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The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court (Napoleon's Court Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Michelle Moran
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.83
You Save: $5.17 (34%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

National bestselling author Michelle Moran returns to Paris, this time under the rule of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte as he casts aside his beautiful wife to marry a Hapsburg princess he hopes will bear him a royal heir
   After the bloody French Revolution, Emperor Napoleon’s power is absolute. When Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old daughter of the King of Austria, is told that the Emperor has demanded her hand in marriage, her father presents her with a terrible choice: marry the cruel, capricious Napoleon, leaving the man she loves and her home forever, or say no, and plunge her country into war.
   Marie-Louise knows what she must do, and she travels to France, determined to be a good wife despite Napoleon’s reputation. But lavish parties greet her in Paris, and at the extravagant French court, she finds many rivals for her husband’s affection, including Napoleon’s first wife, Joséphine, and his sister Pauline, the only woman as ambitious as the emperor himself. Beloved by some and infamous to many, Pauline is fiercely loyal to her brother. She is also convinced that Napoleon is destined to become the modern Pharaoh of Egypt. Indeed, her greatest hope is to rule alongside him as his queen—a brother-sister marriage just as the ancient Egyptian royals practiced. Determined to see this dream come to pass, Pauline embarks on a campaign to undermine the new empress and convince Napoleon to divorce Marie-Louise. 
   As Pauline’s insightful Haitian servant, Paul, watches these two women clash, he is torn between his love for Pauline and his sympathy for Marie-Louise. But there are greater concerns than Pauline’s jealousy plaguing the court of France. While Napoleon becomes increasingly desperate for an heir, the empire’s peace looks increasingly unstable. When war once again sweeps the continent and bloodshed threatens Marie-Louise’s family in Austria, the second Empress is forced to make choices that will determine her place in history—and change the course of her life. 
   Based on primary resources from the time, The Second Empress takes readers back to Napoleon’s empire, where royals and servants alike live at the whim of one man, and two women vie to change their destinies.

Editorial Reviews


"Moran has once again proven her skills as a mesmerizing storyteller with The Second Empress. She gathers her readers into the heart of the story and takes them on an adventure into a world where most would never dare venture. Moran's characters are engaging and her use of historical facts, bits and pieces of correspondence and ephemera tie this story together to create a fascinating tale that won't soon be forgotten.”  
Times Record News

“Stunning in form, theme, and plot. . . Don’t hesitate to purchase this beautifully written gem, which is certain to shoot to the top of the charts, if not start a craze for everything Moran.”
—Library Journal

“Colorful… [a] nicely crafted work of historical fiction.”
Romantic Times

Red Hot Book of the Week, “Michelle Moran is beloved by readers of historical fiction for her lively and well-researched novels. . . Marie-Louise may be the character that readers will love, but it is Pauline they will love to hate. . . Moran describes the end of Napoleon's empire in vivid, realistic terms. She wastes no time attempting to make the reader sympathetic for the megalomaniac Napoleon, instead providing compelling -- if not always entirely likable -- characters who must make difficult choices: What is the best way to be loyal to one's family? When does self-respect and self-worth require giving up the person you love?”

“Compelling fiction. . . Ostensibly the portrait of Marie-Louise of Austria, who became Napoleon’s second wife, the novel’s title could as easily apply to the emperor’s sister, Pauline. . . Another enjoyable historical from Moran.”
Publishers Weekly

“This book covers the last six years of Napoleon’s reign… If you like French history you will enjoy this novel.”
British Weekly

“The Second Empress is a masterful work of fiction portraying the little known history of Napoleon’s desperate attempt to acquire an heir… The Second Empress is another wonderful read by a fantastic author.”

From the Inside Flap


Product Details

  • File Size: 2027 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857388606
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IM12T6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,004 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't read it for accurate history September 16, 2012
After finishing Michelle Moran's fantastic novel of the French Revolution, Madame Tussaud, I did something I very rarely do: I immediately put another of her books on hold at the library. Usually I like to space out an author's novels, as I get bored with reading similar works close together; but that particular book was such a treat that I could not resist one more of her offerings before I dove back into another busy school year. To say that I am disappointed in Ms. Moran's latest release, the story of Marie Louise, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, would be a serious understatement. It barely made three stars for me.

All of the elements that made Madame Tussaud so powerful are seen only in bare glimpses in this novel-in fact, when they shimmered around the edges of the prose I only felt more frustrated by Moran's inability to adequately develop them here. For instance, character development. To use Napoleon as an example-courtiers were endlessly talking about his personality and actions, as opposed to writing more actual scenes in which he appeared and showing him for what he was. This book, like her previous novel, uses multiple narrators. Personally, I would have given Napoleon a voice, in order to flesh out his relationship with Marie Louise more fully and show us their interactions from his perspective. One narrator, Paul, Pauline Bonaparte's chamberlain, seemed a very unnecessary voice to me, and I could have done without his viewpoint. By the time I finished Tussaud I cared about those people, because Moran had woven me into their psyches, but with this book, the writing just felt like tabloid gossip which never drew me into caring about the characters as human beings.

Her handling of the setting left me feeling similarly flat.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Napoleon's final years. July 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE SECOND EMPRESS covers the last six years of Napoleon's reign and specifically touches on his relationships with his second wife, Maria-Lucia of Austria and his sister, Pauline. It is told through the alternating voices of Maria-Lucia, Pauline, and Pauline's chamberlain, Paul Moreau who came to serve her after Haiti was freed from French rule. According to the author's historical notes, the novel is based almost entirely in fact from letters and memoirs that were written by Napoleon and the people around him.

The novel begins just after Napoleon's divorce from his one great love, Josephine, who he has discovered has been having an affair and who has been unable to give him an heir. He takes the opportunity to legitimize his rule by marrying into royal blood and chooses Maria-Lucia, Princess of Austria, to be his bride. She does not want to go, but he blackmails her by threatening to depose her father, the king, if she refuses to become his wife. And so Maria-Lucia unwillingly travels to France to face not only the petulant and grandiose emperor, but his vain and equally grandiose sister. There, she is given everything she might desire in exchange for giving Napoleon a child. Pauline is incredibly jealous of Marie-Louise (her name has been changed by Napoleon to sound more French) as her ambition is to rule alongside Napoleon as his consort, just as Egyptian brothers and sisters did. She is self-centered and mentally unstable, but does as her brother orders and tolerates having Marie-Louise in the palace.

Marie-Louise has been in love with Adam Neipperg, an Austrian Count for many years and is heartbroken to leave him behind, but he, along with her father, promises to come for her.
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55 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Cover Version of the National Enquirer August 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoy historical fiction when it is well-written and, above all, well-researched. Because I am a historian with a specialty in the French Revolution and Napoleonic era, the kind that teaches college classes, and writes books and articles with lots of endnotes and bibliographies, reading historical fiction is a pleasure. However, I generally avoid books about the Revolution and Napoleon because I'm hypercritical and tend to throw them against the wall or in the garbage at the first sign of a factually challenged scene. So why did I read this one? I read it because the reviews were amazing, most of them, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

The fuss, unfortunately, was about nothing at all. This book can be charitably described as the National Enquirer version of the brief life of an utterly forgettable Austrian teenager who married into a Corsican mafia clan, whose don was a misogynist with no manners and an ego the size of Mars, and whose female family members were casting extras from Jersey Shore.

If Moran had stated her objective in the beginning of this book, rather than in the completely misleading "Historical Note" at the end, I still might have saved my time and money. She states she is harsh in her treatment of Napoleon because "the evidence warrants it," and that "even the most outrageous aspects of this book were taken from primary sources." I do not believe Moran would recognize a real primary source if she met it in a well-lit room, and she certainly does not have the ability to discern which sources, primary or otherwise, are credible and which are not. She cites memoirs by Marie-Louise, who never wrote any herself, Hortense de Beauharnais, who never wrote anything herself, and Napoleon, who certainly never wrote his memoirs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I enjoyed reading this book. I learned new things about this time of history.I will read more books about this time period.
Published 21 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
A truly engaging historical novel, embellished with larger than life characters! I greatly enjoyed the play of intriguing history with engaging fictional.
Published 23 days ago by Amber Creighton
4.0 out of 5 stars Ver nice read
Great book! I really enjoyed reading it. It made me want to study up on this time in history. Can't say it is 100% accurate. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Michelle Moran is my favorite author. This isn't her best novel, but it's certainly enjoyable.
Published 2 months ago by ColHil
4.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable read
This was a multiple perspective book done right. I really enjoyed reading this to gain some historical perspective while having a good story alongside.
Published 2 months ago by Nicole Grams
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
book's in excellent shape
Published 3 months ago by Indra Ferrara
3.0 out of 5 stars The second empress
Not my favorite time period to read but was an enjoyable book and well written. I was more interested knowing the Empress was Marie Antoinette's ancestor.
Published 3 months ago by PBJ0721
5.0 out of 5 stars Regardless it remained near the top of my want-to-read pile simply...
FULL DISCLOSURE: Random House mailed me a free uncorrected proof copy of this book before it was released. It sat on my shelf for a couple of years before I read it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. Golla
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
my daughter enjoys the series
Published 4 months ago by charlesranneyIII
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love anything by Michelle Moran.
Published 5 months ago by V
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More About the Author

Michelle Moran was born in southern California. After attending Pomona College, she earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher, Michelle used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, Madame Tussaud, and The Second Empress. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, and in 2011, her fourth book, Madame Tussaud, was optioned for a mini-series. Recently, Michelle was married in India, and it is no coincidence that her next two books will be set in the East.

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