R = Risqué, Racy Frenchy Novel

FIRST... a few words about "a courtesan"...

Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of French King Henri II
(image taken from HERE)

A courtesan was originally a woman courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person. In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together. In Renaissance Europe, courtiers played an extremely important role in upper-class society. As it was customary during this time for royal couples to lead separate lives — commonly marrying simply to preserve bloodlines and to secure political alliances — men and women would often seek gratification and companionship from people living at court. In fact, the verb "to court" originally meant "to be or reside at court", and later came to mean "to behave as a courtier" and then "to pay amorous attention to somebody". The most intimate companion of a ruler was called the favourite.

As a result, in Renaissance usage, the Italian word "cortigiana", feminine of "cortigiano" (courtier) came to refer to "the ruler's mistress", and then to a well-educated and independent woman of free morals, eventually a trained artisan of dance and singing, especially one associated with wealthy, powerful, or upper-class men who provided luxuries and status in exchange for companionship. The word was borrowed by English from Italian through the French form "courtisane" during the 16th century, especially associated to the meaning of "court-mistress" and "prostitute".

A male figure comparable to the courtesan was the Italian cicisbeo, the French chevalier servant, the Spanish cortejo or estrecho. It actually seems that the figure of the chevalier servant (French, lit. serving cavalier, lady's escort) of a married lady was quite common in Europe up to the 18th century.

There is a LONG list of French courtesans or royal mistresses via HERE.  One very well known courtesan (seen in the famous painting above) was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764), was a member of the French court, and was the official maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV from 1745 to 1750. The maîtresse-en-titre was the chief mistress of the king of France. It was a semi-official position which came with its own apartments. The title really came into use during the reign of Henry IV of France and continued till the end of the Ancien Régime... a list of these women can be found HERE (via Wikipedia)

Today, the term courtesan has become a euphemism to designate an escort or a prostitute, especially one who attracts wealthy clients. (via Wikipedia)

Andddddddddddd... that brings us to our MODERN day courtesan novel... "French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan" by Kirsten Lobe, a former fashion designer from New York, and the author of the novel Paris Hangover. Six years ago, Kirsten followed her dream; leaving NYC’s Tribeca for Paris’ St. Germain where she now writes, exhibits her oil paintings and is “maman” to her new son, Oscar Maximilian.


and to my blogging BOOK CLUB friend Carmie, The Single Nester... and her Review and Recommendation...

If you love all things French, from haute couture to architecture, from food to yes, sex, then this read is for you.

Not knowing what a courtesan was, I quickly found out when on the first page, Alex is trying to decide which earrings will work best for an orgy; hoops or studs.

Follow Alex as she goes from struggling art student to sexy courtesan pulling out every stop in her Kama Sutra. A fun, quick read, I do wonder how the author knows so much about this lifestyle. It felt to me as if Alex's main lover was modeled after the head of uber-luxury house, LVMH.

I found that my 8 years of French were not so rusty after all. And I now know how to say condom in French. You never know. It might come in handy one day.

____________________________________

Welllll... Carmie, you're right... you never know... anddddd I soooo adored all the "Frenglish" or franglais throughout the book... it's the way I speak French... LOL... I think I can sum up Alex's life as a courtesan... it started with ice cream...
moved on to an Hermès saddle...
ended with "WILD"flowers...
and LOVE prevailed... is that about right, Carmie?  Not giving anything away and maybe NOW... people are wondering what this all means, non?

Anddddd to mon amie Kirsten... I enjoyed the book... HOWEVER, it might not be for everyone... soooooo let me suggested your FIRST novel, Paris Hangover... I LOVED it!!! 


"A glamorous fish-out-of-water first novel, Paris Hangover stars Klein, a just-escaped New Yorker with trunk-fulls of fabulous footwear but without the significant relationship she'd really expected and longed to have by now, in her mid-thirties. Fleeing a live-in lover and their sleek Tribeca triplex as well as a career in fashion, Klein stars over in Paris-in a tiny walk-up in the 6th that she had to lie (in broken Franglais) and write a bad check to get, only to discover that, among other things, Parisian apartments don't come with kitchens.


Living out of her ten piece of (Louis Vuitton, natch) luggage, Klein plunges into the mysterious world of French men and dating. She muddles her way through: the sexy Renaud, the prototypical Frenchman; dating three men named Jean simultaneously; and one completely wrong Monsieur Married Man, who wants Klein for his very well-kept mistress.

Set against a backdrop of knowing references to Paris and its unique manners and mores, Paris Hangover is ultimately a very satisfying modern romance as Klein falls-- possibly permanently--for the least likely man to catch her eye." (via Macmillan Books)

Happy Frenchy Novel reading to everyone and be sure to good read an interview with Kirsten Lobe ...


À demain... See you all tomorrow as my April in Paris... A to Z Challenges continues... S will be for SWEET... what will I tell you about... hmmmmm

12 comments:

Ms Smart said...

thanks for the info and book hook ups. enjoying your A-Z series.

Karena said...

Fifi how fascianting a histoical post leading to modern day trysts. Look at those gowns from bygone eras.Fabulous!

Karena
Art by Karena

Mary Ann said...

enjoyed reading your post with a little history and love your book recommendation. will try to pick one of her books at the store...verbenacottage

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

Lovely to see the "Olden France" it's been an eyeopener reading your blogs.

Yvonne.

Simply Luxurious said...

I picked up Kirsten Lobe's first novel Paris Hangover about five years ago and fell in love. Thank you for sharing even more about her. I just read the interview and I can't help but say, I'm inspired to pick up everything and move to Paris. The sense of community is something that I love and cherish where I live as well. However, taking my dogs would be a big difficult and I can't live without them. Thoroughly loved this post. Thank you. =)

Renee Finberg said...

wow FIFI!!!!!!
great post my friend.
i am now intrigued and will investigate further.

xx

Shannon said...

Very nicely done and thanks for all the info on courtisans...etc...

Carmie, the Single Nester said...

Mon amie! Wonderful post and thank you for including my review. Looking forward to many more Blogger Book Clubs!

Paris Pastry said...

Wow! I had a vague idea what a courtesan was, but I never have guessed that courtesan dated back from the 18th century! Thank you for this post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I can't wait to read "French Trysts"!

Debby Lee said...

Always looking for a great read! Thanks for visiting Inspired Design. I am you newest follower!

KarenHarveyCox said...

Love your paintings as always. That book sounds wonderful.

Karen

Berlin Deluxxe said...

I've always wanted to be part of a book club, I think these books will get me started on my own ;)

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