Tim Blanning at Literary Review:
In 1793 Caroline Böhmer paid for her support for the French Revolution with arrest by the Prussians and three months of incarceration in a damp, dark, overcrowded, vermin-infested cell in the fortress of Königstein. It was made doubly painful by her having to share her suffering with her seven-year-old daughter. Intelligent, well educated, physically attractive, articulate and with a strong personality (‘I never flatter, I say what I think and feel’), Böhmer liked to be in charge. She was also unconventional when it came to sexual morality. Her spell in prison was complicated by the discovery that she was pregnant, the result of a one-night stand with a teenage French soldier. It was not to be the last of her extramarital adventures.
Böhmer was the queen bee of the ‘Jena Set’, a group of intellectuals who settled in that little Thuringian town in the mid-1790s. Rarely has there been such a concentration of cerebral power in such a small place (population 4,500).