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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte
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|The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte
By Ruth Hull Chatlien
Publisher: Amika Press, Chicago
Pub. Date: December 2, 2013
This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
2014 started very well on Words And Peace and France Book Tours with Josephine Bonaparte. I am delighted today to present another Bonaparte, a bit less known I believe, but thanks to Ruth Hull Chatlien, all historical novel lovers can now meet Betsy Bonaparte.
Elizabeth Patterson was born at the end of the 18th century. She grew up in Baltimore. She was very beautiful, was very smart, and had an amazing memory. And her heart was full of dreams, of living abroad in Europe and marrying some dashing rich noble. One day, she meets just the one: Jerome Bonaparte, none other than Napoleon’s brother. And they do marry, and I won’t tell you more about how her life turned out.
I will only say, probably not at all the way you might imagine . But keep in mind the spirit of the time, when women had to respect their father’s mind and will – and Betsy’s father has definitely a mind of his own.
And things get much more complicated as Napoleon‘s mind was quite formidable as well. The book will show you how he tried to dominate as a tyrant not only over France but also over every member of his own family.
The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is very well done. It gives you an excellent background of the socio-economic and political context of the time, in France, Europe (with Napoleon’s doing and undoing), and in the United States.
The description of culture and literary life in Paris is excellent as well.
It certainly depicts very strong and determined characters, sometimes to the point of obsession, especially if you consider Betsy’s life long fight for herself and then for Bo, projecting on him all she could not attain for herself – I will let you meet Bo yourself. It seems her desires were so strong that they blinded her many a times to what was certainly going to happen.
Betsy was for me a very dreamy and tragic figure, never totally at ease in the world that was hers, never totally feeling at home for long in any country she tried to settle, always fighting for her place in a world of culture and respect of all.
Fittingly, the book ends with a vivid scene produced by Betsy’s powerful imagination.
VERDICT: I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction, strong women, and/or reading about the Bonapartes. On a very detailed and informative background, Chatlien manages to draw the lively portrait of a strong woman, victim of history and of her milieu. You will want to accompany Betsy all along and discover what fate has in store for her and those she loves.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy. Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage. [provided by the author]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.
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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NOVEL ON THE BONAPARTES?
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Reblogged this on Ruth Hull Chatlien.
thanks for reblogging my review, I guess it means you liked it. thanks again for this great book
Yes, I did like it. Thank you.
I haven’t yet read any novels specifically about the Bonapartes, however, I am looking forward to this one. Thanks
not anything on Napoleon?
Sadly, I haven’t read a novel or non-fiction tome dedicated solely to the Bonapartes. I’ve read books that included them, though. The little bit I’ve learned has always fascinated me.
a book with Napoleon?
I read conversations with Bonaparte. Fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway.
glad you read that one! good luck for this giveaway
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