The Queen’s Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

Allison Pataki. Ballantine, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-12818-3
This impeccably researched, expertly rendered historical from Pataki (The Traitor’s Wife) gloriously recreates the personal dramas surrounding Napoleon Bonaparte. Following the French Revolution, Napoleon falls hard for beautiful Desiree Clary, a sheltered and wealthy 16-year-old. They become engaged, and their siblings also marry, but Napoleon has second thoughts when he meets socialite Josephine de Beauharnais. As Napoleon racks up military victories, Desiree and Josephine become friends, and they both end up in places they never expected to be. Desiree leaves a Catholic convent school in the south of France for glittering Paris parties, and later joins the Swedish nobility. Pataki’s skill in chronicling Napoleon’s transformation from an idealistic young soldier to a ruthless, callous leader drives the story, and her sumptuous scenes allow the reader to easily examine the political machinations and extreme luxury of the monarchy. Readers who enjoy Elizabeth Chadwick will want to take a look. Agent: Lacy Lalene Lynch, Dupree/Miller & Associates. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/31/2019
Release date: 02/11/2020
Genre: Fiction
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