Today I have a guest post from author Marie Laval on the setting of her latest book.
Angel of the Lost Treasure
An ancient secret hidden within a mother’s song …
When young widow, Marie-Ange Norton is invited to Beauregard in France by the mysterious Monsieur Malleval to collect an inheritance, she has no choice but to accept.
But when she embarks on the voyage with her fiery-tempered travelling companion Capitaine Hugo Saintclair, little does she know what waits for her across the sea in turbulent nineteenth-century France on the eve of Napoleon’s return from exile. When she arrives, she is taken aback by Malleval’s fascination with her family – seemingly inspired by his belief they are connected to a sacred relic he’s read about in coded manuscripts by the Knights Templar.
As it becomes clear that Malleval’s obsession has driven him to madness, Marie-Ange is horrified to realise she is more the man’s prisoner than his guest. Not only that, but Hugo is the only person who might be able to help her, and he could represent a different kind of danger.
Angel of the Lost Treasure is mostly set in France, more particularly in Lyon where I am from and in the nearby Beaujolais and Pilat regions. Lyon is a wonderful and inspiring city, with its two rivers and steep hills, the bourgeois Presqu’île and the old town with its beautiful Renaissance architecture, narrow cobblestone alleys and secret passageways called ‘traboules’ which the silk workers used when carrying the cloth without getting wet. I could go on and on about Lyon…
I carried out a lot of historical research and locations for the novel and enjoyed mixing historical facts with myths and legends and of course with the romance between my heroine Marie-Ange and the French hero Hugo Saintclair.
As weird as some facts or characters may seem, most of them are historically correct. For example, the ‘Société Angélique’ was indeed a secret society founded in Lyon in the mid-sixteenth century which counted many famous scholars, writers and artists, among whom the painter Poussin, the writers Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas, and supposedly even claim Leonardo de Vinci!
There is also the legendary Count Saint Germain, who remains to this day one of the eighteenth century’s most mysterious characters. I was always fascinated by the many tales and stories surrounding Saint Germain and the fact that nobody really knows who he was. Was he the illegitimate son of European royals or just a clever spy who wormed his way into the royal court of Louis XV?
Was he an alchemist who could ‘manufacture’ gold nuggets and diamonds, a Rosicrucian who had mastered the secrets of eternal life or just a charismatic charlatan? In his correspondence with Frederick the Great of Prussia, Voltaire called him ‘Der Wundermann’ and said that he was ‘a man who knows everything and who never dies’ (although the philosopher being known for his irony, we can presume that he was joking).
In the novel, my heroine Marie-Ange, whose mother was Saint-Germain’s goddaughter, has to retrieve a mysterious Templar relic of which Saint-Germain was made guardian and which is said to give eternal life…
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her latest novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was released in February 2021. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.