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The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court (edition 2012)

by Michelle Moran

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1944561,408 (3.73)18
Member:Maria_de_Madrid
Title:The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court
Authors:Michelle Moran
Info:Crown (2012), Hardcover, 320 páginas
Collections:Your library
Rating:*1/2
Tags:Historical fiction, Napoleon, Marie Louise

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The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
I want to thank Goodreads for my advanced copy! Full review too follow shortly. (when i'm not mobile, lol!) ( )
  DisneyDiva86 | Aug 25, 2014 |
I want to thank Goodreads for my advanced copy! Full review too follow shortly. (when i'm not mobile, lol!) ( )
  DisneyDiva86 | Aug 25, 2014 |
A Novel of Napoleon’s Court

This is the story of Austrian archduchess Marie Louise who at the age of nineteen married Napoleon Bonaparte and became his second wife and mother to the sole heir of the French Empire. At the time the French court was a wild place and this young, shy and politically inexperienced girl had to fill her predecessor shoes, Empress Joséphine (Napoleon`s first wife) and command a small army of servants and courtiers. This may be her story but the Emperor took a great chunk of this novel, it felt more like a character study about the illustrious figure`s carnal appetites and idiosyncrasies than anything else……

According to her notes, the author`s mentioned trying to be as close as possible to the historical record, especially where personalities were concerned and wanted to show her readers how powerful Napoleon really was and how everyone orbited around him, regardless if they were family or servants. This story is told from three points of views: Napoleon`s sister, the sex-crazed and Egypt obsess Pauline, Marie-Louise who loathed her husband and in love with and Austrian count and a young Haitian chamberlain Paul Moreau, whose love for Pauline was indisputable. The author has created quite a remarkable portrayal of characters and they truly shine in this novel.

This shrewd tale show Napoleon`s later life, personal exploits, his character traits. His marriage to Marie-Louise being a cold tactic of force against the Austrian nation and her acceptance was only in fear and loyalty to her country and through this union save her father`s throne. Ms. Moran punctuated the novel with letters between Napoleon and Josephine and historical titbits. The flow is smooth and keeps the steady pace throughout. Not different from any historical fiction we have an enhanced story that deviated from facts to make the experience more entertaining. Although nicely written this one is not my favourite in the author’s library. ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Jul 11, 2014 |
A wonderful book I keep going back to. Everyone wants to write about Josephine, but until this book Marie Louise got left in the shadows. I love the way Michelle tells the story through Pauline, Marie, and Paul, it gives us three different views of the period without losing the narrative. In the audiobook version, there are three different actors narrating each part making it like a play!

I just wish there could have been more about Paul and what happened to him in Haiti!
  CarriePalmer | May 2, 2014 |
I actually rated this a 4.5

Funny thing...I don't remember ever reading a novel set during Napoleon's reign yet here we are in the third week of January and I've already read two this year! Whereas The Secret of the Pink Carnation was more of a romance/spy novel set in the height of Napoleon & Josephine's reign, The Second Empress is straight historical fiction and covers the last years of Napoleon's control over his empire. I'm not sure why but up to now, I've never really had much interest in this time period (maybe because as an American history student I was always focused more on what was happen in America at the time). I am most definitely interested now!

I received this novel as an advance readers copy from the goodreads "first read" program but was unable to get to it until now. I am very happy that I was able to make time for it as I really enjoyed it. Moran provides a perfect amount of historical detail without getting to "teachy". Moran tells the story in three voices: Pauline, Marie-Louise, and Paul. We get the insider's view from Napoleon's sister, Pauline. Then we get the outsider's viewpoint from the second empress, Marie-Louise. And finally we get the commoner's viewpoint from Pauline's chamberlain, Paul Moreau. The use of these three voices gives the reader a more complete understanding of life in Napoleon's court.

I found the novel to be both enjoyable and educational as I knew little about this time period. Moran used many primary sources in the development of this novel. I was surprised to find that many of the more shocking storylines were indeed based on fact. You know how they say "truth is stranger than fiction"? That is most definitely true with the Bonapartes!

After having read The Second Empress, I am now fascinated with the life of Marie-Louise. Moran paints her as a sympathetic character doing her duty as a royal daughter and wife. Information that I've found online, shows a slightly different story. I am sure the truth is somewhere in between. ( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
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Cairo, July 25, 1798. You will see in the newspapers the result of our battles and the conquest of Egypt, where we found resistance enough to add a leaf to the laurels of this army.
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It is 1809, and while the French Revolution is over, the bloodshed in Paris continues under the reign of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Although he has conquered much of Europe and is considered one of the most formidable generals in the world, Napoleon still lacks one important thing -- an heir. Convinced that his faithful wife Josephine will never produce one, he divorces her and begins the search for a new bride. His choice lands on the unwilling Austrian Princess, Marie-Louise, whose great-aunt, Marie Antoinette, suffered a terrible fate at the hands of the French. But once Napoleon makes his intentions known, not even Marie-Louise's father can save her from what is certain to be an unhappy marriage.

After Marie-Louise arrives in France, she is treated to a spectacle beyond anything she could have ever imagined in Austria. From lavish parties that would have made Marie Antoinette blush with shame, to temper tantrums thrown by the Emperor’s spoiled siblings, the French court is wild, juvenile, and extravagant. The worst offender of them all, however, is Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s promiscuous sister who is doing everything she can to encourage Napoleon to divorce his new wife. Her dream is to take the imperial crown for herself--just as the Egyptians did--by marrying her own brother. When Marie-Louise uncovers the relationship that exists between her husband and his sister, she is horrified. Surrounded by duplicitous courtiers and untrustworthy family members, the new Empress finds two unlikely allies at court: Hortense, the beautiful daughter of Joséphine, and Paul, the insightful servant Pauline took away with her after visiting the island of Haiti.

Based entirely on primary resources, The Second Empress recreates Napoleon Bonaparte’s wildly promiscuous court--and the women who tried to control it.
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1809. The French Revolution is over, but the bloodshed in Paris may continue under the rule of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Based entirely on primary resources, this recreation details Napoleon Bonaparte's wildly promiscuous court and the women who tried to tame it.… (more)

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