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Susan Brassfield Cogan

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Introducing The Last Gift
by Susan Brassfield Cogan   

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Books by Susan Brassfield Cogan
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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  CoganBooks Type: 


Copyright:  March 23, 2009

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Cogan Books

In 1792, Paris is in flames and the hungry guillotine waits . . . .

In The Last Gift, the reader is woven into the fabric of the French Revolution, one of the most chaotic and violent social upheavals of all time. Strong and resourceful heroines, an intrepid hero and a complex and terrifying nemesis are ingredients in a tale of passionate love, bright courage and dark revenge that carries the reader from the royal palace to the shadow of the guillotine.

Jubilee is an innocent young American girl in Paris with her family. One summer afternoon Jubilee’s world comes tumbling down. She is secretly in love with Jake, her father’s handsome, young business partner, and though he asks for her hand in marriage, something is wrong. That same day Jubilee’s father discovers something ugly and mysterious that involves both Jake and her father’s French business associate Edouard Larousse. That night Jubilee’s parents are murdered and she is abducted and imprisoned in a brothel. Marie, a resourceful and worldly-wise veteran of the Paris underworld, befriends Jubilee and helps her escape—but not before something even more horrifying happens that changes Jubilee’s life forever.

200 pages, dozens of illustrations
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          "Imagine!" she said. "The king driven from the Tuileries by the Paris mob! Who wouldn't want to see that? Nothing so thrilling happened in our revolution!"

          Jake laughed. She loved his laugh--it was so rich and warm. At the same time she had an uneasy feeling he might be laughing at her.

          "I was quite young at the time, but I'm given to understand that a few thrilling things actually did happen during our revolution!" He really was laughing at her now, but she didn't mind. She smiled back at him, feeling herself blush a little.

          Jubilee picked up the nosegay of red roses that had become scattered in her lap. She herself had been born only a few days after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Her father, intoxicated with joy over that and her birth, named her Jubilee.

          "What will happen to the royal family now?" she asked. "Will they send them packing?"

          Jake snorted. "Hardly, my dear, Louis would return in front of a Bourbon army and France's revolution wouldn't turn out as well as ours." He paused. His hands were rough and brown, in odd contrast to the elegant walking stick they held.

          "There's a rumor," he said, "that the royal family is going to be sent to the Temple--for their own protection it is said."

          Jubilee raised her eyebrows.

          "But the Temple is a prison, a horrible place. I have heard it is as bad as the Bastille ever was."

          "That's true. No one escapes the Temple. If they go there, I don't think they'll ever leave, except to go to the guillotine."

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Reader Reviews for "Introducing The Last Gift"

Reviewed by Joel Kirkpatrick 11/3/2010
5 Stars:
The setting for this story is Paris, in the hours before the Terror. This Paris is not merely a vile, stinking, dangerous place – it is a sprawling corpse, the people within have killed it, and are devouring it. Into this filthy jumble of darkened streets, Susan Brassfield Cogan places a lonely American woman-child, and gives her the unlikely name of Jubilee.

Published originally under that name, this is nearly ‘Alice’ - fallen into the putrid Seine. Jubilee tumbles down, not because she was careless; Death has pulled her in. This is a farce of horrors. In Paris, with the coming Terror, only a little bit of money could purchase anything desired, and make many horrible things seem birthday presents. To stay alive here, now, Jubilee must act as the Revolution-mad Parisians act. Death loved to follow the Parisians about, for that new fun.

‘The Last Gift’ is flawless. This is a true place painted with horror. Every character is perfectly placed, perfectly balanced against the others. Every villain exposed nearly the instant they appear. The plot needs no twists; the dangers make sense and make you nervous. Every moment that Jubilee is trapped there, you hope to help her escape. At the same time being very ‘small’, and very ’large’, she is being sought – she is being helped, but, all around her in the distance, the city itself has caught up the manic cry, “Off with their heads!”.
Reviewed by Doug Boren 4/21/2003
The French Revolution sets the stage for this intriguing tale of two women during a time of violence and turmoil. Laced with romance, this well written story nevertheless has its share of excitement, and the reader is easily drawn into the lives of the people in the story. Ms. Cogan has given us a tale rich with descriptions, emotions and history. A welcome addition to anyone’s library.

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