Stolen Grace is a historical romance story based in 18th century Versailles, France. The reader will follow Penelope Moreau, a Creole courtier on her quest to exonerate her brother, Armand and clear her family’s name. The only clue she has is a paper given to her containing one clue “Phillipe J.” She believes it is he who connived the royal theft and once proven, would refute Armand’s alleged complicity in the crime. Pierre LeMercier is also an aristocrat of the king’s court and is fascinated by Penelope’s beauty and intrigued by her feigned lack of interest in him. Though she is resistant to his charms, she does allow for Pierre to become her suitor. Pierre vows, as well as Count Alexandre Montegeau a friend of Penelope and Armand’s parents, to help with her investigation. Count Montegeau is murdered while in the peculiar company of mademoiselle Charlotte of whom Armand has only met once. Guinevere debuts as a lady in waiting accompanied by Pierre and Penelope as they arrive at the masquerade ball at the king’s court. Charlotte is jealous of Armand and François’ relationship and confronts François. While outside Château Versailles, Armand is struck in the foot with an arrow from a longbow. Penelope wonders if they will find the evidence in time. All evidence points to the royal palace. Pierre knows that he and Penelope cannot have the life they wish for until the crime is solved. But who is the culprit and will they be caught in time?
Targeted Age Group:: 15+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I had visited Paris, France briefly on one occasion. I only spent several hours there while I was traveling to Spain. I only saw a glimmer of the Eiffel Tower in the early morning hours and most of the museums had yet to open. Even still I was able to see some of the historic architecture there. Yet, I chose Versailles, France as the setting for this novel as I imagined what it would be like in the 18th century in this less popular city. Still, I incorporated Paris into the storyline, only after a little research of its significance in developing "news".
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I knew of the French Creoles of Louisiana. I met a French Creole of Canadian descent while in Toronto. What I have never encountered was a Creole from France. I decided to imagine this character and her family to be of the aristocratic household, to confront subtle racism. Yet, I thought it would develop the story to allude to Penelope's intelligence and to some extent her beauty as features that would help her exonerate her brother. I made Armand's intelligence more obvious as it was likely more expected of 18th century men, even if Creole, to be so. However, as he is Penelope's younger brother, he is naive and it is his sister and those whom she enlisted to assist that help him.
Another man rushed towards Demetrius while Penelope gathered her brother. Demetrius was able to stave the vagabonds until they left. He kicked and punched, once in the stomach, another on the chin. The man was nearly subdued, but he had to ensure his victory. He twisted the man’s arm behind him and gave him one final kick to the ground. He broke his jaw in the centre and lost one lower tooth towards the right which he spat out. It tumbled like broken china in drips of blood until Demetrius stood in front of the man, now humiliated and stomped on the tooth until it broke in two. He looked around and noticed a few bystanders standing across the way. A few women held onto their husband’s arms, while others raised their imported fans and spread them across their faces and only peeked around them at intervals. Violence was not welcome in France and spoiled the reputation of French etiquette, but the women were not accustomed to this kind of entertainment. This was no duel, with rules and a finality that would bestow honour for the remaining man. They could not help but witness the brutality that would only justify their views of those excluded from their social status. The House of Moreau’s name was not marred this day as they escaped before the combat ensued.
“This is why we need to return home, it is not something we can discuss here.” Some gentlemen on the walk noticed the tension amongst them. A couple of women gasped, then began whispering with an air of haughtiness that the Moreaus know all too well.
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Patricia M. Muhammad is an American fiction author of crossover contemporary romance/science fiction, science fiction/fantasy, and historical romance genres. She has currently written 20 novels.
Before penning fiction, Patricia emerged as an international legal history scholar and academic author, focusing on human rights, international law and restorative justice. She has currently written and published a combination of 22 research papers and academic book reviews in these subject areas. Her work has appeared in the American University International Law Review, Columbia Journal of Race and Law, the Willamette Journal of International Law and Public Policy as well as the New York History Journal. Her non-fiction writing has been cited dozens of times in various respectable academic journals.
Her poem, 'Uncertainty' appeared in the April 2020 issue of WritersTalk.
Patricia enjoys landscape photography, travel and genealogical research.