Willa Gibbs is a gifted, accomplished writer, researcher and author.
This is my personal search for a talented, underrated, poetically beautiful writer and a truly remarkable woman.
I could find very little information on Miss Gibbs and her novels.
It is my mission to scour the internet, archives and all available sources, to compile every possible shred of information.
If you have any additional information on Miss Gibbs, please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Books Written by Willa Gibbs and Reviews, Part 1

Tell Your Sons; A Novel of the Napoleonc Era  1946, 523 pgs, Farrar, Straus & Company, Inc
Synapse: A novel of the Napoleonic Era, in France which is the result of intensive study of the time period.  It s a brilliant portrayal of Paul d'Aunay, a classmate of Bonaparte's in military school, who remained under Napoleon's spell throughout a colorful career.  The Glasgow Herald, October 21, 1948 pg 3
KIRKUS Review: I liked this as well as any novel of the Era that has come this way for some time. One senses throughout the powerful hold of one man's personality, his dangerous fascination for those who served with him, at the close, the reason why some of them know it was the end, but still preferred to die under his banner rather than live under another's.....
It is even more the story of Napoleon of those years from 1799-1815, from victory in Egypt to the hundred days. One gets him objectively rather than directly, through his soldiers, his officers, his satellites, his enemies, and those who loved and those who hated him.
A good story, for Napoleon fans and others.

 Seed of Mischief 1953, 248 pgs, Farrar, Straus and Young
 A beautiful and masterly written historical fiction novel, containing many thoroughly researched and documented elements. The story centers around a young heroine, Jeanne and the Dauphin, Louis-Charles (1785-1795), Louis XVll of France. This book could be classified as romance, espionage, thriller, spiritual, philosophical and historic.
Another review: I stumbled upon a red hardback copy of this book in a local junk store. Opening at random pages, I noticed that every sample of text that I read was stunning in originality of topic, thought, and expression. In just a few text passages, I encountered romance, murder, terrifying prison scenes, a priest sentenced to death, a crazy bat phobic woman shredding her own hair, a tiny loveable heroine, a tortured child king, and more. Gosh! Worth a dollar, I thought.
Was I right. This was one of the most thrilling reads I've come across this year. I almost had to finish it in one sitting. Page by page, the luminously creative storyline involves nerve-wracking plot movements, immediately absorbing characters, exquisitely clear narrative style. With an immense intelligence of expression, a fine-tuned timing, the fact that this book is not a classic utterly eludes me.
Don't miss your chance to stumble upon a true gem in the annals of unknown novels. This one's based on a true story, and you will not forget this story any time soon.
A KIRKUS Review: in the beginning of Willa Gibbs' "Seed of Mischief", Jeanne, the novel's heroine, asks the question "What is living about?" Throughout the entire novel this theme is reiterated by Jeanne's oft-repeated question to herself and to others. Despite the fact that this book is most likely read by its audience for frivolity's sake, Jeanne's question and her quest to find an adequate answer to it strikes a chord inside the reader.
"Seed of Mischief" is set during the tumultuous and treacherous years of the Terror (here: 1794-1797). In it the young aristo Jeanne Adelaide Genet de Villefont begins her quest among the hundreds of political prisoners awaiting the guillotine at the Concirgerie......By kindness and the willing sacrifice of lives for her, the innocent Jeanne is helped to escape.
Despite the fact that this novel takes place in France, it is very much an American novel. First, it was written by an American author whose Americanism colored her wings. Secondly, Jeanne, herself, is much like Mark Twain's character Huckleberry Finn. She is on a quest for happiness and is on the run for her life, much as Huck was. Huckleberry Finn, like Seed of Mischief, exemplifies the "deep human desire for freedom". The protagonist must face and overcome almost insurmountable odds to achieve happiness-a most American goal and theme- all the while on a quest to find answers.
This novel is powerful in its accurate portrayal of the times, motivations and people of France's bloody revolution. This book can be enjoyed by all from the pleasure reader to the history buff to the Terror aficionado. No matter what one seeks from reading this book, one will come away realizing that the answer to Jeanne's question.......

The Twelfth Physician 1954, A marvelous description of the status of medicine in the days of Napoleon. One man's struggle for the right to practice his calling, even in secret. A warm and fast moving story.
  A new slant on a period of terror-the French Revolution-and a novel that has something significant to say and a good story to tell, a rare combination. Charlot Florian, alone of the handful of physicians who had survived, dared to risk disaster by taking over secretly, the instruction of a handful of dedicated youths. The picture of Paris, with disease and disfigurement following on the trail of mountebanks and charlatans given free reign, the atmosphere of fear which destroyed men's souls, backgrounds the tale of Florian, who puts his profession first, even ahead of the wife he worshipped. To save her, while his own life is in daily peril, he sends her ultimately to Italy, only to have her caught in the reprisals at Pavia, when Napoleon ordered the rebellious city sacked. Then, with a measure of security in view, they are reunited, only to have Florian tricked. To watch the character of a man virtually disintegrate during a year which saw full range of horror....provides a moving tale, in a virtually untapped area. A KIRKUS Review

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