I’m sharing a guest post today by Rachel L. Demeter, author of historical romance “The Frost of Springtime”. The guest post talks about six historical facts found in the book. I loved reading it – hopefully you do too.
THE BLOODY WEEK: 6 HISTORICAL FACTS FOUND IN THE FROST OF SPRINGTIME
I absolutely love unique, riveting settings, and the 1871 Paris Commune rarely appears in storytelling. It is a vastly overlooked, yet historically devastating event. The revolution lasted only for 72 days—and, in that time, 100,000 men, women, and children were either murdered or exiled to the colonies. The 1871 Paris Commune truly encompasses the patriotic spirit of France, and is a fascinating account of everyday citizens standing up against oppression and injustice.
Due to the sheer brutality and scope, it is no small wonder why this event has been dubbed La Semaine Sanglante (The Bloody Week).
When I wrote The Frost of Springtime, I not only included a day-by-day account of the civil war and the city’s devastated state, but incorporated actual participants as well!
Here are six examples of completely accurate facts found in The Frost of Springtime:
1) Many of the animals in Paris’s local zoo were cooked and served during the siege.
In Chapter Six, Sofia remarks while having dinner at Voisin that “during the siege animals from Bois de Boulogne’s menagerie were served.” And indeed—to help ward off starvation, famed chef Alexandre Étienne (of Voisin) cooked up animals from the local menagerie and served them to Paris’s wealthiest citizens. Bon appétit!
(Actual page from Voisin’s menu)
2) Black coverings were draped over the faces of Place de la Concorde’s statues.
To prevent the statues from witnessing Prussia’s invasion, Parisians draped black coverings over their faces during the siege (which had occurred months prior to the Commune). Kind of eerie.
3) Opera Garnier served as one of the Commune’s central bases.
Three-fourths completed in 1871, Opera Garnier, the renowned Paris Opera, served as a central base for the Commune. Within the grandiose walls, the wounded were tended, bullets were forged—and the “Communard’s road” (which lead from the catacombs and into the Opera) was utilized as a way of inconspicuous travel. In The Frost of Springtime, the climax occurs within the catacomb’s twisted tunnels and haunted sepulchers.
(Paris’s eerie catacombs. Constructed from over six million skeletons, it’s a true Empire of Death.)
4) The Commune executed hostages when their demands were not met.
On May 24th, 1871, a handful of Commune hostages were executed by a firing squad in the courtyard of La Roquette Prison. Amongst these victims was the Archbishop of Paris, a judge, two priests, and two Jesuits. Days later, fifty more persons were executed.
The death toll quickly skyrocketed. As a way to put an end to the uprisings, the army of Versailles (composed of over sixty-thousand troops) entered Paris on May 21st—and massacred all persons who were suspected of compliance with the Commune. And, on May 28th, the Communards were driven to a last stand at Père Lachaise cemetery where they were executed against the ancient wall.
Historical note: in The Frost of Springtime, the Commune’s hostages are decapitated underground, rather than executed by a firing squad. I made this alteration for the sake of increased drama, as well as the effect it had on the plot points/characterizations.
(The Communard’s Wall – in memory of the 1871 Paris Commune)
5) Many of Paris’s monuments were burned to the ground.
In a mad fit of revolutionary fervor, the Communards set fire to many notable buildings and landmarks—including the Tuileries Palace, Hotel de Ville and the Council of State. Many of these monuments still stand in ruin today.
6) The destruction of the Vendôme Column.
On May 17th, an eager crowd watched as the legendary Vendôme Column was lassoed with ropes and brought to its demise by saws, wedges, and 50 sailors. In The Frost of Springtime, this moment is described in intricate detail—and symbolizes Paris’s inevitable downfall as well as the citizens’ shattered fate.
About the Book
Author: Rachel L. Demeter
Genres: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: February 14, 2014
To rescue her was to rescue his own soul.
On a cold Parisian night, Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre forges an everlasting bond with a broken girl during her darkest hour, rescuing her from a life of abuse and misery. Tormented by his own demons, he finds his first bit of solace in sheltering little Sofia Rose.
But when Aleksender is drawn away by the Franco-Prussian war, the seasons pass. And in that long year, Sofia matures into a stunning young woman—a dancer with an understanding of devotion and redemption far surpassing her age.
Alongside his closest friend, Aleksender returns home to find that “home” is gone—replaced by revolution, bloodshed, betrayal—and a love always out of reach. Scarred inside and out, he’s thrust into a world of sensuality and violence—a world in which all his hours have now grown dark, and where only Sofia might bring an end to the winter in his heart.
Inspired by the 1871 Paris Commune, The Frost of Springtime is a poignant tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love.
About the Author
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of ten years. She enjoys writing dark, edgy romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and examine the redeeming power of love.
Imagining stories and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mom would jot them down for her. She has a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether sculpting the protagonist or antagonist, she always ensures that every character is given a soul.
Rachel strives to intricately blend elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some common themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
RACHEL L. DEMETER’S NEWSLETTER.
Win a $25 amazon gift card during the tour. Follow the link below to participate!
Tour-wide giveaway for two Amazon Kindle copies of the book, “The Frost of Springtime,” and a $15 Amazon Gift Card.
Go here for the giveaway.