Since the work in progress, a novel called The Painted Sea, is in its final stages, it’s only appropriate to introduce the heroine of the novel, who, believe it or not, was actually a real person, Aimee Dubucq de Rivery, a young Creole heiress who was lost at sea in the summer of 1788. There is actually much debate about the legend concerning her ultimate fate and whether or not she was actually even related to Empress Josephine.
Of course, since this is a fictional work, I’m going to go with the legend and assume that Aimee was a cousin of Josephine’s because it makes for a good story later on. And I’ve made sure to incorporate the dubious tale of young Yeyette and Aimee journeying to see the Obeah woman to have their fortunes read, but in a very different way, and without using “magical Negro” trope. It was well known that Josephine consulted tarot cards every now and again, and instead of an Obeah woman, it is Rose’s fictional friend from court, another Creole woman married to a French nobleman, who can predict someone’s future by reading his or her palm. There has also been some debate regarding Aimee’s date of birth, since it seems there were two women in the Dubucq de Rivery family who bore the name Aimee, one born in 1763 and the other born in 1776. So I chose 1770 for my Aimee’s birth year, since it seems to be in the middle, and since it also makes things less problematic for the romance with our antihero.
Of course my Aimee, being a Creole heiress who stands to inherit the prosperous sugarcane plantation her father, a minor nobleman by rank, left her, is very certain of her rank and carries a certain hauteur about her, but she also has a heart and is conscious of the plight of those who are not as fortunate as she is, and she possesses the intellect and education demanded of an eighteenth-century salonniere. Her return to France after her time in Faerie will be a rude awakening, as things are about to come to a head and erupt into revolution, but she will see it on the side of the aristocracy, as her story of her ordeal will capture the interest of Marie Antoinette and put her in the queen’s inner circle while her uncles and the Duc d’Orleans try to determine, with the help of the sailor-turned-foreman of the plantation in Martinique, just where Aimee had been and whether or not this sailor had been there before. And of course our antihero will somehow find himself embroiled in this intrigue.
It was so easy to picture Kirsten Dunst as Aimee based on her portrayal of Marie Antoinette in the 2006 film. Not that Aimee is a manic pixie dream girl, but that she is a rather naive young woman who has had to hold her own during her time in Faerie and who must regain her footing in the French court and rebuff her uncles’ and the Duc d’Orleans’ efforts to use her as a pawn in the intrigue they are planning. And of course our antihero, who has yet to be introduced, will find himself embroiled in all of this in that summer of 1789.
The first few chapters of The Painted Sea are up on Wattpad. I will post a link to it soon, as well as post whom I’ve “cast” as the other characters in the novel.