The newest project is something that I’ve been kicking around for a little while and one that I think I can see through while the stalled ones remain shelved. It would be a sequel to William Godwin’s St. Leon, which was published in 1798 and chronicles the life of a 16th-century French nobleman who acquires the philosopher’s stone and uses it to create gold from other metals and to concoct elixir vitae and how his life basically goes downhill from there. This would take place in the mid-eighteenth century in the French court at Versailles during the reign of Louis XV, a few years after the marriage of Dauphin Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette. Reginald de St. Leon, after spending almost two hundred years traveling Europe, has returned to France to see to the upbringing of the last surviving member of his family, Marguerite de St Leon. While Margot has been away at convent school, St. Leon has made a place for himself in the court as someone who can loan money to hard-pressed aristocrats…for a price.
Of course his business dealings earn Margot a place in the dauphine’s household, but that’s when things begin to fall apart…and that’s when St. Leon flees, leaving the stone with Margot. But that, of course, isn’t a good choice as her problems are only just beginning.
I picture Emma Watson as Margot de St Leon. We’ve all seen her as a strong heroine, but she also has that air of charm and cleverness about her that would make her stand out to someone like young Marie Antoinette. And yes, she could so pull off court attire.
I really want to draw from the eighteenth-century gothic novel (Matthew Lewis’s The Monk and Ann Radcliffe’s The Castle of Otranto) while writing this, but with a much stronger heroine who doesn’t really need a man to rescue her, though it’s nice to have someone help you navigate your way through the danger, isn’t it?