The Natural History of Love by Caroline Petit

Published: 2022 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Affirm Press 3. Unknown woman from Brazil [no known copyright] via NPR 4. Birds – Count Francis de Castelna in South America [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 5. Butterflies – Count Francis de Castelna in South America [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 6. Stinging nettle – Count Francis de Castelna in South America [CC BY-NC 3.0] via Scholar UMW

In this book, the author has imaginatively expanded the story of Francois Laporte, the Count de Castelnau (1802-1880), a French naturalist and diplomat who travelled the world collecting specimens to study. This story has imagined a lawsuit contesting Francois’ will, and tells his story from the lawyer’s point of view using fictitious diaries of Francois and his Brazilian mistress Caroline Fonceca whom he had met whilst travelling in Brazil in 1852.

“… I hope you will view my death as a natural progression, part of our natural history, part of our story.”

The true background story is fascinating, and the author has brought it to life brilliantly. Better Reading comments: “Moving from the wilds of Brazil to the salons of Paris and the early days of Melbourne’s settlement, this novel is a sweeping historical tale brought to life through vivid detail and meticulous research.”


“Yesterday we finally had our long-awaited night picnic and platypus hunt in the upper reaches of the Yarra River.”

“More couple should have connecting house. It is a relief to retire to my quiet house – am less bothered by the domestic.”

Author: Caroline Petit

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