"She was not a guilty woman, neither was she a saint; she was an upright, charming woman, a little frivolous, somewhat impulsive, but always pure; she was a queen, at times ardent in her fancies for her favourites and thoughtless in her policy, but proud and full of energy; a thorough woman in her winsome ways and tenderness of heart, until she became a martyr."
"We have followed the history of Marie Antoinette with the greatest diligence and scrupulosity. We have lived in those times. We have talked with some of her friends and some of her enemies; we have read, certainly not all, but hundreds of the libels written against her; and we have, in short, examined her life with– if we may be allowed to say so of ourselves– something of the accuracy of contemporaries, the diligence of inquirers, and the impartiality of historians, all combined; and we feel it our duty to declare, in as a solemn a manner as literature admits of, our well-matured opinion that every reproach against the morals of the queen was a gross calumny– that she was, as we have said, one of the purest of human beings."
"It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely there never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like a morning star full of life and splendor and joy. Oh, what a revolution....Little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fall upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look which threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded...."
~Edmund Burke, October 1790
A Note on Reviews
Unless otherwise noted, any books I review on this blog I have either purchased or borrowed from the library, and I do not receive any compensation (monetary or in-kind) for the reviews.
The latest in a series of mystery novels about Scotland, The Low Road
once again features the intrepid newspaper reporter John McAllister,
whose approaching marriage fills him with doubts. The disappearance of
his friend, the Scottish Traveller Jimmy McPhee, brings McAllister out
of his quiet life in the Highlands back to his former life in
crime-ridden Glasgow. Thrown into the company of Mary Ballantyne, a
young and lovely journalist, McAllister finds himself struggling with
feelings of new love as well as with many old demons. His atheism seems
to cast a darkness and hopelessness over his entire approach to life,
mirrored by the grayness and grime of the post-war Glaswegian slums. His
social prejudices cause him to be wary and critical of anyone who comes
from what he views as the upper class. In the meantime, he must decide
whether or not to go ahead with his wedding. A man of honor, McAllister
tries to take the high road of decency while surrounded by cutthroats.
The graphic descriptions of violence and dirt do not make the book an
advertisement for a summer holiday in Glasgow. Nevertheless, the
suspense keeps the reader surprised and curious to see what will happen
next. Each character comes with a unique mystery, which in itself makes The Low Road a pleasure for lovers of a good thriller.
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