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Finding Emilie Paperback – April 12, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439197660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439197660
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Six days after giving birth to a daughter, Lily, the marquise du Châtelet dies, leaving Lili in the care of her friend Julie, who's just given birth to her own daughter, Delphine. The marquise was noted for her intellect and free spirit (indeed, there are questions as to the identity of Lili's father), two qualities Lili inherits, along with the trouble they cause a young noblewoman navigating the tricky 18th-century court of Louis XV. Eager to determine their own destinies, Lili and Delphine make mistakes and raise many an eyebrow, testing Julie's resolve. Lili protects and defends Delphine, ultimately bringing about the girl's happily ever life, leaving Lily alone to ponder, and soon discover, her own ambiguous identity. Unlike many historicals with "strong" heroines, Delphine and Lili complement and support each other, which deepens them more than enough to make readers care (especially for the strong-willed Lili). And by telling the marquise's story along with her daughter, Lily's, Corona brings a changing world, peopled with fascinating historical figures like Diderot and Voltaire, to vibrant life. (Apr.)
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"Finding Emilie gives us an irrepressible heroine in the young Lili du Châtelet, whose life is full of engrossing surprises, mysterious journeys into old, crumbling French estates... and the rumbling terrors of the French Revolution soon to come.”
—Stephanie Cowell, critically acclaimed author of Claude & Camille

“A remarkable novel.”
—Catherine Delors, author of For the King

“This book captures the spirit of the brilliant but controversial and often scandalous Emilie in her daughter Lili’s own search for truth and happiness.”
—Anne Easter Smith, award-winning author of The King’s Grace

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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All the details were so informative.
Ellen Rees
Interspersed throughout the novel are letters from Emilie to various others and also parts of her story.
If you enjoy Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy, you will love this one!
Mary Bookhounds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Books and Things on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
The first quote in the blurb is a version fictionally written by Lili du Châtelet of the more well known version of Jean-Jacques Rosseau quote: Men are born free and everywhere in chains. This sets the ideals of the child's mother and for Lili's life as well. Emilie du Châtelet was a real person in history who not only studied science and rewrote Neuton's laws so everyone could understand his theories as well as other treatises in physics; but she also lived and encouraged others to live a life true to yourself. Much of this book is based in well researched history. Emilie died shortly after the birth of Lili, the main character of the book, who then died a few days later. The author takes the birth of Lili and changes her outcome. Instead of dying, she lives and does not suffer the fate most likely a child would of that circumstance. Instead of going to a convent, she is adopted of sorts by a close friend to be raised with her child. This book is Lili's fictional story.

I admit when I first started this book the blurb made me think this was a book where the child, Lili, learns of her mother and is besotted by her philosophies. Thinking them through and coming to epiphanies of her own. That is not quite what happened but it came close. We follow Lili through her life. Starting with her childhood and her problems at the convent where she was tutored for her schooling. It was not pleasant for a child full of questions about the world. Luckily being raised by her foster mother who encourages her quick mind she is not beaten down by piety. Instead she is invited to attend the Solon that meets frequently at her house to discuss politics while trying to learn to be a lady worthy of marriage.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Smith on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
In real life, Emilie du Chatelet, married to one man, long-time mistress and friend of Voltaire, gave birth to Stanislas Adelaide (Lili), child of yet another of her affairs, at the age of 43 and died 6 days later from a sudden illness. Lili died before her second birthday.

This novel is a fictionalized account of Lili's life had she lived, growing up with her godmother Julie de Bercy, who was in the house when Emilie died, pregnant with her own daughter Delphine. Her father pays a living stipend, but never visits, and her progress is monitored by her father's sister-in-law, Baronne Lomont, a strict adherent to society's protocols.

Lili is loyal, questing, and intelligent in an age when female intelligence and knowledge is still an affront to a proper society - a society where only the working class, not nobles, pay taxes, and she is shielded from the knowledge of her true parentage and her mother's scandalous life.

Lili's scientific mind and refusal to simply "be satisfied with being ordinary" are at the center of this novel. In her search to find her mother's story, she finds herself as well.

QUOTE: "I've tried to explain to her that her intelligence was charming on a girl, but not in a young lady. I've told her more than once that no man of quality will choose to marry someone whose head is buried in a book all day and every time she insists she'd rather have the book than the man"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Farin on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
It is 1749, and brilliant and scandalous scientist and mathematician Emilie du Châtelet dies suddenly, and only a week after giving birth. Her daughter, Lili, is sent away to be raised by Julie de Bercy and the strict Baronne Lomont. "Finding Emilie" is told through Lili's eyes, and as she navigates through a changing society during the era of the Enlightenment, she discovers her mother's rich intellectual and philosophical legacy and uses it to take hold of her own life.

"Finding Emilie" is my favorite kind of historical fiction novel. Laurel Corona explains in her introduction that her aim as a historical fiction writer is to answer the question of "What might have happened?" while keeping as true to the period as possible, and she does exactly that. The oppression Emilie and Lili felt as intelligent and questioning thinkers in an era where women were expected to be little more than sparkling ornaments was palpable, and I loved the various foils that Ms. Corona created, both human (Lili and her foster sister Delphine, who conformed a bit more to society's expectations) and atmospheric (the rigid atmosphere of the convent vs. the enlightened discussions at Julie de Bercy's salon, the darkness of Baronne Lomont's home vs. the freedom at the Jardin de Roi). The ideas and discoveries of the Enlightenment are introduced into the narrative by the philosophers and scientists themselves, which serves the dual purpose of teaching the reader something new while giving the lesson great context and color. I also liked that Ms. Corona tempered the moments of reversal with the characters' various gains so that I got the feeling of suspense without getting frustrated by a constant storm of bad news.

Lili reminded me a bit of Harry Potter at points.
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Format: Paperback
FINDING EMILIE by Laurel Corona is an interesting historical novel set in 1749 France. It is based on real French people such as Voltaire,LaBarre,Saint_Lambert and Marquins de Chatelet,Emilie,a female mathematician who is not only scandalous but who was also brilliant.This story is se during the French Enlightenment and the pre French
Revolution. It is a complicated story with multiple facet plots including the story of Emilie du Chatelet and her daughter,Lili. Emilie deads right after Lili is born,so Lili is sent to live with a friend of her mother's,but Emilie's husband's sister-in-law is in charge of Lili.Lili's life if full of surprises,mysterious journeys in search of the truth about her mother and her own happiness. In the end she finds she has a lot in common with her mother.She also find a father who is not her father.A father who does't want her,friendships that last a life time,love enduring and happiness. Along the way she learns more about her self and her mother. This is the story of self discovery,tensions of the times,dangerous path between the need to conform,the desire of one's destiny and the journey of one's heart. If you enjoy a good historical novel with facts on historical people,historical times and a great story than you will enjoy this one. Oh,did I forget to mention romance along the way. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at Gallery Books,a division of Simon and Schuster,Inc. and My Book Addiction and More.
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More About the Author

I am the author of PENELOPE'S DAUGHTER (Berkley Books 2010),THE FOUR SEASONS, a novel of Vivaldi's Venice (Hyperion/VOICE 2008), and FINDING EMILIE (S&S/Gallery 2011). I also wrote UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH: A HOLOCAUST STORY OF LOVE AND PARTISAN RESISTANCE (St. Martin's 2008). Please visit my website and blog at, and my special website for PENELOPE'S DAUGHTER, "Xanthe's World," at You can check for appearances in your area at the bottom of this page. I can be reached by e-mail at

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