The Orange Trees of Versailles
When Marion Dutilleul enters the service of the Marquise de Montespan, she never imagines that her ability to recognize scents and to blend them into perfumes will win her the favor of Louis XIV’s mistress. But the marquise quickly has the young girl creating new perfumes for her. Eager to please and hopeful that her olfactory gifts will win her recognition, Marion concocts memorable fragrances. Then, to her horror, credit is bestowed on someone else. Marion feels betrayed. Now Marion opens her eyes and ears (in addition to her nose!) and realizes that beneath the splendor of palace life is a place teeming with deceit. To survive, she must use her keen sense of smell not to create perfumes, but to thwart those who would do her—and one of France’s beloved monarchs—great harm. From the Hardcover edition.
Man Play and Games
Play is "an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money." It is also an essential element of human social and spiritual development. In this study, Roger Caillois defines play as a voluntary activity that occurs in a pure space, isolated and protected from the rest of life. Within limits set by rules that provide a level playing field, players move toward an unpredictable outcome by responding to their opponents' actions. Caillois qualifies types of games and ways of playing, from the improvisation characteristic of children's play to the disciplined pursuit of solutions to gratuitously difficult puzzles. He also examines the means by which games become part of daily life, ultimately giving cultures their most characteristic customs and institutions.
Sophie Rostopchine, comtesse de Segur, nee Sofia Fedorovna Rostoptchina (1799-1874), est une femme de lettres francaise de naissance russe. Le cas de la comtesse de Segur montre qu'une vocation tres tardive d'ecrivain peut etre particulierement reussie: elle a en effet ecrit son premier livre a cinquante-huit ans. Ses romans furent publies entre 1857 et 1872. On raconte que elle a commence a se consacrer a la litterature pour enfants quand elle a ecrit les contes qu'elle racontait a ses petits-enfants et qu'elle les a regroupes pour former ce qui s'appelle aujourd'hui Les Nouveaux Contes de Fees (1857). Lors d'une reception, elle lut quelques passages a Louis Veuillot pour calmer l'atmosphere qui etait devenue tendue. Ses oeuvres comprennent: Les Malheurs de Sophie (1859), Memoires d'un Ane (1860), Les Deux Nigauds (1863), Le General Dourakine (1863), Un Bon Petit Diable (1865) et Le Mauvais Genie (1867).