Published by AuthorHouse in 2013. Read by Marilyn Leys.
Madame Jane is based on the life of Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman. Just after the War of 1812, 14-year-old Jane Fisher married Joseph Rolette, the most powerful, ruthless fur trader in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, the western outpost of the American Fur Company. She eventually separated from Rolette and became the first woman in the Wisconsin Territory to file for a divorce, which was never completed. After Rolette’s death, Jane married a second wealthy fur trader, Hercules Louis Dousman, who built their mansion where the Villa Louis is now located.
All of the characters in Madame Jane, except for Jane’s childhood friend Marie, actually lived in or visited the Prairie du Chien area, leaving paper trails Ley would come across nearly 200 years later while researching letters and legal documents.
Newspaper article on Madame Jane
“Novel explains unexpected story of the prominent Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman”
By Correne Martin, from The Clayton County Register
Marilyn Leys was teaching journalism and creative writing in the Milwaukee Public Schools when she decided that Jane Dousman would make an interesting story. After the first draft of the novel was written, she and her husband moved from Milwaukee to a farm in northeast Crawford County where they lived for twenty years. They now make their home in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.