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Violaine, a devotee of books and learning, finds herself sold by her father to a mysterious nobleman to become his companion. Fearing herself at the mercy of a monster, Violaine instead succumbs to the seductive spell of her magical new home, and the love of a man she has never seen, who comes to her only in the darkness of night.

The Château de Boisaulne is a place of many mysteries, but also a refuge for children of the Enlightenment in a time when Europe still languishes under the repressive chains of monarchy and superstition. But modern thought meets ancient lore, as the castle borders the forest lair of the roi des aulnes, an ogre said to be the ancestor of Violaine’s unseen lover...or are they one and the same?



Therese Doucet writes, parents, and works a day job in Washington, DC, and Knoxville, TN. She studied cultural history in a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago for four years, and is a former Fulbright fellow, as well as a creative writing residency fellow of the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in literary magazines including Embark, Hotel Amerika, and Bayou.


This intelligent retelling weaves us through history with fantasy, grounding us and opening our doors to enlightenment. - Rosa Kumar, Independent Book Review

The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment's gripping story will delight readers seeking both complexity and evocative reading. – D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

"At the center of Therese Doucet’s enchanting debut novel is a library teeming with rare and unusual volumes. The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment feels like a book pulled from its shelves, a heady mix of historical fiction, fairy tale, philosophy, demonology, and romance. Call it baroquepunk—a fantasy of the French Enlightenment with a libertine edge and a goth heartbeat." — Jeff Jackson, author of Destroy All Monsters and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist

The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment took me on a journey, to France, to centuries ago, to the exotic and erotic castle where ideas and philosophy are debated and fought over, and the desire to learn more, to be more, to love more deepens, especially as night descends. Unforgettable. A fabulist, fabulous tale from a new novelist to watch. — Caroline Bock, author of Carry Her Home, Before My Eyes and Lie

“I grew to like it more and more as the page count continued” – Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

"Set against an exquisitely rendered French gothic backdrop, The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment is an intelligently erotic page-turner not to be missed." - Joe McGinniss Jr., Kirkus Prize finalist and author of Carousel Court and The Delivery Man

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