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

by Michelle Moran

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2635443,310 (3.73)24
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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It's official, I'm definitely a Michelle Moran fan for historical fiction. As with her first book, in this book Moran delivers somewhat obscure historical facts interwoven with well known historical facts. This book is about Napoleon and his family through three voices: that of his seemingly brilliant pollitician second wife, the Austrian princess who must have had the fate of her great Aunt Marie Antoinette formost in her mind all through her time in France; his sister Pauline - talk about family skeletons in the closet; and her chamberlain from Haiti whom she renamed Paul. There are also an abundance of quotes from letters between Napoleon and Josephine, as well as other quotes from the time. Interesting and page turner, this definitely fits if you are in need of good historical fiction read. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
So far I have not read a Moran book that disappointed me, and I happy to say that one was just as good as the rest.

Through out the whole book there was this easy flow to it, I took it up and started reading and suddenly I found myself 1/3 through the book. So I did what any booklover would do, I finished it in one day. I really liked the flow, the book felt light by it.

The book itself spans over 6 years and has 3 POVS. Princess Marie-Louise who have to marry Napoleon. She is not happy but will do her duty. Then we have Napoleon's sister Pauline who is a piece of work, but still, she has issues too. And last Pauline's chamberlain Paul. They all give an insight and we get to see more than we would have since with just Marie-Louise around.

I like how Moran presents everyone, even with their faults she makes me see that there might be something behind all of it. Well except Napoleon, that guy was just crazy. But every man needs a vision.

The book felt different from the ones before, maybe because of the lightness, it was not that long either. She wove in the historical facts without making them heavy or making them too many.

I could go on and on. In the end, all I want to say is that I really enjoyed reading this book and that I recommend it to all.( ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
I found this book to be rather engaging - told from various viewpoints and set during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte and his second wife, Marie-Louise. The sections narrated by Napoleon's sister were particularly interesting - she was nutso and thought that she herself should be married to Napoleon and that they should go to Egypt to rule that country. If you like historical fiction, you'd probably like this book. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Jan 20, 2016 |
In her latest historical novel, The Second Empress, Michelle Moran focuses on Napoleon and his last few years in power. When Napoleon fathers a child with his mistress, and discovers that he’s not infertile after all, he is determined to divorce Josephine and produce an heir with a new wife. Napoleon’s self-centered and highly ambitious sister, Pauline, believes that Napoleon’s destiny is to rule from Egypt as a modern Pharaoh, with her by his side. Much to her distaste, Napoleon, always conscious of his humble beginnings, chooses to align himself with royalty and selects the Hapsburg Princess Maria Lucia, daughter of the King of Austria, as his bride.

Told through the first-person narrative of three people, the story unfolds to reflect Napoleon’s greed, materialism, and fanatical desire for warfare. The first is Marie Louise, the eighteen year old second Empress. The second is Napoleon’s sister Pauline Bonaparte who has an obsession with her brother and his power. The third is Paul Moreau, Pauline’s Haitian chamberlain. The years which Moran concentrates on are from 1809, the year Napoleon marries Marie-Louise, to 1815, the year he is exiled to Elba. While Moran’s easy-to-read style exposes the lives and loves of Marie Louise, Pauline, and Paul Moreau, she also reveals Napoleon’s spectacular downfall, beginning with the War of 1812, in which he suffered a humiliating defeat in Russia, leaving most of his army destroyed and his reputation in tatters.

The wealth of historical detail, drawn from the women's notes and letters, creates a realistic portrait of the royal court in turmoil. I thought Pauline was the most interesting character but in a way, the shifting points of view interfere with any real character development. Overall, I found The Second Empress to be well researched and highly readable, and cannot wait to read another Michelle Moran novel.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
4.5 stars

When Napoleon's wife hasn't produced boys as heirs for him, he divorces her and chooses to wed an 18-year old Austrian archduchess, Maria-Lucia. Maria-Lucia is not happy about this, but does her duty, moves to France and marries him. Napoleon's sister, Pauline Borghese, is jealous. She wants power just as much as Napoleon. She also wants her brother to herself.

I really liked this. Napoleon is another historical figure I've not read much about. As usual, though, I tend to enjoy history and/or historical fiction from the point of view of women. This story is told from three different points of view: Maria-Lucia, Pauline and Pauline's chamberlain, Paul. I did prefer the POVs of Maria-Lucia and Pauline. Wow, Pauline was... wow – vindictive, crazy, there are many more words that could describe her. Though this was fiction, Moran took much of what she learned and put in the book from primary sources (including some actual letters written by Napoleon, his ex-wife, and others). I have to say that Michelle Moran sure does know how to tell great historical fiction! ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 4, 2015 |
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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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