GoodReads was regretfully abandoned. Writing a novel requires full attention.

Soon I was carting research books on Hortense back and forth from Mexico to Canada.

I organized my plot cards, shuffled and re-shuffled them.

I researched like crazy.

I bought a deck of The Game of Hope and began exploring. (Fun!)

On November 2, 2013, a full two years after receiving the offer from Penguin, I began the first draft.

This is draft 1.7 — that is, the 7th draft of the 1st draft.

Over the next four years, I made two research trips to France.

Here I am at the gates to Mortefontaine, the country estate of Napoleon’s brother Joseph.

This is a statue of Hortense at her home of exile in Arenenberg, Switzerland, overlooking Lake Constance, now a delightful museum devoted to her memory.

This is a photo of what remains of Madame Campan’s wonderful school in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Over time, I had the requisite stack of nine drafts it takes me to write a book.

During the four years it took to write The Game of Hope, it went from being a novel told in the present tense to (at a fairly late stage) a novel told in the past tense. The title changed many, many times, and settled, finally, and happily, on The Game of Hope. The cover changed many times as well.

The Game of Hope, Hortense’s story, is now a book. For real. I’ve yet to hold it in my hands, but I will soon, in Toronto on May 1, the official Canadian publication day.

The amazement I feel about this long and magical process never grows old.

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A Question Readers Often Ask: What’s next?

A Question Readers Often Ask: What’s next?

Readers often ask, “What’s next?” The answer to that question depends on when the question is asked, of course. What follows is an evolving diary, begun many, many years ago.


A reader wrote some time ago:

Are you going to write more stories about the court of the Sun King?

Yes!

You did such a great job with the historical details and as I have studied Louis XIV and his court— there are plenty of interesting stories to tell (including the adventures of the Princess Palatine, even La Grande Mademoiselle and Lauzun, a couple that united even after a prison term and old age only to break up over greed).

Indeed! By the way, I love La Grande Mademoiselle, but have yet figured out how to tell her story.

You could even do a trilogy of Louis XIV’s Mistresses— you’ve done La Vallière, next could be Montespan, then Maintenon (the king’s mistress, then second wife).

I believe she’s onto me.

Or a novel on Princess Henrietta as she has a tragic back story with her father being killed, her brothers Charles and James, and she had several romances during her marriage to her cousin Monsieur that are interesting reading, including one lover who was her husband’s boyfriend who falls for Henrietta and became a master of disguise to see her at any cost (De Guiche–who visited her as a fortune teller, a litter bearer and in a domino so he could romance her in Philippe’s presence at a masked ball).

What wonderful suggestions these are. Henriette would indeed be a fantastic subject.

I especially love the De Guiche stories, and in fact wrote many scenes of him hiding in the fireplace and disguised as a fortune-teller, etc., but these scenes, like many, many others, now reside in my cut file.


What I wrote in answer to this letter above:

I am considering writing a novel about Athénaïs (Montespan), but it might focus on her first engagement more than her relationship to the king. I’m not sure. It could also be a story told from the point-of-view of Des Oeillets, her maid who was the go-between between Athénaïs and Voisin, the convicted poisoner.

As this reader points out, there are a wealth of wonderful stories to be told. The hard part is choosing. It took me eight years to write Mistress of the Sun because I kept changing perspectives. I even included the unforgettable Mademoiselle at one point.

I did, in fact, eventually choose to tell the story of The Shadow Queen from the point of view of Des Oeillets (Claudette).

Shadow Queen Cover copy 2

But to answer, “What’s next?”  I am writing a Young Adult novel based on the teen years of Josephine’s daughter Hortense. I am back in the Napoleonic world!


The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland Canadian Cover

It’s Easter 2018, and Hortense’s story, The Game of Hope, will soon be published in Canada, two months later in the U.S.

As for what’s next? I’m writing — or, at least I think I’m writing — a novel about a teen, a girl falconer in Elizabethan England.

That story about Mademoiselle at the Court of the Sun King continues to haunt me, however. Might that be next next?


{Photo at top is by Evan Dennis on Unsplash.}SaveSave

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The Game of Hope: Who is the girl on the cover?

The Game of Hope: Who is the girl on the cover?

The painting on the cover of The Game of Hope is by French artist Marie-Denise Villers. It is popularly known as “Young Woman Drawing,” and can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The portrait is said to be of Marie Joséphine Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, but at least one art historian believes that it’s the artist’s self-portrait.

The painting was unsigned and for years it was attributed to the famous French artist Jaques Luis David. It wasn’t until 1995 that Villers was credited for the work.

Although the painting is not a portrait of Hortense de Beauharnais, the young woman looks rather like her, I think, especially in spirit. Here is a portrait — possibly a self-portrait — of Hortense as a teen.

portrait of Hortense de Beauharnais

Hortense (possibly a self-portrait).

For portraits of Hortense at all ages, go to my Pinterest board.

For more on this intriguing painting, read “Prof. Anne Higonnet reveals a new twist in storied Metropolitan Museum of Art painting.” Higonnet’s slide presentation on this painting — “White Dress, Broken Glass” — can be seen online, although without the accompanying text it’s difficult to surmise her conclusion.

The Game of Hope: How to Play Prisoner’s Base

The Game of Hope: How to Play Prisoner’s Base

Prisoner’s Base is a very old running game that was popular at Malmaison, and continues to be played today, although likely called by a different name. We don’t know which exact rules were played at Malmaison, but here is one version:

Divide an even-numbered group in half to make teams. As few as ten can play, but if the area is very large (i.e. a football field), as many as one hundred can participate.

With sticks or chalk or a line in the dirt, make a line between the two teams. About ten to fifteen paces in back of each team outline a square. These will be the “prisons.”

Each team picks one person to be held in the opposite team’s prison. This is usually someone who can run very fast and is why, in The Game of Hope, Eugène says that Hortense is always chosen.

Once the play begins, each team chooses someone to rescue their imprisoned team member and to bring him or her back without being “caught” (tagged, that is).

If that person makes it to the prison without being tagged, then the goal is to wait and chose a moment for both to try to run back to their team’s side without getting “recaptured.

If, however, the person does get caught, then he or she also becomes a prisoner in need of rescue.

At the end of a set time, the team with the most prisoners wins. An alternative rule is to play until one team has captured all the opposing team’s members.

For more information on Prisoner’s Base and other historical running games:

Children’s Games 1560 by Bruegel the Elder

The Game of Hope: a bibliography

The Game of Hope: a bibliography

This bibliography is the list of books and magazine articles I consulted in writing The Game of Hope. Some of them I consumed, others I simply scanned, looking for one particular fact. There are a number I’ve not listed — the annotated works of Jane Austen, for example, a number of which I consumed. Also, please note that I am not an academic, and have not used correct bibliographic style. Should you wish any further information about any of these references, please contact me.

  • —. De la naissance à la glorie: Louis XIV a Saint-Germain, 1638-1682. Musée des Antiquités Nationales; Saint-Germain-en-Laye; 1988.
  • — . A Guide to the Wrightman Galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art; NY; 1979.
  • — . Decorum; A Practical Treatise on Etiquette & Dress of the Best American Society 1879. Westvaco; 1979.
  • — . Eugène de Beauharnais; honneur & fidélité.
  • — . The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness. Hesperus Press Ltd.; London; 2014 (but first published in 1860).
  • — . The reign of terror: a collection of authentic narratives of the horrors committed by the revolutionary government of France under Marat and Robespierre, Volume 1. W. Simpkin and R. Marshall; place; January 1, 1826.
  • —. Joséphine et Napoléon; L’Hôtel de la Rue de la Victoire. Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau; Paris; 2013.
  • —. La Reine Hortense; Une femme artiste. Malmaison; Paris?; May 27 – September 27 1993. —. Lucien Bonaparte et Ses Mémoires, 1775-1840. G. Charpentier; Paris; 1882.
  • —. Madame Campan (1752 – 1822). Château de Malmaison; Rueil-Malmaison; 1972. Catalog of an exhibition.
  • Abbott, John S. C. Hortense.
  • Al-Jabarti. Napoleon in Egypt. Translated by Shmuel Moreh. Markue Wiener Publishing; Princeton & NY; 1993.Alméras, Henri d’. La Vie parisienne sous le Consulat et l’Empire.  Cercle du Bibliophile. Albin Michel; Paris.
  • Anderson, James M. Daily Life during the French Revolution. Greenwood Press; Westport; 2007.
  • Atteridge, A. Hilliard. Joachim Murat, marshal of France and king of Naples. Brentanos; NY; 1911.
  • Aulard, A. Paris pendant la Réaction Thermidorienne et sous le Directoire. Tome V (July 21 ’98 to Nov. 10 ’99) Maison Quantin; Paris;1902.
  • Aulard, A. Paris sous le consulat. Vol. I. Maison Quantin, Paris; 1903.
  • Baldassarre, Antonio. Music, Painting, and Domestic Life: Hortense de Beauharnais in Arenenberg. An article published in Music in Art XXIII/1-2 (1998).
  • Bear, Joan. Caroline Murat. Collins; London; 1972.
  • Bergh, Anne de, and Joyce Briand. 100 Recipes from the Time of Louis XIV. Trans. by Regan Kramer. Archives & Culture; Paris; 2007.
  • Bertaud, Jean-Paul. Historie du Consulat et de l’Empire; Chronologie commentée 1799-1815. Perrin; Paris; 1992.
  • Bouissounouse, Janine. Julie: the life of Mlle de Lespinasse. Appleton-Century-Crofts; NY; 1962.
  • Branda, Pierre. Joséphine; Le paradoxe du cygne. Perrin; Paris; 2016.
  • Bretonne, Restif de la. Monsieur Nicolas; or The Human Heart Laid Bare. Translated, edited etc. by Robert Baldick. Barrie and Rockliff; London; 1966.
  • —. Sara. John Rodker, for subscribers; London; 1927.
  • Bruce, Evangeline. Napoleon and Josephine; The Improbable Marriage. A Lisa Drew Book. Scribner; New York; 1995.
  • Buchon, Jean Alexandre. Correspondance Inédite De Mme Campan Avec La Reine Hortense, Tome 1. (Replica.) Book Renaissance; 1835.
  • Burney, Fanny, edited by Joyce Hemlow. Fanny Burney; Selected Letters and Journals. Oxford Univ. Press; Oxford; 1987.
  • Burton, June K. Napoleon and the Woman Question; Discourses of the Other Sex in French Education, Medicine, and Medical Law 1799 – 1815. Texas Tech University Press; Texas; 2007.
  • Campan, Madame. Edited by M. Maigne. The Private Journal of Madame Campan, comprising original anecdotes of the French court; selections from the correspondence, thoughts on education, etc. etc. Nabu Public Domain Reprints of the book published by Abraham Small; Philadelphia; 1825.
  • Capellanus, Andreas. The Art of Courtly Love. Columbia Univ. Press; NY; 1960.
  • Carlton, W.N.C. Pauline, Favorite Sister of Napoleon.
  • Catinat, Maurice. Hortense chez Madame Campan (1795 – 1801), d’après des lettres inédites. Souvenir napoléonien; Paris; 1993.
  • —. Madame Campan ou l’éducation des nouvelles élites. An article in Napoléon 1er, #17. Napoléon 1er; France; Nov/Dec 2002.
  • Chevallier, Bernard. Malmaison en dates et en chiffres.
  • —. Vues du château et du parc de Malmaison. Perrin; Paris.
  • Clark, Anna. Desire; A History of European Sexuality. Routledge; NY & London; 2008.
  • Connelly, Owen. The Gentle Bonaparte.
  • Decker, Ronald; Depaulis, Thierry; Dummett, Michael. A Wicked Pack of Cards; The Origins of the Occult Tarot. Duckworth; London; 2002.
  • Delage, Irène, and Chantal Prevot. Atlas de Paris au Temps de Napoleon. Parigramme; Paris; 2014.
  • Desan, Suzanne. The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France. Univ. of Calif. Press; Berkeley; 2006.
  • Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. A Reader’s Companion; Annotated Edition, With 780 Notes. Preface, Annotations, & Appendices by Susanne Alleyn. Spyderwort Press; Albany, NY; 2014.
  • Ducrest, C. Mémoires sur L’Impératrice Joséphine; La Cour de Navarre & La Malmaison. Modern-Collection; Paris.
  • Duthuron, Gaston. La Révolution 1789-1799. Librairie Arthème Fayard; Paris; 1954.
  • Dwyer, Philip. Citizen Emperor; Napoleon in Power 1799-1815. Bloomsbury; London; 2013.
  • Eveleigh, David J. Privies and Water Closets. Shire Publications; UK; 2011.
  • Fain, Baron. Napoleon: How He Did It. Foreword by Jean Tulard. Proctor Jones Publishing Co.; SF, USA; 1998.
  • Feydeau, Elisabeth de. A Scented Palace; the Secret History of Marie Antoinette’s Perfumer. Translated by Jane Lizop. I.B. Tauris; London; 2006.
  • Fierro, Alfred. Dictionnaire du Paris disparu. Parigramme; 1998; Paris.
  • Flandrin, Jean-Louis. Translated by Julie E. Johnson. Arranging the Meal; A History of Table Service in France. Univ. of Calif. Press; Berkeley; 2007.
  • Fullerton, Susannah. A Dance with Jane Austen; How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to a Ball. Frances Lincoln Ltd; London; 2012.
  • Garros, Louis and Jean Tulard. Itinérire de Napoléon au jour le jour 1769-1821. Librairie Jules Tallandier; France; 1992.
  • Germann, Jennifer. Tracing Marie-Eléonore Godefroid; Women’s Artistic Networks in Early Nineteenth-Century Paris. The Johns Hopkins University Press; place; 2012.
  • Gershoy, Leo. The French Revolution and Napoleon. Appleton-Century-Crofts; New York; 1964.
  • Giovanangeli, Bernard. (Éditeur) Hortense de Beauharnais. Bernard Giovanangeli Éditeur; Paris; 2009.
  • Girardin, Stanislas de. Mémoires. Paris; 1834.
  • Goodman, Dena. Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters. Cornell University Press; Ithaca and London; 2009.
  • Gueniffey, Patrice. Bonaparte, 1769 – 1802. Trans. by Steven Rendall. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; Cambridge, Mass. & London; 2015.
  • Guerrini, Maurice. Napoleon and Paris; Thirty Years of History. Trans., abridged and edited by Margery Weiner. Walker and Company; New York; 1967.
  • Haig, Diana Reid. The Letters of Napoleon to Josephine. Ravenhall Books; UK; 2004.
  • Hibbert, Christopher. Napoleon: His Wives and Women. (On Google books.)
  • Hickman, Peggy. A Jane Austen Household Book. David & Charles; London etc.; 1977.
  • Hopkins, Tighe. The Women Napoleon Loved. Kessinger Pub Co; place; 2004.
  • Hortense. The Memoirs of Queen Hortense. Edited by Jean Hanoteau. Trans. by Arthur K. Griggs. Vol I & II.
  • Hubert, Gérard and Nicole Hubert. Châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois Préau. Ministère de la Culture; Paris; 1986.
  • Hubert, Gérard. Malmaison. Trans. by C. de Chabannes. Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris 1989.
  • Huggett, Jane, and Ninya Mikhaila. The Tudor Child; Clothing and Culture 1485 to 1625. Fat Goose Press; UK; 2013.
  • Jacobs, Diane. Her Own Woman; The Life of Mary Wollstonecraft. Simon & Schuster; NY; 2001.
  • Joannis, Claudette. Josephine Imperatrice de la Mode; L’élégance sous l’Empire.
  • Johnson, R. Brimley. Fanny Burney and the Burneys. Stanley Pau & Co. Ltd.; London; 1926.
  • Katz, Marcus, and Tali Goodwin. Learning Lenormand; Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life. Llewellyn Publications; Woodbury, Minnesota; 2013.
  • Knapton, Ernest John. Empress Josephine. Cabridge, Massachusetts, 1963. Harvard University Press.
  • Le Normand, Mlle. M. A. The Historical and Secret Memoirs of the Empress Josephine. Jacob M. Howard, translator. H. S. Nichols. London. 1895. Vol. I and II. Originally published in France 1820.
  • Lefébure, Amaury, and Bernard Chavallier. National Museum of the Châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau. Museum; Montgeron; 2013.
  • Lofts, Norah. A Rose for Virtue. (A novel.) Doubleday; NY; 1971.
  • Mali, Millicent S. Madame Campan: Educator of Women, Confidante of Queens. Univ. Press of America; Washington DC; 1979.
  • Mangan, J.J. The King’s favour; Three eighteenth-century monarchs and the favourites who ruled them. St. Martin’s Press; NY; 1991.
  • Mansel, Philip. The Eagle in Splendour; Napoleon I and His Court. George Philip; London; 1987
  • Marchand, Louis-Joseph. In Napoleon’s Shadow. (Marchand’s memoirs.) Preface by Jean Tulard. Proctor Jones; SF, Calif.; 1998.
  • Marsangy, L. Bonneville de. Mme Campan À Écouen. Champion; 1879.
  • Martineau, Gilbert. Caroline Bonaparte; Princess Murat, Reine de Naples. Éditions France-Empire; Paris; 1991.
  • Masson, Fredéric. Joséphine, impératrice et reine. Jean Boussod, Manzi, Joyant & C.; Paris; 1899. On Gallica.
  • Masson, Frédéric. La Société sous le consulat. Flammarion.
  • —. Mme Bonaparte (1796-1804). Deuxième Edition. Librairie Paul Ollendorff; Paris; 1920.
  • —.Napoléon et sa famille. Vol. I (1769-1802) Librairie Paul Ollendorff; Paris; 1897.
  • —. Napoléon et sa famille. Vol. VIII (1812-1813) Librairie Paul Ollendorff; Paris; 1907.
  • Mayeur, Françoise. L’´education des filles en France au XIXiem siècle. Perrin; place; 2008.
  • McCutcheon, Marc. The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s. Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993.
  • McKee, Eric. Decorum of the Minuet, Delirium of the Waltz. Indiana Univ. Press; Bloomington & Indianapolis; 2012.
  • McPhee. Living the French Revolution, 1789-1799. Palgrave Macmillan; NY; 2009.
  • Millot, Michel. The school of Venus, or the ladies delight, Reduced into rules of Practice; Being the Translation of the French L’Escoles des filles ; in 2 Dialogues. 1680.
  • Mills, Joshua W. Imitatio Techniques from Classical Rhetorical Pedagogy. (A thesis) Johns Hopkins University; Baltimore; May 2010.
  • Montagu, Violette M. Eugène de Beauharnais; The Adopted Son of Napoleon. John Long, Limited; London; MCMXIII.
  • —. The Celebrated Madame Campan. Bibliolife, but originally published by Eveleigh Nash; 1914; London.
  • Montjouvent, Philippe de. Joséphine; Une impératrice de légendes. Timée Éditions; France; 2010.
  • Oman, Carola. Napoleon’s Viceroy; Eugène de Beauharnais. Hodder and Stoughton; London; 1966.
  • Osmond, Marion W. Jean Baptiste Isabey; The Fortunate Painter.
  • Pannelier, Alexandrine. Hortense et Eugène de Beauharnais à Saint-Germain. from her souvenirs. Bulletin 1981, Société des Amis de Malmaison.
  • Parkes, Mrs. William. Domestic Duties; or Instructions to Young Married Ladies on the management of their households, and the regulation of their conduct in the various relations and duties of Married Life. Pub; New York; 1829.
  • Pawl, Ronals. Napoleon’s Mounted Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard.
  • Pellapra, Emilie de, Comtesse de Brigode, Princess de Chimay. A Daughter of Napoleon; Memoirs of Emile de Pellapra, Comtesse de Brigode, Princess of Chimay. Introduction by Princess Bibesco. Preface by Frederic Masson. Translated by Katherine Miller. Charles Scribner’s Sons; New York; 1922.
  • Pitt, Leonard. Promenades dans le Paris Disparu. Parigramme; place; 2002.
  • Prod’homme, J.—G., and Frederick H. Martens. Napoleon, Music and Musicians. The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp 579-605, Oct. 1921.
  • Reichardt, J. -F. Un Hiver a Paris sous le Consulat. (1802-1803). Librairie Plox E. Plon; Paris; 1896.
  • Reval, Gabrielle. Madame Campan, Assistante de Napoléon. Albin Michel; Paris.
  • Richardson, Samuel. Letters written to and for particular friends, on the most important occasions. Directing not only the requisite style and forms to be observed in writing familiar letters; but how to think and act justly and prudently. (reprint by Gale ECCO Print Editions); originally London; originally 1741.
  • Robiquet, Jean. Daily Life in France Under Napoleon.
  • —. Daily Life in the French Revolution. James Kirkup, trans. The Macmillan Co. New York, 1965.
  • Rogers, Rebecca. From the Salon to the Schoolroom, Educating Bourgeois Girls in Nineteenth-Century France. Penn State Univ. Press; Univ. Park, Penn.; 2005.
  • Saint-Amand, Imbert de. The Wife of the First Consul. Trans. by T. S. Perry. Scribner’s; NY; 1890.
  • Sand, George. Lettres d’un Voyageur. Penguin; Englan; 1987 (from original 1837).
  • Savine, Albert. Les Jours de la Malmaison. Louis-Michaud; Paris; 1909.
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  • Tour, Jean de la. Duroc (1772-1813). Nouveau Monde Editions; Paris; 2004.
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  • Wright, Constance. Daughter to Napoleon; a biography of Hortense, Queen of Holland. Holt, Rinehart and Winston; NY; 1961.

{Photo above by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash.}

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