Madeleine Chapsal spent her life writing sentimental novels, sometimes five or six a year; almost a hundred in total. She has always had a loyal and large following. But the woman who served for a long time on the Femina jury never received any literary prizes and was ignored by critics. Yet she had her style, Madeleine Chapsal, a style which broke through from her first success La Maison de jade (nearly a million copies), where, already, she tackled a theme that she would never abandon: that intrigues of romantic passion, always through the eyes of a woman who is no longer loved.

If success is achieved, this fiction will also lock her into the category of “popular novelists” from which it is difficult, if not impossible, to break away. It must be said that the very titles of his books* did not invite anything else, there were around thirty of them containing the word “love” “woman” or its variants: Un amour pour trois, L’Amour n’a pas de season, Farewell love, The abandoned woman, The Lovers, My husband’s mistress, Affairs of the heart, The charm of affairs…

Born in September 1925, she was first a journalist, notably at L’Express where she participated in the adventure of its creation with her then husband, Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, before belonging to the restricted circle of authors living from their pen. That didn’t stop him from being all smiles when a newspaper gave a little review to one of his novels, novels that sold themselves. She also rejoiced when she received an honor, no matter how minor.

When she won the first literary award of her long career, this August 2005, she was very happy. It was the Woman of Letters prize, received from the hands of Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, then Minister of Culture. “ I didn’t know I was one. I always thought I was rather marginal,” she confided to Jacques Pessis. And added: “I have had nothing since the distant time when I was a student at the Lamartine course, and accumulated crosses of honor and prizes of excellence. I had come to terms with the idea that this would never change! »

She continued on her merry way: each year, between her numerous novels or essays and her books published in pocket format, she sold, on average, between 100,000 and 200,000 copies.

But everything changed this week in November 2006. She published the first volume of her Journal of Yesterday and Today. One page will trigger everything, the one where she recounts the deliberations of the Femina jury. This does not please some of the targeted ladies, who decide to exclude him. She never said it, but this episode hurt her a lot; especially since it took place the same week when she lost her first husband, Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, The Man of Her Life, was the title of the book she dedicated to him.

* Most are published by Fayard or Le Livre de Pocket.