A Letter from Danielle for November ’23

Hi Everyone,

November begins to have the bite and seriousness of winter, as the cold weather sets in, in most places, and the holidays begin to approach. It can be a stressful time for many people, spending time with family, or having no family to spend it with, and making plans. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to include people at your table who might otherwise be alone. Or, if you are alone, it is a time to think of doing for others even less fortunate than you. I have always loved the quote from the Bible, “God places the solitary in families.” It was true for me before I was married and had my family.

I love the idea of a holiday dedicated to gratitude, which is the main theme of Thanksgiving—it’s not just about the mince and pumpkin pie!! (although that’s fun too). And Christmas and Chanukah will be upon us soon enough.

I have a book coming out in hardcover the day before Thanksgiving, and it’s a particularly fun book. In 1959, the French hosted a debutante ball, which they held at the Palace of Versailles for the first time. It was a glittering event, and they invited a number of American debutantes to make their debut at the ball. It was a great honor to be asked!!! And as in every generation, there were those who couldn’t wait to put on a big white ballgown to make their bow, others who objected to the elitism of it, some who were thrilled, and some who were scared. For the American debs, Paris was a long way from home, with new traditions to learn. It was an exciting, glamourous time for both the lucky American and French young women who were invited to make their debut into Paris society at the ball, and it had all the grandeur of the Palace of Versailles as the backdrop. The book is full of young women with all the traits and habits and fears of young women that age in stressful social circumstances. Their parents are at the ball as, well, proud of their daughters, and the interaction between the parents is exciting too. The book is lively and fun, and a throwback to another time. I hope that The Ball at Versailles thrills you to read as much as it did me to write!!!


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