A question has been puzzling me related to my latest book, forthcoming from University of Wisconsin Press later this year. I’ve been wondering — when Lily confronted Natalie, how serious was she? They had been lovers for 9 years and Natalie had been helping to support Lily and her two daughters.
I recently received information confirming that, when Lily delivered her ultimatum to Natalie, demanding that she cut off her relationship with Romaine or suffer the loss of Lily in her life, she fled to the countryside.
This seemed almost impossible to imagine in a country that was at war. But a military historian has confirmed that it actually would have in fact been possible for Lily to travel because the German offensive hadn’t yet gotten fully underway. This also means that Natalie would have been able to chase after, and that the marriage contract between them might have been written en route, rather than in Paris.
You can read more details in my new book, Romaine Brooks: A Life, but a quick look at the map confirms the information I have been sent.