Set amid the terror and excitement of the French Revolution, Tipton’s novel is the story of a woman who has for too long been relegated to the shadows of history: Annette Vallon, William Wordsworth’s mistress and muse.
Born into a world of wealth and pleasure, Annette enjoys the privileges of aristocracy, but a burning curiosity and headstrong independence set her apart. Spoiled by the novels of Rousseau, she refuses to be married unless it is for passion. Yet the love she finds with a young English poet will test Annette in unexpected ways, bringing great joy and danger in a time of terror and death.
One of the problems with Annette Vallon is you care more about what’s going on around her rather than to her. The French Revolution was an interestingly volatile time, but Annette Vallon is written so that it’s hard to distinguish whether it’s just historical fiction or a romance novel placed in historical times.
Whenever Wordsworth reappears, the true historical aspect of this novel. That is, the action and details of the French Revolution dry up. One must also have quite a bit of patience as this novel could have easily been trimed up if the lengthy, unnecessary descriptions were shortened.
It’s still an interesting read; very little is known about Annette (therefore, liberties are taken) and William Wordsworth is such an enigma. Yet, Annette Vallon leaves you only caring about whether or not she winds up happy and with William, and the book overall is very anti-climatic.
- Tipton, James. Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Print. 496 pgs. ISBN: 0641880057. Source: Library.