When I was a girl of about fourteen, my most favorite series of books where those of the French author couple Anne and Serge Golon, who created Angélique.
A young noblewoman born in 17th century France, Angélique goes through about anything a woman could suffer in those days. A love that could not be, being covetted by a king, forced into another marriage she doesn't like, the destruction of her castle, becoming an outlaw - you name it.
But still she endures and remains strong. She's the kind of woman I admire and try to mirror myself on. My own grandmother was like Angélique. She also suffered a lot but nothing could break her. She remained strong and independent and shared her insights with me. I flatter myself I take after her in a lot of ways.
I never read the Angélique novels in French - probably should have done that. I always read them in Dutch translation. Now I now translations are not the best most of the time. I prefer to read in the language the book was written. That's ok for English and German, but I struggle more with French. But one of these days I'm certain to make the effort.
The novels were also put to film, and I remember how the whole of our class was waiting in anticipation when the first of the films was broadcasted on our national TV. That was Angélique, Marquis des Anges.
And of course I must admit I 'borrowed' the scar of her first husband to fit my hero in The Medici Diamonds. I always thought it made a nice touch. Marguerite also takes to the French underworld when she is in trouble, just like Angélique does. But hey, we all adapt these general themes.