book review, history, review, television

The Bonfire of Destiny

Hello, everyone! It’s freezing here in New Jersey, which means it’s time to binge read and watch until I can go outside without 64 layers on. So between my usual book reviews, I’ll be sharing shows I think you should be watching. And if it’s based on true events, I’ll give you the real deal.

The first show? The Bonfire of Destiny.

Genre: Historical Drama

Where to Watch: Netflix

In 1897 Paris, the aristocracy has descended on an annual charity bazaar to see the moving picture show, shop with all their wealthy friends, and generally be seen. It’s just one of the many social functions for the French elite who have no idea, tragedy will strike.

Adrienne is the unhappy wife of a politician who mistreats her terribly. Although he has just sent their daughter away to boarding school to punish Adrienne, she must still make an appearance at the bazaar. As soon as she shows her face, she slips back outside and into a waiting carriage, safe from the impending flames. But she’s not free from danger.

Alice, Adrienne’s niece, is thrilled to go out on the town with her maid Rose, both to do some shopping and to see a man she’s had her eye on. Wide eyed and wealthy, she’s has a good heart and doesn’t expect one small fire to destroy everything. And as those around her being sifting through the rubble, she sees everything in a new light.

Rose the maid is gearing up to sail to a new life with her husband Jean. She’s fiercely dedicated to Alice, and even goes back into the building to se if she can save her mistress before the fire gets out of hand. She enters the bazaar a nobody, and like a Phoenix, rises from the ashes.

The mood is electric and stories are intertwined as a fire both destroys lives and gives the chance for new ones. As the show goes on, murder, intrigue, and secret affairs are revealed with death in the background.

Even if historical shows aren’t usually your deal, the soapy dramas and lovable, and hatable, characters pull you in. The voiceovers are immaculate, and every episode leaves you wondering when the other shoe will drop.


Onto the facts! Starting in 1885, the Catholic aristocracy of Paris held the annual charity bazaar. It was a chance for the wealthy women and their maids to socialize while giving back to a good cause. But in 1897, everything would literally come crashing down.

The bazaar that year was held in a wooden building, where the inside was transformed into a medieval Paris street with the use of wood, papier-mâché, canvas for a roof, and other various other flammable things. Scheduled to last for four days, it was expected to be a hit.

More than 1,500 people were in attendance on the second day of the bazaar. Even Americans and other Europeans came to see the sites. One of the most notable was Duchess Sophie, the sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. At around four thirty, the projector in the small cinema caught on fire. The fire burned hot and fast, rapidly engulfing the building in flames and setting the cloth ceiling alight.

There were several exits, but none of them were clearly marked, and some were hidden behind the decorations. Many ran for the main doors, which were soon clogged with people. There were men in attendance, who were faster and stronger than the women, who struggled to move quickly in their mass of skirts. There were reports of men pushing women and children out of the way to escape first.

This was before the idea of modern fire safety. There was a fire brigade, but no contemporary hydrants or way for them to really put out the flames. People escaped though some of the exits, though many of the doors opened inwards and jammed when frantic people pushed against them. Those outside broke out windows to help people climb to the streets. Most notably, the cook and manager of the Hotel du Palais broke bars off a window and saved over 150 women while also poring water down on the flaming bazaar from the hotel.

But the fire moved quickly and soon it became too risky to try to save anyone else. People, mostly women, were still trapped inside. Their skirts were flammable, many had been trampled, and the walls and ceiling were beginning to fall. The fireman continued to spray the building as those inside screamed until the only sound that was left was the crackle of fire.

In the end, 126 people were confirmed dead while around 200 were injured. Many were so badly burned, they could only be identified by their jewelry. Some dentists were even called on to identify their patients by their teeth, one of the first uses of dental records in the identification of a body.

The aristocracy, and the Parisians at large, we’re shocked and demanded both an explanation and justice. In the end, it was officially noted to be an accident. But the public still wanted someone to answer for the tragedy.

The President of the Charity Bazaar Committee Ange-Ferdinand-Armand, the Baron of Mackau was the first. His charge was negligence, as he didn’t hire enough staff or ensure the doors were clearly marked. Then came the cinema operator Victor Bailac and his assistant Gregoire Bagrachow. Apparently, the light for the projector went out and the cinema staff had to hurry to relight the small flame. But in their haste, a mistake was made as the match they used lit the ether gasses that surrounded them. Soon, the drapery caught fire and the damage was done.

In the end, all charged were set to pay fines, and Bailac and Bagrachow were sentenced to short prison terms. Items found in the bazaar’s rubble were auctioned off and the lessons learned from the tragedy resulted in better fire safety laws in France.


I hope you enjoyed this little look into The Bonfire of Destiny. Check back soon for similar posts on shows like Vikings, You, Daybreakers, Banished, and more.

outlander, television

Outlander Season 3- “Voyager” Hopes

This post had been up before, almost a year ago, but it seems like there are a lot of people here for a visit today! Let’s bring this oldie but goodie back for a final chat before season 3 begins!

Spoilers to the Max!

Caution: This contains Outlander season 3/Voyager Spoilers! Read no further if you haven’t read the the third Outlander series book!

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Now that you’ve been warned, are you ready to talk about Voyager and what might come in season three of Outlander on Starz?

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We give the show a lot of love, but thought it might be time to talk about the books this week on Outlander Saturday! Since Sarah hasn’t read past book two, I’m here to chat it up with you about my favorite parts in Voyager and what I’m looking forward to seeing in season three on television.

A final reminder, if you hate spoilers, don’t read any further.

♥Jamie’s return to Lallybroch

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It’s going to be sad, seeing Jamie wounded and hiding in Dun Bonnet’s Cave for so many years with only a few books to keep him company. As you probably read on our Legends of Outlander post, there was a real-live man named James Fraser who hid in a care and was nicknamed Dun Bonnet by the cap he wore. Nice connection, Diana!I love seeing history come to life and see how things connect. Something I’m not too thrilled about seeing it when little Fergus get’s caught up in the traitor madness and looses his crafty little hand. I assume more than one tear shall be shed for our tiny adopted Fraser.

♥Friends Foreverrrrr

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Y’all know that this relationship is one for the ages. I’m not saying it’s romantic, you know Jamie only has eternal eyes for Claire, but his friendship with Lord John Grey is going to be one of the cornerstones for the series, moving forward. Without Lord John Grey, Jamie’s time in prison, and his later reunion with his biological son, might never be possible. Although, it looks like they’re setting it up to be more romantic in the show than it was in the books, something I’m not really into, as I think their complicated friendship in the series was compelling and deep. I almost feel like making it sound like a torrid love affair, like in some other blog posts and news stories, cheapens their dynamic relationship. If only the show series could do a chapter an episode!

♥Meeting Geneva

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This is going to be tough for all those who love Claire and Jamie. I’m going to be honest, I think Geneva is a grade A asshole. Blackmailing Jamie into sex was a low blow and the man’s life has been tough enough. I know I’ll have a rage stroke when she throws out the “bang me or I’ll scream rape” card. At least Jamie can see some joy in the terrible union by his son William grow for a few years. But seeing as how happy he was knowing Claire was pregnant when she left, It’ll be tough seeing him watch his child from afar.

♥Baby Jamie

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Jamie and his interactions with his secret son is going to be interesting. Their sweet doings takes up a good chunk of book, and for good reason. We all read, and saw, how into being a father Jamie was when Claire was pregnant with Faith and how important it was for Claire to go back to Frank for the safety of their unborn child. It’s going to be bittersweet to see how young Willie sees a father figure in Jamie and Jamie longs to be close to a child he never thought he’d have, after Claire’s leaving. Their bond in the books might be hard to portray on screen, but Starz has done an awesome job, so far.

♥The Highlight of the Year

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I know for a damn fact that I’m not the only person who ugly cried when Claire went through the stones and later learned that Jamie was alive all along. While I understand that she needed to go for her own safety, it’s like she’s still twenty years too late to their reunion. I’m already preparing myself for the Kim Kardashian-like sobs when she finally sees him in the print shop. I’m also dying to see how well Jamie aged. I’m guessing it’s like a fine, beautifully kilted, wine… although he’ll be unkilted for a lot of the season, and not always in the fun way. The fact that we’ll probably have to wait a few episodes for this glorious meeting adds a certain level of delicious suspense. At least it’ll be a smoother journey for Claire, as Roger and Bree help her get the cash and clothes necessary for a successful jaunt through time. Speaking of Roger and Bree, watching them say goodbye to Claire will be another depressing sight. But, hey, Claire did right by her kid and her promise to Jamie, so she deserves to have some Highlander goodness up in her petticoats.

♥The Scorned Second Wife

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Dis Bitch is right. Ya’ll probably know that I feel Laoghaire is a dirty home wrecking hussy and no one deserves to get lumpy and gross in their old age more than her…well, except for Black Jack Randall… not that he lives long enough for that. Well, anyways, her coming out of the woodwork again to claim Jamie as her rightful husband is something I’m looking forward too. Like, I get how she saw Jamie as the one that got away but, damn girl, have some self respect! I wouldn’t tie myself for a man who was constantly wishing I was someone else, no matter how hot he was. BTW I’m all sour grapes on how Jenny lashes out at Claire and rats to Loaghaire, even thought Claire told her the potato-planting key to Lallybroch’s survival. I hope Loaghaire’s gun-toting dramatics are just as wild on the screen as they are on the page.

♥High Seas Misadventure

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Poor Jamie can’t catch a break. He, along with Claire and Marsali, go to rescue Ian and he’s stuck vomiting with seasickness while Claire is basically kidnapped by the Porpoise, because the ocean has never been kind to Jamie. Like, universe, give the man a break! All he wants is to live the quiet life and plant some crops and make sweet love to his new found wife, not be held captive and taken towards prison. At least he’s conveniently shipwrecked near Claire. Small victories. I’m curious to see how this will play out since, in the book, their oceanic struggles is a large chunk of action.

♥The Return of Geillis

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Gonna be real, I’m pumped for the return of Geillis. I know she’s a murderer, adulteress, and all around baddie, but I’m really excited to see her return in all her crazy glory. You have to admire her vicious tenacity and the way she unraveled thousands of years of legends and myths to learn about time travel. Sure, she could have gone around without human sacrifices, but I admire a bitch with flair. I mean, if she had really been killed before having her son, a certain green-eyed man wouldn’t be able to grace us with his presence! So, sacrifice away, you gloriously creepy time traveler, you!

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Yeah, I know this isn’t every tasty morsel of Voyager goodness, only some of my personal favs. Tell me in the comments, what are you most excited for in season three? And for more Outlander fun, visit our Outlander Page HERE!

And if you love my Outlander articles, you’ll love my historical romance series that’s set in Victorian Scotland and England. It delves into the complicated world of the Scottish highlands as they reestablish themselves and the clan systems along with a heavy dose of romance. Book one, Queen of Emeralds, is available HERE while book two, The Amethyst Bride is available HERE!

And if you love fandom jewelry, head over to this new Etsy shop HERE for some great Outlander goodies! Use the special code MIDNIGHT15 for 15% off your order!