This section is devoted to stories and anecdotes provided by readers of the Angélique books.
In keeping with the interactive nature of the website, we hope that visitors will contribute their own stories and experiences for inclusion on these pages. See the section at the bottom of the page to submit your contribution.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
By Jana Kratka,
I am truly my mother’s daughter – and I thank her for introducing Angélique to me.
She discovered Angélique through the movies. She was 12 and went to the cinema every weekend. She remembers that it was almost a ritual. And when she was about 16, she found the first six Angélique books. But they were published only in Slovak (Slovakia was part of the former Czechoslovakia). Her schoolfellow got the books from Slovakia, where she had some relatives. There were only a few books from the series which my mother fetched herself in Czech or Slovak.
She has always loved these kinds of stories, films and history, especially the 17th century France of Louis XIV, and, from the geographical point of view, the various places in the books – Paris and the rest of France with its atmosphere and spirit. During the years she not only re-read the books, but also often watched all the original movies, admired the music, costumes, palaces and so on.
When I was 12 or 15, I used to say to my mother: “Angélique is terrible. Don’t watch all the Angélique films when I am at home. It’s really stupid!” At that time I had never seen the whole film and never read any of the Angélique books. I wanted so much to be individual, original – and also to be different in everything from my mother. She had blond hair, I had red hair – and so it was with everything. And with Angélique too. It’s a wonder that my mother could stay with me!
Some years passed and I started to study at university. I had much free time between lectures, but what to do? You can read, but what? I discovered a few Angélique books at home and started reading Angélique and the King. It was perfect. I avidly read the book and since then I have never stopped. Bleary-eyed, I attended my lectures. In fact, I wasn’t really there. I was in Versailles. I was totally lost in the 17th century. At the university library I found everything about the era – maps, palaces and so on. I discovered that the Angélique books are really historically accurate. I was enthusiastic. I had discovered Angélique for the first time when I was 20 – so many years later!
I wanted to read the next Angélique book, but there weren’t any at home, so I asked my mother about this, inconspicuously. But she understood that I had finally discovered these books, even though she remembered how I kept saying they were terrible and really stupid. Then I understood, too, that we (my mother and me) are almost the same. Her name is Jana and she is 42. I’m Jana too, and I am 21.
During the years I forgot to struggle for my individuality. I already know who I am – my mother’s daughter. We have got similar style and ideas. My mother has always loved the style of the 1960s, she is still wearing long blond hair and eyeliner – in short, the style of Angélique at the movies.
And how am I looking? Yes – like my mother. Now, we are good friends, we can travel together (for example, to Paris), talking about the books, about our lives, about movies, and about the best history teaching book, in which the background is perfect. We both like the age of the Sun King, Versailles, Paris and the rest of France very much.
After my discovery of the next books in the university library, we both started to read – me for the first time, while my mother re-discovered Angélique. We read the entire series (so far) and, in The Victory of Angélique, were disappointed to find the end was left open. There was no information about Anne and Serge Golon on the books’ jackets, so we thought they had both died. We were devastated by the idea that we would never read the happy ending. My mother said she was sure the next book was already written, but I said the story doesn’t go on.
I didn’t know there were sites about Angélique on the internet. I thought they were old books that nobody reads anymore, but I discovered through this website that, in fact, there are many others who wanted to know what happens to Angélique. Now I know about the existence of Anne Golon, readers of Angélique, problems with translations, of plans for the future and so on. And I know we aren’t alone in this.
Now we have new hope that the series is going to have a happy ending.
Escapism At Its Best
By Carol Jennings,
On reading the stories of other Angélique readers on this website, I realised how similar my own experiences were to theirs. For example, an Angélique book was a regular accompaniment to my sixth form general studies classes.
In spite of the fact that I later specialised in other subjects, history was my favourite subject at school and I read many classic and historical novels as a result. However, it was not until my GCE O-Level year, at 16-years-old, that I read for the first time the novels of a French author: Sergeanne Golon.
I read Angélique in Love first, due to my weakness for always wanting to read the end of a novel before starting the beginning. I loved it. The bug had struck. I borrowed the first volume of Angélique from the library, started at the first page – and the rest is history.
During the 1970s I read and re-read the Angélique books and eagerly awaited each new title. I had given up hope of further novels when I received two copies of ‘Ghosts’ for Christmas 1979 (complete with the abominable ‘Ghostslut’ covers). I eagerly awaited a continuation of the story, but as far as the English-speaking world was concerned, a further novel never arrived.
In the years that followed I was too busy raising a family and studying to gain further qualifications to read many novels, so my old Angélique books remained on the shelf. In the mid-1990s I started a new career and found myself working very long hours and having little time for anything else. But after about a year I rebelled. How? I took my old copy of Angélique in Love off the shelf and read it.
It being nearly 20 years since I had last read the books, I wondered whether further books had been published. I wrote an inquiry to publishers William Heinnmann but received no reply. I searched through the micro-fiches in the public library. They revealed a new title: La Victoire d’Angélique. I ordered it, but it never arrived.
That year we had already booked a holiday in France. If Victoire really existed, I hoped to find it then. On our first day I found a rather tatty copy of Angélique in Quebec in a small supermarket in Burgundy. I bought it and found out that there had, in fact, been three novels published after ‘Ghosts’. My then 30-year-old O-Level French was extremely rusty, but I realised that if I wanted to learn the rest of the story I would have to read it in French. I returned home with a copy of all the books except La Victoire d’Angélique, which I finally managed to order through The French Bookshop in London.
I made up my mind that I was not only going to read and translate the last three titles, but all the books in the series. I can’t think of any other books that could have motivated me to do this. The task took me what little spare time I had for three years.
As a result I can now read French, if not fluently, at least easily. At last I have learnt the (current) remainder of the story. I have always loved the books, but now I have an even greater appreciation of the series as a whole and of the work that went into writing them. In particular I refer to the enormous attention to historical detail shown by the author, providing a fascinating insight into the history of both France and the New World. It’s escapism at its best, and who wants television?
Another result is that I have been able to read of events in the first ten novels that I had never had the opportunity to read before because they had never been included in the English texts. This provoked my anger.
I found additional material in The Countess Angélique not present in its French counterpart. But for the most part it is in the English translations, in particular for the first four novels, that one finds evidence of considerable butchery. It angered me at first because I realised that readers of the English versions had been deprived of whole sections of the story. Later it was a protest reaction of the type that one would feel towards someone who had defaced a work of art.
I sincerely hope that the problems that Anne Golon has had with her publishers will very soon be resolved to her satisfaction. I look forward to seeing all her books appear for posterity in their complete, unabridged, author’s cut versions. I am of course particularly interested in future English versions, but my statement holds true for whatever language the books appear in.
And last but not least, I can’t wait to read the long-awaited sequels to Victoire – in English or in French.
By Dana-Lynn Steele,
New York, USA
I know you must get lots of e-mails from lots of people, but I might surprise you when I tell you my age… I was 11 years old when I started reading the books in April 2001 and by May 2001 I had read 1-9.
I love the books and I thank my mother for introducing Angélique to me. I was wondering when the new books would be fully translated and I asked my mom for the next book for my birthday.
She said there wasn’t one, but I refused to believe this. I then looked up Sergeanne Golon and found this wonderful site.
God bless the internet…
Who Needs Biology?
By J Anna Ludlow,
I only discovered recently that my belief that I did not start reading the books until I was 17-years-old was a gross miscalculation. It was a big enough shock to find out that I was only 15 and an even bigger shock to discover that I was reading the first of the series when I should have been doing my biology revision. Thank heavens my mother never found out.
Needless to say, I never passed, nor to my recollection, sat the biology examination.
My sister, who always had a big influence on my reading, introduced me to the books, having found the first in a motorway shop when we stopped on a journey down to London.
The rest, as they say is history. We followed the series, buying two sets of the books up to and including Angélique in Love. After that it was left to me to search for any follow-ups – although we first took ‘Countess’ out of the library as we wanted to get on with the series. It was a long, long time between Demon and Ghosts and even then when I picked up the paperback of ‘Ghosts’ I had to read the dustjacket to make sure it really was a continuation.
What almost prevented me from buying the book was the wholly inappropriate cover, now immortalised by Harvey J Adkins (President of Friends of Angélique) as ‘Ghostslut’.
As this book ends with Joffrey pronouncing “Let the festivities begin…” it was very apparent that there was more to come ….. regrettably not in the English language. Some years later, our friend in Paris sent a magazine cutting advertising latest publications. She states to this day that it was not intentional, that the article on the other side was what she intended us to read.
Nevertheless, there it was, ‘J’ai Lu’ advertising Angélique in Quebec. We waited and no sign of this book appeared in the UK. I wrote to friends in the States and Australia to look out for it, but to no avail. Eventually, having plenty of time on my hands (I was having an unnaturally long stay in hospital) I wrote to Heinemann’s (as publishers of the previous hardbacks, the paperbacks to follow after an interval of 12-18 months) to ask when we might expect to see ‘Quebec’ translated.
They replied (I’ll give them that, they did actually reply) to the effect that “they were not commissioning any further translations due to lack of interest.” I’ll never forget that phrase. My immediate reaction was – well, if there’s no interest, what about me? Don’t I count? Evidently not.
Some years later, in Paris, I decided to buy the book in French – might as well see the adventure to the end – so I purchased ‘Quebec’ parts 1 and 2, Route de L’Espoir and Victoire (of whose existence I didn’t know until I started going round the bookshops). I poured over the sleeve jackets and died a quiet death when I read ‘dernier adventure’ on ‘Victoire’. The French, like the English, can put several meanings to one word and this one did not necessarily mean ‘last’ as in ‘final’. This definitely smacked of ‘latest’ – so was my quest to continue?
On entering the world of the internet, I eventually hit Harvey’s page and I realised I was not a dinosaur after all – and not the only one looking for a conclusion (preferably in English) to a fascination that had started all those years ago when I should have been revising for my exam.
Since then I have had the privilege of meeting Anne Golon on several occasions and being complimented by her on a variety of my activities. My most cherished compliment is the fact that she not only approves of the design of the Friends of Angélique logo which was inspired by nothing other than my thought of the Sun King and Angélique being irrevocably linked.
Probably, somewhere in the depths of my art history background (you see, biology would have been of no use to my chosen career after all) I may have drawn on some knowledge of the period, but Anne showed me exactly what the logo reminded her of and she knew instantly where to look for it in her mountain of reference books (namely the library in Versailles).
And finally, thanks to all this, I’m getting my cake and eating it – because, having struggled to read the books in French, my reward is the great privilege of working in tandem with one of the translators and typing up her work.
J Anna Ludlow is the treasurer of Friends of Angélique. She lives in England and has worked in the British television and theatre industries, but is now duties manager for Nottingham Police.
By Belén Chamarro Lerma,
I met Angélique when I was 14 (now I’m 34).
My aunt lent me the bright-coloured books I had been seeing in her shelves since I was a small child. In that Spanish edition, every book was in a different colour (green, blue, orange, pink) and had in the cover the same abstract painting; that’s why I had no idea of the great story that was lying inside.
My father and his sisters had read the books in their 20s and kept them with love. My aunt had all the books until Angelica y el Terror (ie the second volume of Angélique and the Demon) except Angelica y el Rey (Angélique and the King), but I got this one from a friend, and in one month I had read all of them.
Four years later I knew about the existence of ‘Quebec’ (translated into Spanish) and I bought it, but due to the different number of books between the two editions I missed Angélique and the Ghosts, whose existence I discovered through the internet.
Finally, I bought Angélique et le Complot des Ombres some months ago. Although my French is not so good, I have enjoyed a lot with that beautiful way of writing that Anne Golon has.
Angélique Showed Me The Way
By Marilyn Armstrong,
I read Angélique when I was in my early teens.
I read it, my girlfriends then all read it, then I read it again and again until I could (and still can) recite whole sections of the book from memory. As each new book came along, I read it as slowly as I could to treasure the time.
I am told that I have been ‘brave’ in the way I take on life and I do believe that Angélique very much influenced me to take risks and be my own person. She was the standard against which I would measure myself.
OK, so I’d never been golden haired and green eyed and I probably wasn’t going to lead any armies, but I could embrace life with the same fervor and courage.
And so I’ve gone from New York, to Jerusalem (almost nine years in that amazing city) and thence to Boston and now, finally, to ‘the farm’ in western Massachusetts.
Angélique showed the way by being feminine and strong and always and forever herself – able to love and be loved, but never subservient or foolish.
I am not she, but she is a little part of me.
A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do
By Elaine Hanna,
I started reading Angélique at about age 16 and quickly became enthralled. These books have remained dear to me for all these years.
Some people might not agree with me, but I found Angélique to be a wonderful feminist role model at a time when there weren’t many (early 1970s).
I absolutely adored it when she led her troops in battle against the king, had the confidence to chuck everything and rush off to the Meditteranean looking for lost love – and turned out to be a better shot than her awesome husband!
I have to admit that it was largely the influence of these books that caused me to do many of the things I have done in my life.
Anyway, I finished Angélique and the Ghosts in the early 1880s and, like most of us, it nearly killed me to see that there was obviously more to this story that I couldn’t find.
I looked everywhere. Finally I went to the university and did a computer search (which cost a lot back then) and found the last three untranslated books. After much searching I got a copy of Angélique a Quebec.
Now, I have to tell you that it had been more than ten years since my one year of high school French and I didn’t remember any of it.
I suppose it was crazy, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
I couldn’t stand not reading this book, so I went out and bought a French/English dictionary, a French grammar book and a copy of 501 French verbs – and sat down to translate for myself. I didn’t have much time and had to limit it to an hour a day.
It took forever – hours and hours to get through a single page, but I was obsessed! I had to know. Gradually I actually learned some French and it took less time.
By the time I got to the end – and this book is 826 pages long! – I could pretty much read it straight from the page.
Several years later I was able to use French as one of my required languages for my PhD without even taking a class. I just took a test. � Now, while giving others a translation of the book would be a violation of copyright laws and Anne Golon’s rights, if anyone would like to buy the book in French and try this for themselves, I would be happy to help. There is also some translation software out there that isn’t great but does help.
Maybe nobody is as obsessed as I was, but who says that romance novels can’t be educational?
Pardon My French
By Vanessa Morgan
Sixteen years ago I found my English mother, then aged 72, sitting up in bed at 3.30am, with Angélique a Quebec in French.
She hadn’t spoken French since schooldays, but there she was with three paperbacks, a notebook and pen, plus two French/English dictionaries, trying to discover what happened next.
Now re-reading this brilliant series, I can’t believe that Angélique a Quebec is still not available in English! Please, someone tell me that it does exist, somewhere, in an English translation! My mother gave me a rough storyline, but that was years ago now, and she isn’t alive to ask for the basic story again. I just haven’t time to learn French that thoroughly right now…
My Translation Project
By Marcia Moneymaker,
My sister lived in Istanbul, Turkey, and saw the first Angélique movies, then read the (first five) books.
She came over to the US to university to work on her degree and went to a bookstore and bought the books and told me how wonderful they were and that they were a must-read. I began reading them and was hooked.
I was very glad when the ones set in the New World began coming out and would read them from the library and then buy them when they came out in paperback.
I watched and waited for Angélique in Quebec to come out and it never did! I was amazed to find that there were two other volumes beside that one that were never translated into English.
From the Web I found that there were others who loved Angélique as I did and also discovered that the movies that my sister had seen in Turkey were available on video in Canada (in French with no subtitles). I have them now and watch them.
I also am very slowly translating Angélique in Quebec because I wanted to find out what happened to Joffrey and Angélique in Quebec during that winter.
I have a pencil, notebook and two French dictionaries plus one book on French verbs that I carry around along with my copy of Angélique a Quebec for my translation project.
The Other Angélique
By Angélique Alleyne,
New York, USA
Here’s my predicament.
Earlier this year I started to read the Angélique series. My mother used to read these books when she was my age, so she named me Angélique.
Anyway, my mom thought I should read them, but when I tried to buy them I found out that they weren’t being published anymore.
Eventually I got nine of the books through auctions and buying them from other countries. They were the best books I’ve ever read!
Even though I’m only 16, I doubt that my opinion will change. I just finished Angélique and the Ghosts last night and now I can’t finish the series.
I speak some French but to read one of these books in French would be really tedious for me. When will the rest of the books will be published in English?
By Wilma Middendorp,
I have a daugther who is 20-years-old and her name is Angélique.
I named her after Anne Golon’s romantic figure – and her second name is Michéle after Michèle Mercier, the actress who played Angélique in the films.
I was in love with Joffrey De Peyrac – the man of my dreams!
The Ultimate Woman
By Marketa Havlickova,
I first discovered Angélique when I was about 12 and my passion for the books has been growing ever since. Now I am 23 and my favourite part of the day is still the one when I take my book in the evening and read… and read… and read.
It is hard to say what fascinates me most about Angélique, but it’s probably her character. She is the absolute ‘femme fatale’, the ultimate woman. She’s got everything a girl can dream to have, and still she’s so real, so believable.
That’s one of the amazing things that Anne and Serge Golon have managed – the historical reality. The books are nothing like the ‘pink library’, but exactly the opposite.
They have everything – love, suspense, adventure, psychology – a lot of psychology, I must say – and historical validity. They have an absolutely accurate historical background – so accurate that it almost makes you believe the characters really did exist.
Whatever the book talks about – historical events, personalities, dates, places, traditions, the meals, the clothes they wore, the type of hairbrush Angélique used – if you try to search and find out whether it really was like that, you always come to the conclusion that it is all absolutely true. You can rely on anything in the book as fact – and can actually consider it a history teaching book.
I can’t imagine what hard work it must have been for the authors to do all the research.
As I read I always realize that Angélique’s reactions to events and characters are so real, so true, so imaginable, and everything she feels and thinks is so believable.
It makes me think Anne Golon must be a great psychologist as well.
Hooked on History
By Leslie Bardes,
My first encounter with Angélique was in the spring of 1968 while finishing up my sophomore year at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana.
My mother had been reading the books for a couple of weeks and had urged me to “at least try the first one”. I was hesitant because I was so burned out from all the reading I had to do on a daily basis for my heavy course load. But it was a dateless Friday night, and I was bored…
By Monday morning, I had finished Angélique in Revolt.
Bleary-eyed, I attended my two morning classes. Of course, I wasn’t really there. I was sailing off into the Atlantic and a new life, with Rescator guiding my course!
I could still hear the snap of the sails and feel the pitch of wooden timbers beneath my feet. I was lost in the 17th century and didn’t want to be found.
After class, I headed straight to the campus library and found Angélique in Love, which I devoured in short order.
But that was the end of the series as far as Shreveport was concerned. I consoled myself by reading everything I could find on the life of Louis XIV, maps of 17th century France, the French Hugenot Wars, Versailles, 17th century sailing vessels, and so on.
The Angélique Series proved to be so historically accurate that I found myself rereading the books one month later at a more leisurely pace, this time to re-enter the past and have good look around.
In the space of two weeks, I had developed what became a life-long passion for history and writing. I changed my major to English, and minored in European history.
I have never regretted my decision. I write historical fiction as a hobby and dare to hope that some day one of my novels will be published.
The real joy, however, has been in the research and the writing – with Anne Golon’s incredible talent as my example.
Something that strikes me about Angélique readers is that many people are introduced to the books by either a parent or loved one. We all prize these books so highly that we pass them onto our children and loved ones, just as we would a treasured family heirloom.
My daughters are 20 and 23 now, and I had to coerce them into reading the first couple of chapters. But, of course, after that they couldn’t devour them fast enough.
And we are never bored.
After the Movies
By Brigitte Collet,
I am a bit worried to confess that I discovered Angélique through the movies.
There was an almost ritual summer rendezvous: each year, in July or August, one of the French TV channels used to show the Angélique series – one per week, during a month.
Each year I would not miss the ritual rendezvous – and each year I could not make up my mind whether I was more in love with Robert Hossein (Joffrey) or Claude Giraud (Philippe).
I was 12 when my mother, who never liked the movies and was reaching the point when she became really fed up with them, ran to the local bookstore, bought the first Angélique book, put it in my hands and said: “Now that’s enough with the movies – read!”
And thus began a very strange kind of race. I read at a hectic pace – but not enough to satisfy my mother who took each book as soon as I closed it… to re-read it. I truly can’t count how many times I have re-read the whole series since this summer of 1971.
I still watch the movies with pleasure and tenderness as they’re part of my childhood – the difference being that now I know they don’t have much in common with these such wonderfully written books.
I just wish to add that my mother was a French literature teacher – the kind of person who reads and comments the works of James Joyce and Marcel Proust in the time it takes anyone else to read the latest summer book-seller – and that she considered the Angélique series the best historical fiction ever.
By Betsy Richens
Every year my family would come south from Seattle to Ashland, Oregon to meet my grandmother coming north from San Francisco for the Shakespeare Festival there.
In 1977 I was 17, and being a great reader I naturally had to check out the bookstore in Ashland soon after we got there. I like big books, and when I saw Angélique on the shelves I thought “Now here’s a book to keep me busy for a while!”
Little did I know. I took it back to the motel and started it, stopped briefly for dinner, managed to sit through the play that night before going back to the room and reading through most of the night.
The next day I realized I was going to finish it way too soon, so I went back to the bookstore and bought the next three in the series, which were all they had.
My family still talks about the trip where Betsy did nothing but read!
My Love Affair With A Fantasy
By Harvey J Adkins,
My love affair with Angélique began when I was in late high school in the mid-60s.
I was an avid reader – still am – who would read anything and everything that interested me, from the classics to what was at that time considered to be pure trash, The Carpetbaggers – a book I have always considered to be much better, by the way, than most critics at the time gave it credit.
Anyway, I had recently finished Gone With the Wind and had fallen head-over-heels with Scarlett O’Hara. Rhett Butler had become my all-time favorite hero to that point, too. Little did I know that there was a couple waiting in the wings to steal my affection from them forever.
It was my mother who told me one day that if I liked GWTW, there was a series of books I might also like, written by a French author about a character named Angélique. It turned out that my mom was a mistress of the understatement.
I didn’t just like it, I loved it, and it has been an obsession with me ever since.
From page one of the first book I was completely enthralled, and I read the books through to Angélique in Love (all that were then available) in record time, as I have never considered myself a very fast reader.
Quite simply, Angélique and Joffrey supplanted Scarlett and Rhett, and I have found no characters in literature who have even come close since.
For several years, I wondered if Angélique’s saga would ever continue. In fact, Angélique in Love would have been the place where many authors would have stopped because it was a perfectly satisfying happily-ever-after ending, but somehow, as with so many fairy tales, I wanted to know what happened ‘after’.
For several years, each time I would enter a bookstore, I would glance at the ‘G’ section until the point when I had almost given up hope.
One day, as usual, second nature got the best of me and there in the ‘Gs’ I saw a book called The Countess Angélique.
I remember almost standing there in shock, thinking my eyes were deceiving me, but no, there was really a book there, and the description on the jacket made it clear that this was, indeed, a continuation of the story.
I was almost afraid to buy it, fearing that I might be disappointed, but I should have known better. As before, it was wonderful, and the best thing about it was that it was clear that the author(s) meant to continue. Thereafter followed Temptation, Demon, and Ghosts in fairly rapid succession.
The only dark spot in this, as someone has already mentioned, was the notation that Serge had died.
Still, it was clear that Anne meant to continue writing this wonderful series, and so I waited… and waited… and waited… but nothing!
For the next 20 years or so, again every time I went into a bookstore, to the ‘Gs’ I would go, even long beyond what I knew to be hopeless. For years I assumed that Anne Golon had either retired or even possibly passed away.
Clearly she couldn’t still be writing the series, because such great books couldn’t fail to be printed, could they?
Well, I thought that was the end of the story, and it would have been had it not been for having had children somewhere along the way (never have quite figured out how that happened).
My daughter became an especially avid reader, and when I felt she might be old enough to appreciate the Angélique series, I mentioned it to her. She said she’d like to give them a try.
By that time, I had loaned my old copies to someone who never returned them. Why is it that these books never get returned?
Still, I thought, no problem! We’ll just go down to the bookshop and replace them.
Wrong answer. When I couldn’t find them on the shelves, I asked a saleslady to look them up, but not only did they not have them, but they had no information on them. It was as if my favorite book series of all time had never even existed.
Fortunately for me, that was about the same time that I began getting interested in the internet. Just for the hell of it, I ran a few searches, and soon began to find out that there was much more to the story than I had ever conceived.
Not only had the books been out of print in English, but three more had been published and never translated into English, five movies had been made and never translated, and Anne Golon was still alive and continuing to write.
I found this depressing and hopeful at the same time – depressed that I was effectively shut off from knowing the rest of the story, but hopeful in that some day I might be able to read it for myself.
I began ‘bumping into’ others in search of the same information that I was looking for and pretty soon we had begun an e-mail discussion group, which has since blossomed into several web pages, a bulletin board, e-mail list service, an official fan club, and hundreds of interested persons.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe how rapidly all this has developed, but it’s a strong indication just how much people who have read these books come to love them.
Harvey J Adkins is a microbiologist with the US Navy, currently stationed in Sicily, and was elected the first president of Friends of Angélique in 1999.
I Can’t Put Them Down!
By Marie Robb
I must have been about 17-years-old and a senior in high school when I was introduced to Angélique.
I was already a dedicated reader of books from many different genres. My parents are both avid readers and my father gave me his copy of Angélique, saying he thought I might like it.
The book dominated may waking moments – at least those that I wasn’t required to pay attention to something else!
I don’t think I knew at the time about other books in the series, but within a few months, when I went off to college, I discovered the entire series at my college bookstore. I even purchased another copy of the first one since I had worn out my father’s copy.
Oddly enough, my mother, who has read many romances – not the Harlequin level, but definitely some bodice-rippers – didn’t start the series until recently. I think the covers put her off. Imagine that! Now she is finishing Angélique and the King.
Even now, when I re-read the series, I can hardly put the books down. I try to squeeze in some pages while exercising, cooking – anytime.
I find myself sitting around reading instead of doing other things I should be taking care of. As a mother of three – and soon to be four – there are plenty of those ‘other things’.
I had bad timing last year and was reading about Joffrey’s trial and execution on our wedding anniversary. I could hardly even smile! After all these years and re-readings, I am still deeply moved by our heroine (and hero).
My eldest child is ten-years-old and I am looking forward to introducing them all to Angélique when the time is right.
By Susan Tremont,
As Steve Hall, the vice-president of the Friends of Angélique is my partner, it will come as no surprise to anyone that it was he who put me on to the Angélique books.
We’ve been together for 19 years now, but when we had been ‘going out’ approximately a year, Steve went home to England for a holiday (I am Australian and we live in Australia). On his return, I duly met him at the airport filled with romantic notions, lust and lunch plans!
We arrived back at my flat and he pulled out all these very old books – half of them falling apart. He told me how he had read them as a teenager and had come across them again at home.
He was amazingly excited about his rediscovery, but I was heavily into ‘serious’ English literature at the time and took one look at the covers and thought: no way am I going to be seen with these books, let alone read them.
It’s terrible, I know, but it ishonest!
After getting off a 25-hour flight and worse from wear after six weeks of his beloved English beer and football (which comes a close second and third after Angélique), Steve wanted a nap… hardly what this young, innocent girl had in mind. So I started to read the books.
I let Steve sleep on much later than he intended to and lunch didn’t even see dinner!
Over the next week I did nothing but work and read – totally hooked. In fact, I read them a little too quickly and still to this day find more and more content in them when I re-read them.
Two Great Stories in One
By Graham Carter,
As a journalist and editor, I like to think that I know a good story when I hear one. And I’ve heard one.
It’s all about a remarkable French heroine who achieved so much against all the odds, who stands as an example to us all – and who appears to leave an indelible mark on anyone who ever meets her.
But I’m not talking about Angélique. I’m talking about Anne Golon.
I heard Anne’s story before I heard Angélique’s, thanks to Steve Hall, who is now vice-president of Friends of Angélique. I ‘met’ Steve on the internet through a mutual liking for Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart, a man who is renowned for his well-informed songs on historical themes (including one about the Palace of Versailles, incidentally).
Myself and Steve found we had a number of things in common, but Angélique wasn’t one of them.
He was – and still is – passionately determined that Anne’s rightful place among the literary greats is confirmed and that the books are accessible for a whole new generation of readers in the future. Being younger and much less well-read than Steve, however, I had to admit that, until then, I had simply never heard of them.
When he told me Anne’s remarkable story and asked me to put together this official website about Angélique, endorsed by Anne and her daughter Nadja, what could I say?
By way of research I set about finding copies of the books, but only recently turned up an old edition of the first, The Marquise of the Angels, which has finally enabled me to start from the beginning instead of trying to pick up the threads of the story from Angélique in Revolt.
I am now beginning to understand the magnetic appeal of these books – and find myself in a privileged position among Anne Golon’s army of loyal readers, most of whom have already read the books and re-read them, many times.
Although they still derive so much pleasure from re-reading the stories, although they discover new aspects of the story on every reading, and although they can now look forward to reading the translation and/or publication of the conclusion to the story, I know they envy me and all those other people who are yet to discover Angélique’s story.
The privilege of reading the books and being introduced to the characters for the very first time is still mine to look forward to.
If it’s half as good as Anne Golon’s own story – and I haven’t been disappointed by what I have read so far – then it is going to be a special pleasure indeed.
Angélique and Chips
By Michael Kourtoulou
I met Angélique at the library in July 1978!
I was working behind a fish and chip take-away counter during the summer holidays in between my exams and needed something to read when the shop wasn’t busy.
I picked up the first Angélique book simply because I liked the cover, read the inside flap – and the rest is history.
I was so drawn to the character that I read the entire series, one book after the other.
Over 20 years later I re-read the books and wondered if Angélique in Quebec, which I knew was available in French, had been translated. Through the internet I was thrilled to discover that there was a campaign to have the last three books translated into English.
I was also thrilled to learn that no less than five films had been made from the earlier books, whereupon a delightful friend from the internet offered to lend me the videos. I have since purchased my own Italian-dubbed copies.
I must confess that it wasn’t until The Countess Angélique that I began to like Joffrey. Until then I thought him arrogant, but Angélique herself was a delightful femme fatale; a plucky and ravishing heroine who exuded great inner strength and purpose. As pathetic as it may sound, I sort of had a crush on her.
I loved the sense of adventure and attention to detail and I revelled in the period in which the books are set. Most importantly, for me, the authors managed to bring the past to life in such a way that one could experience, almost voyeur-like, the machinations, cabals and romantic intrigues of Angélique and the various characters that surrounded her.
I also enjoyed the fact that the books ran the entire gamut of human emotions; from tragedy to impish humour.
Great credit must also be given to the highly competent translations. There have been many comments over the fact that the English translations differ slightly to the original French books, but it is worth remembering that this may well be the result of prudent editing.
Many happy returns
By Claudia Machado
I’ve always loved reading since I can remember, so on my birthdays my parents usually knew what they would offer me – books.
It was my 12th birthday, and my mother gave me a big pack. I opened it and surprise – there they were, about six books, all with a woman on the cover.
I confess I wasn’t much thrilled with the cover, but I decided to read them. I started that same night and since then I have never stopped.
Now I’m 24 and through all these years, I’ve searched for all the books, and found them. But I had to read the last three books in French because they haven’t been translated into Portuguese.
What can I say about Angélique books? They had such an influence on my life, all these characters, and I’m not just talking about Angélique and Joffrey, but the others – Desgrez, Phillipe, the King, Nicholas, Savary and so many more. They are so filled with life!
It’s hard for me to write down all my feelings about the Angélique series.
Thank you, Anne and Serge, for giving me and others the chance to read them.
By Ellen Solch
Imagine! 25 years later… I rediscover Angélique!
We first met in the summer of 1975. As a school girl, I, an avid reader and a dreamer, was reading many books – most of them those trashy romance novels (curiousity about sex at that age was getting the better of me).
On the shelf, along with all those other books was an Angélique novel. I’m not sure anymore which one it was, to tell the truth, but I do recall being attracted by the artwork on the cover and the size of the book. Being a voracious reader, 400 pages was not intimidating. I remember reading it, and then re-reading it, and then the love affair began.
I recall avidly badgering the librarian for all the other copies of the series that she could find. I read all of them except Ghosts that summer, and was unhappy that no more were to be found.
Many years passed and I forgot Angélique. Life has a way of pushing aside real enjoyment. Then, just recently, I was touring the Web and found, on a well known book merchant’s site, a reference to Golon. The name rang a bell and before I knew it, I’d found out Anne was alive, still writing, and – wonder of wonders – that there were more books.
As my excitement grew, I again hit all the local libraries, located three of the books and started reading again, as voraciously as last time. Things like laundry, cooking, cleaning and even mowing the yard took a back seat. I resented having to go to work too, and found it difficult to focus on the task at hand without images of Angélique and Joffrey moving in and out of my waking moments. Not content with that, I scoured the auctions, bought all the books and didn’t blink an eye at the cost. I am determined to relive again the magic and the excitement of Angélique.
After I read Marquise of the Angels, I began to see some parallels in my own life. I started wondering if I had, over all these years, formulated my ideas about the ‘ideal mate’ from the storyline.
Though I’ve not suffered to quite the magnitude that as Angélique has, I certainly have had my heart damaged by some of the choices and circumstances that have happened in my life. I certainly have not met anyone who could hold a candle to Joffrey, either. Perhaps it is best that they live on in my memory as the ideal couple, their relationship fraught with the very same humanity, emotion and vulnerability that a deep love brings.
I salute Anne Golon in her quest to complete the series. The woman is certainly tenacious! My only wish is that she will not kill off either Joffrey or Angélique, as I should be heartbroken. This dream is not to be quenched, but nurtured and remembered as certainly some of the best historical writing in our modern times.
Reading these books again, I began to understand who I was at such a young age – and why I am who I am today.
My Sainted Aunt
By Mariann Mäder
My own story as to how I found and met Angélique is very quickly told.
My aunt mentioned the series to me and so I went out and looked for the books when I was around 20 or so. I got them as paperbacks and was drawn in immediately.
At first I only got them up to Angélique and the Ghosts. Then, one by one, I had the luck of just looking casually for them and found the rest of the books, which luckily had all been translated into German.
Growing Up With Angélique
By Joyce Murphy
New England, USA
Funny how some episodes in your life stand out.
It’s remarkable how I remember exactly where I was when I met Angélique.
My adored older friend (who treated me like a little tag-along, but of course I just basked in her shadow) showed me the book she had gotten out of the Fitchburg, Massachusetts Public Library, and was bringing it back. I had just ‘graduated’ from the children’s library to the grown-up main library, and was a freshman at Fitchburg High School.
It was probably – now that I look back – the first and only book my friend ever read. She was one of the ‘popular’ crowd, and of course, I was a lower classman, and she was not really a scholar.
I clearly remember we were standing on the corner at the library, ready to go in, and she raved on and on about what a great book she had just read, about this woman whose husband won her by pretending to be a stranger who was a guitar player and singer.
At that time, 1967, Beatlemania was in full swing, and anyone who could play guitar and sing was just ‘happening’. I had always loved to read, being an ‘army brat’ and my best friends, while moving around the States, were the books I read.
I got my grown-up library card that day, and Angélique was my first adult book out of that library. I checked it out as soon as she turned it back in, and there the story begins in more ways than one.
It became a sort of cult classic with the crowd we were hanging around with then, and, like my friend, was probably the only book any of the rest of the crowd read voluntarily.
I grew away from that crowd, and grew up to be an avid reader, and of course, as many avid readers are, an honors student, while most of that old crowd didn’t even finish high school.
Unfortunately, there was only one available in the series, and I had no inkling there even were more. I went on to read all kinds of biographies about the kings and queens of England and France, hiding the books and covers. If my father had ever known that I read a book called The Bastard’s Queen (Matilda, William of Normandy’s wife), I probably wouldn’t be alive today to write this.That title would have sent him into one of his rages.
All those books were an escape for me. Anyway, I never realized there were any more of the series until, in 1971, my oldest brother had the choice so many of our brothers had then – enlist or be drafted. I used to take him to the bus stop during leave weekends and while waiting with him, there just happened to be a bookstore there, The Corner Bookstore. I started browsing and came across the Angélique series.
Oh joy! At first I didn’t believe they were part of the same book I had read a few years back – all seven of them in one place, and I never knew the story had continued past the first.
I gathered all of my babysitting money and the next time we were there, purchased all seven of them, hiding them from my father.
I still have all of those original seven books, in various states of condition due to the countless times I have read them, and have never let them out of my possession, always recommending them to friends and relatives, but telling them to go hunt down their own copies!
Of course, these will always remain my favorites. They were $1.25 each, so an investment of $8.25 plus the dreaded sales tax was quite a chunk of change to someone earning 50 cents an hour from babysitting.
That was about a week’s pay that summer. I later found the other two, Demon and Ghosts, in used book stores sometime around 1980, and was quite surprised that the series had continued, always checking in the ‘G’ part of the historical romance section, and also discovering the wonderful books of Roberta Gellis, and, of course, grieved at the passing of Serge.
When I came to the frustrating ending of Ghosts, I just put it down to Anne not being able to continue without her soulmate, and perhaps (horrors!) someone else had to finish writing.
I have always felt very close to Angélique, living up here in New Hampshire. I now live on the Murphy ‘estate’, among five acres of dense woods, and sometimes imagine that I will turn around and stumble on the ruins of Wapassou, or see Angélique, as there are so many small lakes and ponds around here.
That was the end of the story until, during one of my first Web experiences, I happened to discover that Amazon.com actually listed the Angélique books and invited people to write reviews about them – and that’s how Harvey J Adkins (the president of Friends of Angélique) found me.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would even have a chance, if I can come up with funding, to meet the author, never mind become part of the whole story, as it were.
Stories of Truth and Life
By Lisa Kentala
Back in the mid-1970s I was a 20-year-old working in an office in downtown Chicago with several other girls who had discovered ‘romance’ novels by such authors as Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwess, and so on.
This was sort of a new genre then – usually very long books, with a dash of historical accuracy and lots of steamy love scenes – quite different to the Harlequins of the past.
During my lunch hour one day I was at Krochs and Brentanos, looking for yet another long, interesting romance book, when I noticed the Angélique books.
They were the white Bantam paperbacks with Angélique in a provocative pose. However, despite the silliness of the pose – the artwork was well done and the overall design was attractive – I bought the first book.
After reading the first page I stopped dead and bought the rest of the books as soon as possible. At the time they went up to Demon but they were out of Temptation and Love, which I soon found at used book stores. Only then did I start reading.
What I found was the most amazing story ever. The detail, the characters, the suspense, the ambiance… I was transported to 17th century France. I lived these books so deeply that everything I remember from that time reminds me of them – popular music/movies, etc – even the man I was then involved with became my Joffrey!
I checked bookstores constantly for the next instalment. It took a few years, but in 1978 I found Ghosts in hardcover. I thought I was dreaming – I had reread Demon so many times, in order to be prepared. I even tried writing to Anne Golon thru the publisher, but to no avail – and I never write to celebrities! Of course, I had no idea that I would still be waiting for the sequel to Ghosts over 20 years later.
The first thing I did when we got a computer in 1996 was to search for Anne Golon. In 1997 Harvey Adkins and Martha Briggs contacted me (they and many others had been searching too – probably even before 1996) and soon we ‘met’ others equally obsessed – and the rest is history.
They are more than books to me. I actually brought them to my sister’s one day with all the Honorine passages marked – because she so reminded me of my little niece!
Whenever anyone brings up favorite books, I always mention them as the best ever. I refused to lend my copies out because I couldn’t risk losing them and by the early to mid-80s they vanished from new book stores here in the United States.
Everything you want to know about life is in these books. They are the stories of truth and life – everything you can experience, the good and bad.
I blame my obsession on 17th century France on them – even though only three of the books take place there! This is an important cause to me – maybe others may not think it important in the context of war, famine and so on, but I don’t know. I think it is. Art alone endures.
By Mary Lambert
I first read Angélique when I was 16. I was living in a small town in the USA and the book moved me so that I continued to look for new titles and read them as they became available to me. This was through the course of many years and much moving about. The books became a part of the meaningful fabric of my life. For many years, I carried one with me at all times and would just flip it open and begin to read. The books continue to inspire me to this very day.
Angélique continues to be a wonderful role model and heroine for me. I never stopped looking for news of Angélique and the authors and finally began to search the Web for used hardbacks. Mine were all paperbacks and were disintegrating with age and use. This is when I found the Angélique websites and found so many others who share the same experience of these wonderful books.
I have yet to find books that come close to the uniqueness of these books. They express so much, so clearly, on so many levels. Descriptions are like old and masterful paintings. The psycho-spiritual insights make these books continually evocative, no matter how many times one reads them. The writing and research of Sergeanne Golon create a resonance that returns magically with each reading. I think they are in a class by themselves.
Another characteristic that amazes me is how Anne Golon can take daily experience such as bathing a child in front of a fire or the wistful thoughts that flow through one’s mind while doing daily rituals and make them so genuine and real that they evoke a resonance for the reader each time they are read. I now have a long experience of working with the complexities of life.
I still read these novels and they continue to evoke meaning in a deeply relevant way for me. Angélique develops over time, her beauty deepens with mystery – magnetically enhanced through her many experiences. The rich descriptions and expression of this progression give an empowering message to women everywhere. I eagerly anticipate further experience with Angélique, Joffrey and their entourage.
Thank you to Anne Golon and Nadia for keeping the spirit of these stories alive and well. Thanks to all of you who created and contribute to these exciting websites.
It is wonderful to know that so many others have had the same experience of these books as I have. I happily await the new editions and reprints.
My Golden Legacy
By Sylviane Demoulin
I was three or four when I met Angélique. The books were the favourite of my grandmother who unfortunately died when I was four. It was one of the few things I remember about her: Angélique.
Of course, I had to wait, learn to read and finally, when I was twelve, I could read the Angélique books that my grandmother left me. It changed my life, completely and forever. It is the best legacy one can receive.
When I was fifteen, Angélique et la Route de l’espoir (Angélique and the Path of Hope) was published and it was the most beautiful day of my life, because I didn’t know the author was still writing or even alive.
For me, those were very old books, because my grandmother used to read them almost thirty years ago. I think I cried with joy, and a very few years after, I had another joy: La Victoire d’Angélique (The Victory of Angélique). It was at that time that I began to wonder if I would be able to meet Anne and Serge Golon – at that time I didn’t know he was dead. And now I have met her, what a wonder!
It was not only Angélique – although of course it is mainly her – but the background, the history and everything that was real, truly well written. It gave me, forever, a love for history. Thanks for that too!
I was captivated, hooked, really bewitched by Angélique. I was only twelve and very wild. I had blond hair and green eyes, so I thought I was her reincarnation! Unfortunately, when I grew up I wasn’t like her anymore, not as beautiful anyway, but my love for the books didn’t fade away. On the contrary.
Ten years ago, I took my boyfriend with me and followed in the footsteps of Angélique. I went to Paris, in every place she went, like we did during the international meeting (Paris 2000), except the Trois Maillets. I didn’t know it existed.
After Paris, I went to Versailles, to Poitou, to La Rochelle. I haven’t been to Toulouse or to Maine or to Canada yet, but I hope there will be other gatherings there.
Every time I have an important decision to take or when I am sad, I think about Angélique, about what she would have done and things like that – and every time she cheers me up. She has helped me a lot in my life and I am sure she will again. She is always with me.
Angélique is everything and every woman and to love her and to take her for an example is not to be mad or ‘fleur bleue’ like we say in French, but just to be conscious of something others cannot, unfortunatrly for them, see.
If I ever got the chance to have a daughter, she will be named after Angélique, whatever my husband may think! He could have anything from me but that!
I read a lot; it is actually my job. I write book critiques, but I have never found a book as good, as perfect, as marvellous as those ones. And I am sure I never will.
Thank you, beautiful Anne. Thank you to your late husband Serge for his help, and to your nice daughter Nadia for her support. Thank you for what you are – a wonderful, modern Angélique, full of courage, of inner beauty, of poetry, of intelligence. Thank you for Angélique, who has become immortal and who will be loved forever.
Waiting For Angélique
By Patricia Armendariz
Twenty one years ago I worked with a woman who had read the series. At one time she had all of them, but when I met her, she only had Angélique and Angélique in Barbary. All others had been loaned to others and never returned. She raved about the Angélique series, said it was the best, the most beautufully written, best series, most intense love stories she had ever read.
Well, with an intro like that I just had to read them, but I wanted to have the whole series before I started even the first one. So, on a little piece of paper I wrote the list of the titles. I carried this in my wallet for the past 20 years.
My husband and I travel extensively by motorhome. I looked in every little dusty used bookstore from Mexico to Bristish Colombia, Canada and bought every copy, so I have duplicates of many, but it took me 20 years until this year (2000) to own all the books. This was due solely to the mailing list group, and mainly to Harvey J Adkins.
I now have them all, am reading them for the first time and am enjoying tremendously!
From Russia With Love
By Irene Dubov
New Jersey, USA
I was 15 when I fist met Angélique, when I was living in Russia.
It was the Angélique and the King movie (I still have no idea why Russians released this movie first). Everybody could understand that something was missing. Then, a year later, another movie was released in Russia and it was Angélique: Marquise of the Angels.
After that I recognized that something was missing again, as the beginning of the Angélique and the King movie showed more screenshots than I watched in both movies.
Then, in 1969 the first Angélique book was published. Only in 1976 or 1977 was another published and it was Angélique in the New World (also known as The Countess Angélique). An introduction to this book had a brief contents of all the books in between these two. Approximately in the mid-80s, the third movie was released and it was Infuriated Angélique (also known as Merveilleuse Angélique). By that time everything was put in some order with the Angélique movies in Russia.
So it took 20 years for people to get access to three Angélique movies and two books… and that was not the end of the story!
In 1985 the fourth movie was released – Indomitable Angélique, which was basically a combination of the last two movies into one (Indomitable Angélique and Angélique et le Sultan). They just cut a lot of scenes and made a two-hour movie out of the two full-length movies. It wasn’t until 1989-1991 that all the books that had been written by Anne Golon up to that time were finally published. Angélique fans were so excited. But we came across another problem – to find the really professional translation. The best way was to buy books from well-known publishers. In 1992 I left Russia for good. I did not sell any books from my home library, although I am not sure my kids will read any books in Russian, but who knows? Anyway, the Angélique movies are their favorites.
I hope that one day I will find the full Angélique series in English. Thanks to fellow Angélique fans I got an opportunity to buy a soundtrack CD and the Angélique movies from Canada. I am so happy I can watch all the original movies!
After the trip to France (Paris 2000), I know for sure Angélique fans are everywhere in the world. Who cares what countries we are from, what languages we speak, or what age we are? There is no age for Angélique books.
Angélique is forever young.
From Angélique to Angélique
By Penny Reagle-Smith
When I was about 10, I used to love to watch the series Dark Shadows on television. My favorite character was Angélique. Around the age of 13, I became interested in romance novels and never had to buy any since my four older sisters also loved to read. I believe I was about 17 when I came across a fat book called Angélique.
The picture reminded me of that other Angélique, so I decided to buy it. As soon as I finished, I ran right out and bought book two, book three and book four. I was living at my sister’s house for the summer and I left the books with her when I went back to college.
As I got caught up in college life and living here and there, I temporarily forgot about my books. Occasionally I would ask my sisters if they knew where they were and no-one seemed to know. A couple years later when I was visiting my sister, I decided to pack up all my stuff I had stored in their basement and, to my amazement, I found my missing Angélique books plus five more my sister had found at second-hand stores. I boxed them up and asked if they could keep them for me just a while longer since I didn’t want to be dragging books around with me because I was moving so much.
So, about five years ago, when they were moving into a new house, I came to visit and my dad helped me send about four boxes of books back to Alaska.
This is from Michigan, so it took quite a while for them to get here, but I finally had my Angélique books back in my possession. I immediately started reading Angélique over again since it had been almost 20 years since I first read it.
Now having a husband, three children and a demanding job, I don’t get very much time to read and it took me until this summer to finally read Angélique and the Ghosts. I was really looking forward to getting some closure on all the loose ends.
As I got closer and closer to the end, I couldn’t see how she would do this in just a few more pages. Then it ended. No closure. I was forlorn. I read nine books and no feeling of contentment. I figured Anne must have died and I was sad that I would never know what happened to them in Quebec. The internet! What a wonderful thing! I found the Angélique message boards and thought I had found Heaven!
From reading the messages I found out that three more books exist and are soon to be translated. I can’t express my joy and excitement in words, but I know all Angélique readers know what I’m talking about.
I’m just glad I never did get around to finishing the series 20 years ago and have to wait this long for the next three books!
A Young Starter
By Stephanie Beaulieu
My love story with Angélique started when I was 11. You see, my mother taught me to read when I was very young because I was a bit of a hellraiser. Well, it worked!
I read (devoured) everything I could find. By the time I was 11, I had already read numerous ‘adult’ books, which my mother used to get for me from the library (I was too young still to go in the adult section).
At some point, though, I got stuck. I didn’t know what to read anymore. Heck, I had read more than some 25-year-olds I knew.
I found Angélique on my father’s girlfriend’s bookshelf. She had the books up to Indomptable Angélique (Angélique and the Sultan).
I read them all in no time… and that means I was reading them in class instead of listening. To this day, I like to think my teacher didn’t notice, or that he was nice enough to let me read anyway. I was fascinated – and so disappointed. Because that’s all I could find. Since the titles were all listed on the first page, I knew it went on to Angélique et le complot des ombres (Angélique and the Ghosts). But I couldn’t find them.
And, for once, my mother refused to even look for them. She considered them trashy novels (I tried to convince her to try them, but to no avail). She did not forbid me to read them, but the result was the same – no more books.
What happens next? Something great: I turned 12, which means I get access to the the adult section of the library. Oh joy – the library had them all, down to La Victoire d’Angélique, the last one, the one I didn’t even know existed.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic. Of course, I read them all from the beginning before school started, which is no small feat for a child that age. My birthday is on August 10, and school started two weeks later…
Since then, I’ve read them over and over again.
I love how I can identify with the many places Angélique visits. Living in LaSalle, a Montreal suburb, I recognise a lot of places.
My story could finish there, but it doesn’t.
My boyfriend is American and lives around Boston. Three years ago, for my birthday, he decided to take me out for a weekend getaway to a place called Lincoln, in Maine. It didn’t ring a bell. He didn’t know about my Angélique addiction, because I try not to read the books around him… I know I’d shut him out. And he doesn’t speak French, so he couldn’t even read with me!
What a shock. Our hotel is next to the Silver Lake. Overlooking the hotel and the lake is… the Indian Head.
I think it took me a good ten minutes to regain my composure enough to be able to let him know what was going on. But it was an amazing feeling. For two days, I felt like I was in the novels. It may sound strange, but that’s how it was.
Since then, I’ve found – to my utter suprise – Gouldsboro on a map. I had no idea it really existed. Of course, Anne certainly did!
Every now and then, something like that keeps showing up, like a message from someone telling me something.
All in all, I have to thank Anne Golon for being the great author that she is – and for being one of the reasons why I decided to become a translator.
I’d like to make the whole world discover her work and fall in love with Angélique and Joffrey. And Florimond. And Cantor. And Honorine. And even Hortense! Because without her, it would’t be the same…
I wouldn’t want any of them to be different than they are.
The Jilting of Angélique
By Gerry Christmas
North Carolina, USA
Well, I guess the time has come for me to enter the confessional – to humble myself before God and the world on how I not only met but, alas, spurned the Ultimate Babe!
The year was 1978 and I was in my first year as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa. I had settled into my job at Faleata Junior High School and was in the midst of meeting all sorts of stereotypical Samoans, including Melvillian tawny-skinned damsels with large almond eyes and thick raven hair down to their waists. In a word, I was full of myself.
It was a bright sunny afternoon and I was walking down a dusty dirt road towards Apia, the island capital, when I ran into an intense young man with brown curly hair, bushy eyebrows, and cobalt true-believer eyes. His name now eludes me as he had been in another training group and we had only met fleetingly once before.
On this Gauguin-like day he was not only intense but, judging by the gleam in his eyes, a fellow who could have easily stolen the leading role from Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry. For, clutched fervently to his chest, was a book, the title of which I could not make out. What I could make out was this scantily clad woman on the cover – her bodice ripped to the navel and her blond hair cascading down, around, and below her shoulders.
Before I could utter a word, he thrust the book out with both arms and said ecstatically: “Gerry, my parents just sent this from the States!” All I could see before my wavering vision were the emblazoned letters A-N-G-E-L-I-Q-U-E! “I can’t tell you how great these books are,” he continued. I asked him what he meant by books, plural. “They are a series. The most wonderful series of novels imaginable. I will lend them to you if you want. Then we can discuss them.”
To be honest, I had now identified this guy as a card-carrying C.A.N. (Certified American Nut). “How can anyone be dumb enough to read French romance when he can live Polynesian romance in the here and now?” I asked myself. Somehow I terminated the conversation and never saw the guy again. It would be 25 years-plus before I would get a second shot at the woman. And this time, in North Carolina, she did not get away. My only regret in spurning her the first time is missing out on what could have been – no, would have been – a friend.
I can only hope that someday he stumbles on to this website and I can truly tell him how wrong I was – about him and her.
Please click on the link below if you have stories and/or anecdotes to contribute to these pages (and please let us know where you are in the world).