When I read Louis Menand’s, The Metaphysical Club, I was struck by the dismissive manner in which Juliette Peirce was mentioned. She was the mysterious wife of Charles Peirce, a logician and philosopher who should have found a place in the pantheon of great American minds. Yet to this day no one knows her origins or who her family was. She simply appeared in New York and in Charles Peirce’s life. While Juliette has taken much blame for her husband’s failure to fulfill his potential, I saw a different story. The story of a woman who gave everything to support the genius she loved, even as he struggled with painful facial neuralgia, manic depression and increasing drug addiction.
The Queen of Cups is Juliette Peirce’s fictionalized journals. From the gypsy camps of Russia, to glittering Paris and New York, to her final exile to obscurity in the countryside of Pennsylvania, Juliette’s journey traces the life of an independent woman, who, betrayed by those she loves, finds her way forward by forging new identities. Through it all, she never loses her belief in the possibility of redemption, and in the power of love and loyalty.