Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Billie Bloebaum Needs Your Help

Our Bookmatcher, Billie Bloebaum from Powell’s Airport SuperEdition, has a HaBO request:

Okay. Now it’s my turn to hope the Bitchery can help me out.

It’s been close to thirty years since I read this book—sometime in the mid-
to late-seventies. There’s a good chance that it was published in 1976 for the
Bicentennial. It was a novel for younger readers and one of the featured
characters was the Marquis de Lafayette. The book was possibly told in first
person from the heroine’s perspective. I don’t remember much about the plot,
except that there was a banquet fairly early on where a lot of talk revolved
around the war. I seem to remember that the heroine was betrothed—my mind
seems to think it was to Lafayette, but that isn’t historically correct, so
it’s likely she was engaged to another and just kind of got all swoony for
Lafayette. (And if the paintings of him are accurate, it must have been his
fortune, his brilliant mind, or a finely-turned leg that did her in.) I *do*
know that the novel took place in the U.S. and had a white-ish cover with red
and blue used for the title and author. It was a fairly plain cover, with an
oval-framed portrait (of Lafayette?) in the center and the trim size was
smaller than usual for a hardcover, closer to that of a mass market paperback.

Entirely unhelpful, I know, but my excuse is that my age was still in the
single digits at the time. But, this is the book that I would count as my very
first romance, so I’d really like to find it. I’m sure it won’t be as
entrancing as I remember, but it’s driving me batty not knowing what it is.

Please help.

Anyone recall this book? Remember, if the first comment guesses it in one try, and Billie confirms the winner, there be Titles bestowed upon the most helpful HaBO-lator in all the land.

 

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Help a Bitch Out

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  1. 1
    Barb says:

    Only one I can think of is “Lafayette’s Daughter” by Gladys Malvern.  Originally published in 1960.  I read it sometime in the early 60’s.  The romance part of the story featured his daughter Anastasia.
    I vaguely recall a banquet scene—it took place during Lafayette’s tour of the US in 1824.  Beyond that scene and one of him and his family in prison, I remember nada, zip, zilch.
    Malvern had a long and prolific career writing historical romances for young girls—her books were a staple of the Young Adult section in the 50’s and 60’s.

  2. 2
    Eva says:

    I don’t know the answer to this one, but I’m really grateful to Barb for mentioning Gladys Malvern. It helped me find a book I’d been searching for a long time—Behold Your Queen! (story of the Biblical Esther).  I’m pretty sure I read everything by Gladys Malvern I could find, but I didn’t remember her name.  Although I never recognize any of the titles people are looking for, I love what I learn from the questions and comments!

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    @Eva—
    You are quite welcome.  I loved Behold Your Queen! and she did one on Ruth, too (if I remember her correctly).  I tracked down a hb of Heart’s Conquest (Saxon beauty, Norman hero during 1066), which is my favorite.  And, as I said earlier, I think I read everything she wrote.  Sigh—happy memories.

  4. 4
    Annie says:

    Was it one of the Little Maid of Somewhere books? They were written in the 30s, but I know that some of the reprints had red white and blue covers, and the oval picture sounds right too. One of them featured Lafayette.

    I’ll go poke at amazon until it yields fruit on this one.

  5. 5
    Annie says:

    The first one that comes up with Lafayette is A Little Maid of Philadelphia although I’m pretty sure there were others.

    http://www.google.com/search?tbs=bks:1&tbo=1&q=A+little+maid+of+Philadelphia&btnG=Search+Books

    I have no idea how romantic this one is – the Little Maid books were all about girls aged… 8 to 12? and they tended not to be engaged or anything gross like that.

  6. 6
    mbg says:

    I thought of Gladys Malvern’s book as well.

    I remember that the family was sent to debtor’s prison as well.  That made a big impression on me!  And I think they were released due to the daughter’s letters to America—to General Washington maybe?

    I’ve been able to find some old Malvern’s on Alibris.com.  Maybe you’ll be lucky!

  7. 7
    Abbie says:

    I actually thought I might be the one to get this one! As soon as I read the first few sentences I immediately thought of “Lafayette’s Daugter”. I loved those books. I discovered them in our public library about 12 or 13 years ago, when I was 13 or so. I’d read pretty much everything else in our tiny library my mom would let me, so I was ecstatic to find a new author. I still think some of the YA books from the 50s-70s were great books.

  8. 8
    Barb says:

    Well,  ladies—if it turns out that we are wrong re: Lafayette’s Daughter—at least we now have the core of a good Gladys Malvern Fan Club.  It is so nice to know that my sister and I are not her only remaining fans!
    This has been fun!

  9. 9
    Karen F. says:

    This is making me nuts because I know this book. I had this whole fantasy about Lafayette when I was a teenager after reading it. And I know it was one of a series of teen girl books that came out—I can think of some of the books names… Lark, Jade, Linnette … I’m pretty sure my sister (who is a children’s librarian & knows everything!) will know it. As soon as she gets back to me, I’ll post again…

  10. 10
    Billie Bloebaum says:

    Sorry, all. I’ve been away from the computer for a couple of days and wanted to do some Googling before I confirmed anything.

    Barb was spot-on, though the title is ‘The Patriot’s Daughter’. As soon as she mentioned the family in prison, I was pretty sure that was the book, but, like I said, I wanted to confirm.

    Sadly, this book is long out of print and used copies are going for somewhere in the neighborhood of $80. One day, though, I’ll find a copy somewhere (Goodwill? The Dumpster? Or that most miraculous of places The Public Library?) and re-read it. Thanks to Barb, I now have a title and an author, which is a whole hell of a lot more than I had. (Plus, I also have confirmation that the book really, truly exists, which is maybe the most important thing.)

    Thanks to all of you for your help. And congrats to Barb for earning herself a fancy SmartBitch title!

  11. 11
    Barb says:

    @Billie

    Oh thank you—and yes, of course you are right, I mis-remembered the title.
    Let me introduce you to a great site:  WorldCat—they are at:
    http://www.worldcat.org
    Easily to search by author or title and it will then show you the libraries that hold your book!  There are 61 libraries in the US who say they have a copy of this book.  Go for it!
    I, too, would be reluctant to spend big bucks only to find out the book didn’t live up to my memories.

  12. 12

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  13. 13
    beigy says:

    Karen F said

    This is making me nuts because I know this book. I had this whole fantasy about Lafayette when I was a teenager after reading it. And I know it was one of a series of teen girl books that came out—I can think of some of the books names… Lark, Jade, Linnette … I’m pretty sure my sister (who is a children’s librarian & knows everything!) will know it. As soon as she gets back to me, I’ll post again

    It was Sally Watson who wrote Jade, and Lark, and Linnet.  She also wrote some other stories, such as Witch of the Glens.

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