Blogging from A to Z: F is for François Delacroix
It took a couple of months to find François and bring him to Baincthun. When he arrived, he came with several other Camargois horsemen with whom he had established a riding troupe. I enjoyed meeting his companions, but found my cousin to be somewhat cold and given to putting on airs. He even had a valet, which was peculiar for a man of his station.
François moved into the Baincthun house with me and his companions took lodging in town. Their horses joined Josephine in the barn.
I scandalized François and many others by putting off mourning a mere six months after my father’s death. I wanted to ride, and so I did. I also wanted to marry Philippe and cease the pointless waiting. – Excerpt from In The Eye of The Beholder
Claire’s handsome cousin François comes across pretty much as a stereotypical, mustache-twirling villain in this book — and that was a deliberate choice on my part. We learn more about him, and his valet, in In The Eye of The Storm.
The main reason I create the character was to highlight some oddities of Napoleonic and coverture laws. According to Napoleonic law, all children were to inherit equally regardless of gender, . However, coverture law still existed, which meant that a male relative controlled a female relative’s inheritance unless she was married. In that case, it was controlled by her husband. Because Claire is unmarried, the closest relative they can find is her cousin in the south of France.
François really is a jerk, but he is also the reason why Claire winds up in the opera house in the first place, so he moves the story along.
Are you enjoying this series so far? Intrigued enough that you would like your own copy of In The Eye of The Beholder? Here are the blurb and purchasing links.
When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiancé in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Life is not easy for a woman in fin de siècle France, where her rights are determined by a male guardian. Claire, both intelligent and independent, chafes under the strictures of her time.
Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other’s past?
Updated for 2015 with glossaries of equestrian terms and French words used in the text.
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