A portmanteau bag is one of those classic vintage beauties that made so much sense to include in Woman On The Wall. Listen in to my latest TikTok video for a quick hit from me on what exactly a portmanteau is and why I included it in the novel:
@robinriversauthor #greenscreen #wordoftheday #writertok #frenchwords #novel ♬ Je te laisserai des mots – Patrick Watson
Today’s word of the day is portmanteau – derived from the French word portemanteau (from porter, “to carry”, and manteau, “coat”) which once referred to a travelling case (luggage) even though today it mean a coat rack.
What Exactly Is A Portmanteau?
The leather luggage often had a handle and opens in two equal parts. I knew this was the perfect piece of luggage to have in the novel because they were most popular in the late 1800s and likely shoved in an attic or cellar somewhere in Paris. This makes them not so fashionable, yet likely to be able to scrounge up for carrying all kinds of interesting bits.
Why Does Marie Have One?
At the beginning of Woman On The Wall, we find Marie hauling around cans of Rinderbraten left in Paris bunkers by Nazis. She trades them for coffee for her team at the Louvre.
The bag, old-fashioned even in the 1940s, lets her get her contraband cans and coffee around town without too many questions.
Robin, You Have A Mis-spelling in the Video
Yes, yes I do. Autocorrect likes to remind me that I need to double and triple edit my work before posting it. Today, I failed. I left it, though, because life is just like that at times – not quite perfect.
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