Stranger Than Fiction: The passionate affair of a beautiful nun and a daring Marquis. This is an incredible true story of the first ever romantic bestseller - a batch of letters of uncertain origin, translated and published in France in 1669. Europe in the mid-17th century was an unstable place to be in love. Marriage was made for wealth or convenience and the only choice for unmarried daughters of noble men was to give themselves into nunhood, a sheltered and privileged existence whose inmates were paradoxically free to become more intellectually, culturally and even financially independent than their married sisters. The associations of marriage, naturally, were banned. So when a batch of letters, written by a beautiful Portuguese nun to a French officer, appeared in the salons of Paris, their readers naturally assumed that they were the fictional creation of a French aristocrat to a well-known, real-life officer. They became a 17th century bestseller, creating a flurry of excitement around the officer, who maintained a chivalrous silence until his death.
Over 100 years later, a monk came forward with the stunning assertion that the true author was a wealthy, cultivated young nun and that the letters were real. But how - and why - did the letter come to be in Paris? Why were they translated for an audience? The true story of the Marquis and the nun is greater than any fiction of forbidden love.
Myriam Cyr was a member of the Royal National Theatre in London, where she performed a critically acclaimed show based on the letters. She lives in Boston, Massachussets.