The cover of “We Met in Paris” features a photograph of Grace Frick. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOAN HOWARD

Howard book gives Grace Frick her due

Marguerite Yourcenar was the famous one, the acclaimed French author who, in 1980, became the first woman elected to the Academie Francaise, the prestigious literary academy established in 1634.

Grace Frick was her life partner and translator.

The two first visited and fell in love with Mount Desert Island in 1942. They returned every summer and in 1950 bought a modest house in Northeast Harbor, which they named Petite Plaisance. It was there that Yourcenar completed her best-known novel, “Memoirs of Hadrian.”

In biographies of Yourcenar, who died in 1987, Frick has sometimes been portrayed in an unflattering light. But now, a new book by Joan Howard titled “We Met in Paris: Grace Frick and Her Life with Marguerite Yourcenar” gives Frick her due.

Howard, a Yourcenar scholar who lives in Northeast Harbor and Augusta, is director of Petite Plaisance, which in 2014 was added to the French Ministry of Culture’s registry of Maisons des Illustres (Illustrious Houses).

The University of Missouri Press, which published “We Met in Paris,” said the book shows Frick as “a person of substance in her own right and paints a portrait of both women that is at once intimate and scrupulously documented.”

“It contains a great deal of new information that will disrupt long-held beliefs about Yourcenar and may even shock some of her scholars and fans.”

“We Met in Paris” is available at Sherman’s book store in Bar Harbor and McGrath’s in Northeast Harbor and from most online booksellers.


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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