The Education Of Delhomme
Release date: November 17, 2020
at History Through Fiction
Beaulieu Delhomme, a piano tuner, faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president due to his part in the bloody worker uprisings in 1848. The one person who could save him from this fate is his former arch-rival, the celebrated author, George Sand. The plot leading to his imprisonment revolves around the triangle of composer Frédéric Chopin, his lover George Sand, and Delhomme, Chopin’s loyal piano tuner. Both Sand and Delhomme compete for the attention of Chopin, who fights a losing battle with tuberculosis. The president’s spymaster uses this triangle to lure cash-strapped Delhomme into exploiting his friendship with Chopin to spy on George Sand, whose fiery rhetoric threatens the new president.
At first, before the uprisings that marked a tumultuous period out of which France’s Second Republic grew, Delhomme favors preserving the status quo because any policy changes might jeopardize his (and Chopin’s) wealthy client base. Sand wields her pen against the oppressive laws and ridicules Delhomme for his views.
Delhomme changes his opinion of the monarchy when he sees how his nephew is abused as an orphan working in a piano factory in industrial London. Delhomme becomes a double agent, paid to spy for the president while secretly working for the resistance. Sand softens her contempt when she discovers that he has switched allegiances and now promotes workers’ rights.
Delhomme is caught working for the resistance, jailed in Paris’ infamous Conciergerie prison, and faces a trial for treason. Even Sand’s testimony is not enough to trump that of the vaunted spymaster, but her fame may be enough to persuade the new president to pardon him.
Spy. What a stupid, lethal choice. Now I sit shivering on the mud floor of a crowded cell with four walls and a black door. Five other men stare blankly into space. A sixth sticks his hands out the window and cries for food from passersby—anything to stop the hunger—coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, shriveled berries, cheese rinds.
The noxious stench from their unwashed bodies and buckets of excrement numbs the nostrils. The Seine threatens to overflow from snow and rain. But what does it all matter? I am days, likely hours, away from the guillotine. “I am innocent!” I say to the others. But no one listens. No one cares. There are only the sounds of chin-wagging shoppers and clicking horseshoes. The sparse straw is a paltry shield against the cold earth. I stretch the thin blanket from the jailer over my head and face and sit in a corner farthest from the window. Chill winds blow. There will be no January sun today.
Spying was supposed to be a brief stint, something to earn money so I could marry Lili. That delusion has cost me dearly. I want to atone for that. But not with death!
My trial is nigh. I will stand proudly in court, pound my fist, and declare that Vidocq tricked me into joining his detective agency. All to help King Louis Philippe control the masses. I will ask the judge, ‘What truck would I, a lowly piano tuner, have with radicals wanting to kill the king? I care about wood and wire and wonderful music. How does this mean I betrayed the monarchy? Let those who killed innocent people with their muskets and knives go to their death!’ That is what I will say.
Who will come to my defense? Frédéric Chopin would have, but he died three months ago. George Sand is volatile and untrustworthy; I hope she can muster fairness. Even so, I doubt her testimony can undo Vidocq’s devilish words. He will swear I sided with resisters, hobnobbed with radicals, and became a counterspy. Never mind that he lured me with easy money. He is the ruler’s vaunted, powerful toady. Loyalty trumps scruples in this man’s government.
I did everything Vidocq asked of me—reluctantly, I am proud to say now. Then one day, I fed him wrong information on purpose. It was my attempt to fight the domination of those who ignored the suffering of others. Then, Vidocq’s wrath came crashing down. Now here I sit. Accused of treason. Jailed. Condemned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Photo Credit: Austin Irving
is an educator, writer, journalist, linguist,
and piano tuner.
She holds a Master’s degree in journalism and English education,
as well as a Doctorate in linguistics
from the University of New Mexico.
She has taught composition for many years in the U.S.,
Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
Her overseas work led to an interest in comparative education,
especially critical thinking.
Both observations and research led to her book and blog,
Critical Thinking Now
In 2019, she was a recipient of Go Back, Give Back,
a fellowship through the State Department
to train teachers in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A resident of Edmonds, Washington, Burkhalter loves to travel, write, and learn languages.
Follow the author’s page
Follow the publisher on Facebook
, and Instagram
Join their mailing list
You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blog participating in this tour.
Visit/Follow the participating blogs on Facebook/Twitter,
as listed in the entry form below, and win more entry points!
Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]
Global giveaway open to all
5 winners will receive a copy of this book
CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ MORE REVIEWS
The Education of Delhomme is the first book I have read by Nancy Burkhalter and it definitely will not be the last. I was captivated reading this tale right from the start and continued to be until I read the last page. I enjoyed the rich historical details. The author obviously did thorough research to write this book. It has a lot that I love to read: suspense, romance, history, and beautiful settings. I thought it was a great read.
The Education of Delhomme is getting a very well deserved five plus stars from me. I am looking forward to reading more by Nancy Burkhalter in the future. I highly recommend this one for readers who enjoy to read Historical Suspense. It is most definitely not one to be missed.
I received The Education of Delhomme from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.
Nice cover. It sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
So glad you enjoyed it. My own review will be along the same line, such a great book!ReplyDelete