Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review-The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court


Michelle Moran
Crown Publishing
August 14, 2012
HC, 320 pp, $25.00, 

Having read all of Michelle Moran’s novels, the allure of The Second Empress, her latest historical fiction work about Napoleon’s Court was an irresistible pick from my TBR pile.  I chose wisely and for a few hours I became French with a bit of Austrian thrown in. Much has been written about the Bonaparte family including thousands of letters that the author notes she examined in order to shape her vision of Napoleon and other family members, Pauline, his sister, and Josephine his first wife.  She does not apologize for the harsh treatment and depiction of the lewd, often cruel and ever unpredictable tyrannical despot Napoleon Bonaparte.  Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old daughter of the king of Austria faced an impossible decision. A decision she felt gave her no choice but to leave Austria to marry Napoleon who was at age forty, desperate for an heir. After fourteen years, of marriage his first wife, Josephine, was still barren so when her infidelity was exposed,  he had her banished from court.  Marie-Louise had nothing to fear from Josephine, but Napoleon’s promiscuous narcissistic exceedingly beautiful sister Pauline had dreams of her own. She would like nothing better than to model a reign with her perverse brother, together an incestuous pair, who would rule an empire in the style of ancient Egypt. When Marie Louise gives birth, Pauline must alter her course, and her idiosyncratic behavior increases.  At the same time,  Napoleon’s Machiavellian personality is not satiated and his military compulsion to conquer all results in a bloody defeat. When the future of France turns bleak, Marie-Louise now given the position of regent of France by her husband, must make an audacious and clever decision.

The Second Empress will delight the most devoted of Moran’s fans with an engaging plot and glimpse of history during Napoleon’s time. This highly recommended novel is another distinctive and spicy portrayal of powerful women who were destined to change history.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

DISCLOSURE: A copy of this book was sent at no charge to the reviewer for an unbiased candid review.

September 26, 2012

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