Granville-Paris Express Incident in 1895



How often do we hear railway metaphors and similes used to describe dramatic events in our lives? We say that someone has made a trainwreck of their life; that our plans have been derailed; when we speak of life-changing circumstances. Even in a small way, we might describe a feeling of tiredness as having run out of steam or puff, another allusion to the trains of a bygone era.

The railways have made a great impact on life and language since their eager acceptance by the British public in the 1820s and 1830s. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, train travel represented possibly the fastest and most economical way to cover long distances; and the most endurable if you were not rich enough to command the comforts of life.

Speaking of such things, I found the above amazing image on Wikipedia while researching the Paris railway stations for my Master of Illusion series.

On 22nd October, 1895 (when Madame Dupont was also having a little holiday away from her diary) the Granville-Paris Express overran its buffer stop at the Gare Montparnasse; crossed the concourse before crashing through the wall and came to rest in spectacular fashion, nose first, in the street below.

Incredibly, only one person was killed: not by the train directly, but by falling masonry. And here we see the irony of fate: The poor woman was minding her husband’s stall while he was away running an errand. Definitely, the wrong place at the wrong time!

And what of the stall holder himself? Did he congratulate himself on having had an amazing escape? Or did he wish that it had been him? Or miss her so much that he felt he should have died with her? We will never know.

More recently, the Gare Montparnasse is famous as the venue for the surrender of Colonel Dietrich von Choltitz to General Jacques-Phillipe Leclerc and Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy on 25th August 1944.

Colonel von Choltitz, the German commander of Paris during World War II, was hailed as the saviour of Paris by its grateful populace for his refusal to obey Hitler’s insane orders to destroy the city.

General Leclerc was the commander of the French 2nd Armoured Division formed in London in late 1943. The Division landed in Normandy attached to General George S. Patton’s 3rd U.S. Army and fought alongside the FFI in the Battle for Paris (19th – 24th August 1944).

Colonel Rol-Tanguy, known by his nom de guerre of Colonel Rol during WWII, was the leader of the Paris division of the FFI. A real hero of the French Résistance, he fought on grimly from the underground through all the years of the war.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Look What’s Coming for Christmas!

Angel of Song

Angel of Song – Book Three in the Master Of Illusion Series.  Already in Amazon’s Hot New Releases for the categories, Historical French Fiction and Historical Fiction 20th Century.

Over the last year, I have been working very hard (along with my editor and designer) to get Book Three in the Master of Illusion series released.

The fantastic news is that it is already available for presale, and will finally be released via eBook and paperback this Friday,18th December 2015! Just in time for Christmas!

Angel of Song is a historical romance set in France amidst the chaos of the Great War. In the hell of the trenches, the Allied soldiers sacrifice their lives to hold their posts against insurmountable odds. Looking for inspiration, the French believe they’ve found a secret weapon from an unlikely source: the Angel of Song.

Angel of Song is fiction woven into a factual setting. It tells the story of a beautiful young opera singer catapulted from the idyllic lifestyle of Paris in the Belle Époque into the horrors of World War I and how she uses her talents to fight the war in her own way. Incredibly, she finds that her enemies are not all on the other side.

Angel of Song is available from the following online eBook outlets for only $4.99 US: Amazon kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple Itunes store & Kobo to name a few. Paperback copies may be ordered directly from the US Amazon & Create Space stores from Dec 18th onward, and will be available for order via Ingram in most good bookstores by mid-January 2016 for $24.99 US.

For more details, click here for the Angel of Song web page!

Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year to you all!

Anne Rouen