Mademoiselle de Malepeire

Fanny Reybaud (translated by Barbara Basbanes Richter)

Barbara Richter uses her considerable skills as a modern translator and writer to bring Fanny Reybaud’s captivating French novel to the English-speaking world for the first time in more than a century.

This 1854 novel focuses on a portrait of Mademoiselle de Malepeire, which hangs in Dom Gérusac’s home in the countryside of southern France just before the first French Revolution. Noted for her beauty, Mademoiselle de Malepeire had been painted by her well-to-do suitor, who was enthralled with her beauty and able to disregard her cold and haughty demeanor. Her eventual love story is pieced together in Dom Gérusac’s home as many unexpected guests join him, and Mademoiselle de Malepeire’s dramatic new identity is revealed.

A fast-paced and delightful mystery, Reybaud’s novel, in Richter’s hands, is a clever, inspiring gem that can still pull at the hearts of 21st century people, and perhaps, in this newest translation, will revive interest in Reybaud, once a bestselling French female novelist and considered the equal of fellow female French novelist George Sand.