Review: Fame and Infamy: Adventures of an American Maid in Paris by Iva Polansky

Spirited young Miss Cornelia McKay is Butte, Montana’s own prize-winning sharp shooter – as well as the town’s greatest inconvenience when she begins to chastise her unruly suitors with a gun pointed at their feet. At their wit’s end and hoping for a new opportunity for the girl, Nelly’s aunt and uncle encourage her to take work as a maid to a visiting French baron and his wife. Nelly is infinitely pleased at the opportunity to leave the dusty old town behind her, but her adventures in France turn out to be unlike anything she’d ever imagined. Determined to marry a gentleman and settle herself in the exciting new country, Nelly did not anticipate finding herself both the witness and suspected accomplice in a terrible murder. Now she must learn to make her way in a man’s world on her own, defying the strict conventions of the French and paving the way for her own destiny. As she straddles the line between fame and infamy she incites the attentions of two very different men, faces the wrath of a mysterious gypsy, and throws the worlds of art and politics into a new kind of uproar.

A vibrant Paris in the 1870s serves as the backdrop for Iva Polansky’s novel, Fame and Infamy, and the author leaves no detail out of the city’s colorful Latin Quarter. Including appearances from the likes of Victor Hugo and Sarah Bernhardt, the era comes to dazzling life under the author’s delightful guidance. At the same time, Polansky crafts original female characters that beautifully capture and explore the evolution of women’s power in a way that resonates deeply through to the contemporary age. Nelly and her charming French friend Geraldine are strong, independent, and passionate characters with big ideas and the courage to pursue them. While life doesn’t always work out as planned, they take every hindrance as a new opportunity to prove their determination, making them a duo of inspiring women that the reader won’t soon forget. The story includes a good deal of romance, as well, in a truly engaging love triangle. Nelly’s relationships with both the fiery, selfish artist Octave and the kind-hearted scientist Henri are palpable as the story continues, drawing the reader into Nelly’s emotional struggles against the imperfection - and ultimately the beauty - of love.

In all, Fame and Infamy is a vastly entertaining, beautifully written excursion into the memorable world of historic Paris, and its success is amplified by wonderfully detailed history, richly drawn characters – both heroes and villains – and a plot that will keep the reader guessing until the end.

Title: Fame and Infamy: Adventures of an American Made in Paris Author: Iva Polansky Genre: Historical, romance Publisher: Captive Press Release date: January 25, 2011 Source: Iva Polansky (C/O) Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Better World Books | Smashwords Connect with the author: Website/blog | Twitter

Fame and Infamy