cuidono press


"A compelling and evocative novel... the descriptive narrative is gorgeous and I recommend you bask for a while in the elegance (and naughtiness) of the age." - Historical Novel Society

“Can fortune fail to shine on a face like that?”

Hearing rumors of his daughter Diane’s extraordinary beauty, the charming but profligate comte de Fautrière removes the thirteen-year-old from her convent school in the provinces and takes her to Paris. Blossoming in the fashion and excitement of life at court, Diane captures the roving eye of the King himself and seems balanced on the brink of a fabulous career that could save her family’s fortunes. But it takes more than a beautiful face to negotiate the intrigues of court. Caught between the desire to please her father and friends and her own awakening passions, she plays at love with a handsome Swiss baron and is drawn into a dangerous infatuation with a nobleman whose prospects are no surer than her own. Diane struggles to become something other than a pawn in other people’s games but not playing by the rules will have consequences more serious than she can imagine.

Drawing on the unpublished memoir of an eighteenth-century countess whose spectacular beauty seemed to promise a charmed life, the haunting story of Diane de Fautrière unfolds among a fabulous cast of characters in the licentious, debauched world of the court of Louis XV.

ISBN 978-0-9911215-1-9
$16.95 paperback, 398 pages
Published June 10, 2014

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eISBN 978-0-9911215-7-1
$9.99 ebook

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A former professor of English and creative writing at Mount Holyoke College, Mary Martin Devlin has also always had a passion for French literature and culture. When a colleague introduced her to the unpublished memoir of an eighteenth-century French countess, she plunged into translating the young woman’s account of the capricious fortunes of life at the royal court, which eventually inspired Precious Pawn. Mary Martin Devlin taught as a Fulbright professor in France and Tunisia and has translated and collaborated on books regarding the African AIDS epidemic and the politics of the Congo. Her story "The Resting Wall" was short-listed for the O. Henry Prize in 2003. She now divides her time between Atlanta, Georgia, and the south of France.