Mistress Mine, historical novel by Gabrielle Dubois author

It has been very difficult to find a title for the historical novel Mistress Mine, the first of the two parts series Louise Saint-Quentin.

Indeed, there are so many different characters in Mistress Mine: females, males, young ladies, wise women, a composer, a shipowner, a painter, a hero; so many different places too: French countryside, Paris, France, Polynesia, Australia… The story takes place before Mistress Mine’s heroine birth, until she’s twenty: she evolves a lot.

A title must reflect what the reader will find in the book. But for Mistress Mine, what to choose? Louise, the heroine has a quest: in a first time it is looking for her brother to rebuild the family she never had, then, as she’s grown up, it is finding what to do with a life, and maybe find love…
How eighty chapters, wrote like different scenes of a movie, or like different episodes of a series, can be unified in one title?

As the main character is Louise, Jane Hentgès, whom I asked for help about the title, finally proposed Mistress Mine, after having sent me the verses excerpted from

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare
Act II, Scene III, The Clown, singing
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?

“O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love’s coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers’ meeting —
Every wise man’s son doth know.

What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty, —
Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.”

I must say I liked it a lot, but also, I hesitated a lot. Because for me, Mistress Mine’s heroine — Louise — can’t be defined by male characters in the novel. She is the “master” of this novel. But Jane convinced me by saying:
“Louise Saint-Quentin is above all her own “Mistress Mine” as she has to learn all about life and how to fend for herself from a very early age.”

And in my opinion, love is part of life, like eating, drinking, caring, learning, evolving. And would life be worth living without love?

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