THE PASSING OF ANNE GOLON – AUTHOR – ANGELIQUE (MARQUISE DES ANGES)

I just read that Anne Golon passed away on Friday at the age of 95. She was writing until the end. She inspired me as a girl and instilled the belief I could do anything a man could do. She was a wind behind my back for a lifetime.

If you read French, there is an article in Figaro located here.

“Nounou,” inquired Angelique, “Why did Giles de Retz kill so many children?”

With these words, one of the world’s greatest series of historical fiction begins. It is a translation from the French. I have been told by many people who’ve read the series in French, that much was lost in a not-very-good translation.

angelique book cover

Nothing will change the way I feel about these books. Most were written long years ago. I read the first of them when I was 13. I still have the book, though the binding is broken and the pages are beginning to turn to dust. I have since bought a newer version and I have most of the follow ups in paperback.

The first book was published in 1957 and I read it in 1960. In those days, I lived in books. I didn’t have friends. I was too different. I’ve always been out of step. Sometimes, a lot, occasionally almost catching up with my peers. But back then … I was downright weird.

Then I met Angelique.

Fifth child of an impoverished country nobleman, Angélique de Sancé grows up in the Poitou marshlands, a region known as the “Green Venice”, halfway between the ocean and the forests. She is a free child, as one with the forest and the marshes, discovering nature’s healing secrets with the help of the witch Mélusine. Her logical destiny would be to marry a poor country nobleman, have children and spend her life fighting for a meager subsistence.

Destiny has other plans in store for her. At 17, when she returns from the convent where she has been getting an education, she finds herself betrothed to the wealthy count of Toulouse, Joffrey de Peyrac. He is 12 years her senior, lame, scarred and rumored to be a wizard.

from the review by Harvey Adkins

Angélique’s life and adventures inspired me and gave me courage.

angelique pages book

Thus the story begins. In subsequent volumes, they will take you through most of the world of Louis XIV. Joffrey becomes the love of Angélique’s life. After he is burned at the stake for heresy and for being too powerful for the comfort of his enemies, Angélique finds herself in the underworld of Paris — homeless, penniless, with babies to protect. Yet she rises up from the gutters back to the glittering court of Louis XIV. Confronts him on the murder of her husband, rebels against him, leads a group of Huguenots to the New World. Builds a colony, fights emissaries of the church and King to retain her freedom. Along the way, she has children — from a variety of fathers, including one resulting from rape — and one of which is murdered.

With all the power of Crown and Church arrayed against her, Angélique finds a way through and emerges victorious. Bowed, but never beaten, her defeats are setbacks. Her triumphs change the world.

She is deathlessly beautiful. If you are a women taking on the world, it’s never bad to have golden hair and hypnotic green eyes. But Angélique doesn’t win the day using sex. When she leads, she carries a gun and a sword. She will kill in defense of her own — and she does. She will fight for her family, her home, her beliefs.

She became much more than a fictional character to me. At a time when female role models were few and far between, Angélique was a super hero from the past. Unstoppable. Tough. Smart. She suffered the worst that life could dish out. She faced down unspeakable horrors and impossible challenges. Along the way, there were more than a few casualties.

Back in the real world, author Anne Golan was fighting her publisher for the rights to her books.

Anne Golon was born 17 December 1921 as Simone Changeux in Toulon, France. She published her first novel at 18 as Joëlle Danterne. During World War II, she traveled by bicycle through France and Spain writing under various pen-names. She helped create France Magazine. Was sent to Africa as a journalist, where she met Vsevolod Sergeïvich Goloubinoff, her husband, Serge Golon.


She passed away Friday, July 14, 2017 in Versailles, Paris, France.

angelique french edition


They collaborated on Angélique. Anne wrote. Serge did the considerable research required by these surprisingly accurate books. The first book in the series was an astounding success. The books were credited to Serge and Anne Golon, (Sergeanne Golon), the names having been merged by publishers who were reluctant to print books written by women.

In 1972, Anne and Serge Golon went to Canada to continue research. Anne wrote Angélique and the Ghosts. Serge died.

Anne continued writing and raising her 4 children. Between 1972 and 1985, she wrote four more books. While battling Hachette for unpaid royalties and rights, Anne Golon lived in extreme poverty. She finally won, leaving her sole owner of the works.

These are the books which were translated into English:

Angélique, The Marquise of the Angels
Angélique: The Road to Versailles (US and the UK with the 1st volume, Angélique)
Angélique and the King
Angélique and the Sultan (aka, Angélique in Barbary)
Angélique in Revolt
Angélique in Love
The Countess Angélique
The Temptation of Angélique (In Canada as: The Temptation of Angélique 1: The Jesuit Trap, The Temptation of Angélique 2: The Downfall of Goldbeard)
Angélique and the Demon
Angélique and the Ghosts.

The English translation of this series stopped abruptly with Angélique and the Ghosts. Anne Golon’s fans — like their fictional heroine — wanted to know what had happened to the author. She was located in Paris, alive, well, and still writing.

As of August, 2009 — there were three yet-to-be-translated books already in the series:

Angélique à Quebec
Angélique: Route de L’Espoir
Victoire d’Angélique

To date, they remain untranslated, but I live in hope that they may be. Soon, I hope. I’m not getting any younger. English-language readers — like me — have waited more than 40 years. An entire lifetime during which I have gone from adolescent to a senior citizen.

Anne-Golon

I’ve read thousands of books during these long years, but never lost hope for translations of the newer Angélique books.

You can still find information at Angélique Books. It’s not easy to find intact copies of the books, but if you are interested, don’t give up. Amazon has some, off and on. ABE Books sometimes has copies. And of course, there’s eBay. Marquise Des Anges (the original name of the book in France) was made into a movie in 2013, but it has never been released to the American market and I have never been able to find a copy of the movie that will play on my DVD player. I can hope this will happen someday.

Maybe there will be new English-language copies eventually. I hope to see them republished. Soon would be good. They are available in German and of course, in French.

Fare thee well, Anne Golon. You changed my world.

18 thoughts on “THE PASSING OF ANNE GOLON – AUTHOR – ANGELIQUE (MARQUISE DES ANGES)

  1. I started reading the Angelique books a bit younger than you, but I agree, she was a spirited role model. I was lucky enough to read many of them later in the original French and the English translations do lose a good deal of the depth… still great reads though and I too have some of the original paperbacks, filched from my mother’s shelves and never returned.
    The film is both good and bad… visually beautiful and Michele Mercier is a perfect Angelique, but the script was catering more for the discretely erotic romantic market and lost even more depth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a new film made in 2013 — not the Mercier films. A new one, but it was never released in a form that can be played in the U.S. I tried to find a copy, but the few that are around are all for European machines. I believe I have heard it is closer to the original movie, although I tend to doubt it is going to be really close.

      The books meant something to me. I wish I’d been able to read them in French because I have heard that the translation lost a lot. Even so, they meant a lot to me and I wish i’d been able to read the final three books. I know Mme. Golon had planned two more, but to the best of my knowledge, she wasn’t quite up to the task.

      For those who never read the books, it’s hard to explain that they weren’t what people thought they were. They were something much more important, especially when we were girls.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for writing that. I was an Angelique follower in school when I was approaching the teenage years. Actually it was a colleague of mine at school that was always reading the books. The jackets on the paperbacks were attractive and so I began to read them. I got hooked and more or less read them all. Unfortunately a lot has been forgotten, but I do remember that the man she got was actuallly disfigured, but he compensated with his character. The books disappeared with my school years, but I still have one or two in the a bookcase in our hobby room. Today I am thinking about reading Game of Thrones, life goes on.
    I knew the name of the authoress of the Anglique books, but not more, so thanks for the reminder. Her books were adored by many I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found the books by accident. My mother used to buy big boxes of almost free books from a local lending library. I would rummage around in them and I found the original Angelique. I read it. I wanted more. For a long time, every couple of years, a new one would come out … then a couple of decades and there was nothing.

      Most of us thought she was gone, but it turned out she was fighting an endless battle with her publisher for the rights to her own books. She eventually won and she wrote three more, but they were never translated into English. They are available in French, German and I think Polish.Possibly Italian. And now, she is gone. She never finished the series. Those final two books lived in her mind, but didn’t make it to paper. Maybe someday someone will translate the final three.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for that, Marilyn. I wouldn’t have known about Anne Golon’s passing otherwise.
    My mother introduced me to the series and I was hooked.
    Leslie

    Like

  4. I wonder if W.C. Fields ever read that first Angelique book. How better to explain his remark, “I love children. Boiled, broiled, or in a stew”? I remember reading a book called Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini when I was sick in bed in around 8th grade and that character, the writing, have stayed with me all these years later. You’ve made Anne Golon’s books sound as unforgettable to you as Scaramouche is to me.

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