It's 1699, and the salons of Paris are bursting with the creative energy of ferce, independent-minded women. But outside those doors, the patriarchal forces of Louis XIV and the Catholic Church are moving to curb their freedoms. In this battle for equality, Baroness Marie Catherine D'Aulnoy invents a powerful weapon: fairy tales.
When Marie Catherine's daughter, Angelina, arrives in Paris for the frst time, she is swept up in the glamour and sensuality of the city, where a woman may live outside the confnes of the church or marriage. But this is a fragile freedom, as she discovers when Marie Catherine's close friend Nicola Tiquet is arrested, accused of conspiring to murder her abusive husband. In the race to rescue Nicola, illusions will be shattered and dark secrets revealed as all three women learn how far they will go to preserve their liberty in a society determined to control them.
This keenly-awaited second book from Melissa Ashley, author of The Birdman's Wife (the story of Elizabeth Gould), restores another remarkable, little-known woman to her rightful place in history, revealing the dissent hidden beneath the whimsical surfaces of Marie Catherine's fairy tales. The Bee and the Orange Tree is a beautifully lyrical and deeply absorbing portrait of a time, a place, and the subversive power of the imagination.
Melissa Ashley is a bestselling author and creative writing and poetry tutor at Queensland University of Technology. Her debut novel, The Birdman's Wife, reveals the true story of Elizabeth Gould, the true artist behind the famous illustrations credited to her husband, the ornithologist John Gould. The Birdman's Wife is a national bestseller, has won two major awards and been shortlisted for many more. Melissa spent several months in Paris researching the subject of her second book, The Bee and the Orange Tree.
She has published a collection of poems, The Hospital for Dolls; short stories; essays and articles. What started out as research for a PhD dissertation on Elizabeth Gould became a labour of love and her frst novel, The Birdman's Wife. Melissa grew up in Christchurch and has lived most of her life in Brisbane.
The Bee and the Orange Tree
Author: Melissa Ashley