Gathering dust in the archives for almost three decades, amongst other lost writings. A small spiral-bound burgundy red leather notebook simply entitled ” Rosenthalia ” in the spidery script of Virginia Andrews lay.
According to Jessica Zinder of the lost angels of VCA forum who discovered it in the Boston University Archives, it was almost 90% empty containing nothing more than a list if French-sounding names , including the name Cosette.
Fans were intrigued , What did the name Rosenthalia mean ?! Why the French sounding names ? Was this the premises of Ruby ?
Of course , Lorraine Elgar, of AtticSecrets couldn’t resist exploring further and initially came up with the following.
A search on Google brings up the following results :
A jewish surname
“The core of the important and comprehensive collection of Hebraica and Judaica from the University of Amsterdam is the library of Leeser Rosenthal (1794-1868). This library, which consisted of approximately 6000 bands, was given to the then City Library of Amsterdam in 1880. Since then, the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana has substantially expanded by donations and a targeted acquisition policy and is currently among the the largest in Europe. The Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana does not only include a large collection of printed books, the earliest of which date from the 15th century, but also periodicals, manuscripts (from the 13th century), engravings, photographs and archival materials.”
Ok so who was Leeser Rosenthal ?!
The library’s founder, Leeser Rosenthal (Nasielsk, Poland 1794–Hanover 1868) spent the greater part of his life as an independent collector sustained by his wealthy family-in-law, studying the books they enabled him to acquire. By the end of his life, Leeser Rosenthal owned 32 Hebrew manuscripts and about 6,000 printed volumes including 12 Hebrew incunabula and many more rare books. Rosenthal’s heirs tried to sell the collection, commissioning the Dutch bibliographer Meijer Roest to compile a catalogue entitledCatalog der Hebraica und Judaica aus der L. Rosenthal’schen Bibliothek. All efforts to sell were in vain, however, and in 1880 Rosenthal’s son George, who had moved to Amsterdam and had become a banker, donated his father’s library to the City of Amsterdam. Until the First World War the Rosenthal family provided funds for the enlargement of the library, while after 1918 the University of Amsterdam took over financial responsibility.
The French Sounding names
Virginia put a lot of store in name meanings and the name that stands out in the notebook is Cosette.
Cozette was a character in Victor Hugos Les Misérables , set during the French Revolution and Virginia was inspired greatly by the Classics.
The meaning of Cozette
Cozette is , of course, from French Origin and whilst the female form of Nicholas literally means “Little thing”.
Still, it doesnt make sense – a Jewish book full of french names ? Whats the significance ?
Well, heres where another AtticSecrets exclusive comes into play – Jessica revealed to us that the notebook also contained details on the French Revolution!
Okay ……. and the jews ?!
France was the first country to emancipate the jewish community during the French Revolution in 1791.
The Rosenthalia archives would have held details of this …..
so Rosenthalia is actually a research notebook, the premises of a new novel ,
from Jessica s findings and my research – we have the basis of the novel that never was ….
The Lost Novel
A historical novel set during the French Revolution featuring a female character by the name of Cosette. It would also feature the emancipation of the Jewish community therefore definitely be set in the period of 1789-1791 if not longer …..
Now, as far as im aware Virginia had claimed only to have written one historical novel …. The Castles of the Damned. A novel that has never been discovered.
Could it be that this seemingly insignificant notebook is infact the premises for the elusive Castle of the
Has Jessica discovered more than fans initially thought ?!