The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris by Steve M. Gnatz
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 541 pages ~ Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Leather Apron Press ~ Release date: January 2021
Tour dates: Mar 29 to Apr 9, 2021
Content Rating: PG-13. There is mild (romantic) sexual content and very mild profanity.
1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician.
Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnétisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.
A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnétisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim.
The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.
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REVIEW by LAWonder10:
Ben was crossing the ocean with two of his grandsons.. They would be together in France for quite a while. Ben was grieving the recent death of his wife, yet, mesmerizing of bygone days in France, as well.
Ben was respected everywhere he went. While his thoughts were often not accordant with others, he never became defensive. Thus, it was wisdom for those who signed the Declaration of Independence to send him as an ambassador to the French king who was willing to aid on the was against the British.Little did Ben realize the many ways this trip would affect him for the rest of his life.
This book is the author's perception of what it was like for Benjamin Franklin's journey and time spent living in France during these crucial years of revolution for freedom's sake. There were many interesting points brought out that most are unaware of. It was very informative and feasible.
Although interesting, it was too wordy and repetitive for me to truly get involved in it. I also felt the sexual intimacies were totally unneeded and unfounded.
The writing was done well, the characters portrayed well and the background scenes were well described..
I offer a Three and a Half Stars rating.
"This book was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Ben Franklin’s Inventions
Other than as a Founding Father of America, Benjamin Franklin is probably best known for his experiments with electricity. But did you know that he was quite the inventor too?
Franklin had an inquisitive nature and a keen eye. He made some important observations about the ocean currents and weather. He re-designed the common heating and cooking stove of his era (which later became known as the Franklin stove) so that it would not spew smoke and soot into the home. He didn’t really discover electricity – although he did perform some important experiments explaining and “taming” it. He invented the lightning rod so that buildings and ships would be better protected from damage. You may know that he invented bifocal glasses, but he also invented what he called a “long-arm” device, that we know as a reacher today.
Franklin was a music lover, but he only invented one musical instrument. He called it the glass armonica. In 1761, while living in London, Ben observed a lovely young musician named Marianne Davies perform on the musical glasses. Despite how beautifully she played, she appeared to be in constant pain from the activity. Franklin conceived of an instrument with glass bowls attached to a rod at their center and bathed in a tub of water. The rod was turned by a treadle mechanism, keeping the turning bowls moistened. The musician could then gently apply her finger to the appropriate bowl to produce the note she wanted – resulting in music without any pain.
Ben had the very first glass armonica built for Marianne Davies. Historians have questioned the nature of their relationship - but very little is known. In my book, The Wisdom of the Flock, I imagine that they became romantically involved. And who knows? Franklin published a theory about the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) being due to charged electrical particles in the atmosphere. He was right on. He suggested in a letter that much energy could be saved if people would change their clocks to match the daylight hours – even though he did it in jest and Daylight Savings Time didn’t come into existence until much later. He contributed greatly to social benefits through adding his wisdom to ideas like the post office, fire department, and library. He re-designed a streetlight to make it more serviceable, provide more light, and be less likely to break when cleaning. His 4-sided re-design of the lamp is still common. He invented swim fins to aid him in swimming and a library chair that incorporated a stepstool for reaching upper shelves. Many of his inventions were utilitarian. He invented mostly common things that made life easier. But he also published his designs so that others could reap the benefits as well.
Ben Franklin never patented any of his inventions as he felt that they should be enjoyed by all mankind. Ben continues to contribute to our lives today. Not the least of which is that we can continue to be entertained by his deeds and served by his inventions.
Meet the Author:
Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.
connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads
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