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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte Paperback – December 2, 2013
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"This is a laudable work from Chatlien. Her writing resonates with elegance, yet is simple and clear. It is easy to become absorbed in this well-written historical novel."(5 stars) -- Lit Amri for Reader's Favorite
Meticulously researched, engrossing in detail, and full of the customs, values, and prejudices of the era, Chatlien's novel brings to life crucial moments in history alongside Betsy's quest for recognition.... A solid example of its genre, this account of one woman's stubborn determination will appeal to romance aficionados and historical devotees alike.
The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is well crafted and the research into the life and times of Betsy Patterson is quite good. Author Ruth Hull Chatlien covers early American history, from Baltimore to Niagara Falls,... Between the War of 1812, the Napoleonic Wars and other Waterloo, there is plenty happening around Betsy. She is an engaging character, though flawed in her pursuit of being royalty in more than just name. Overall, the book is an enjoyable look at an active period of American history from a different perspective than one usually finds.
I highly recommend this book as a wonderful historical read, which like a fine art painting, will be an asset to your shelf of favorite French book collections. Such an amazing book rich with details and another to add to the list of book that speak to the amazing, almost forgotten women of the past.
About the Author
KIRKUS REVIEWS, kirkusreviews.com
Chatlien’s debut historical fiction celebrates the drive and desires of the real-life Betsy Patterson, a Baltimore merchant’s daughter who married a Bonaparte.
As a child and young woman, Betsy Patterson was precocious, lovely, dismissive of America and not terribly eager to sit around and do what she was told. Of her American suitors, she laments, “Marriage to any one of them would sentence me to a life...bearing child after child until my mind is rusted from disuse.” When a European lieutenant comes to Baltimore, Betsy finds love and opportunity—the lieutenant is, after all, Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s youngest brother. The two wed, but when Napoleon refuses to acknowledge the marriage, which may hinder the potential for political alliances, the newly minted Madame Bonaparte discovers that a court life is not so easily attainable for an American girl. Her ambition doesn’t subside, however. Instead, it underlies her new mission to receive recognition of her union, which means pitting herself against the most powerful man in the world. “Napoleon dismissed me as expendable because I am American and a woman,” she says. “Someday I will make him see that he was wrong on both counts.” Betsy is a captivating heroine whose independence and intelligence are given their proper due in Chatlien’s novel. Against the backdrop of world events, such as the battle at Waterloo and the War of 1812, Betsy fights her own, smaller battles, ignoring censure from her stern father and other compatriots who criticize her tenacity and her scandalous French fashions. Her story has suspense, a rapidly moving plot and rich details of 19th-century life, from quotidian tasks to grand parties with Dolley and James Madison at the Presidential Mansion.…It undoubtedly offers compelling insights into the minds of real, deeply engrossing individuals.
A fascinating account of one woman’s fight to defiantly stray from her predetermined path.
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Paperback : 495 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1937484165
- ISBN-13 : 978-1937484163
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.12 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Amika Press (December 2, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,573,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Editing for spelling was good, some books are really poor and irritating in this area. This book was fairly decent in this area which I appreciate.
Top reviews from other countries
Most people have heard of Napoléon, but I had no idea he came from such a large family. Not surprisingly, he tried to ensure all his siblings made suitable matches for the benefit of France, although I was surprised when I was reading this book, as to the lengths he went to gain them. Having never heard of Jérôme & Elizabeth, I actually googled their backgrounds/ futures while I was reading this book (quite late on to be honest) as I couldn’t believe the things they did or were forced to overcome.
Elizabeth Patterson meets Jérome, Napoleon’s youngest brother when he travels to America. They are both immediately drawn to each other, & I do believe that they really did love each other despite their age. Unfortunately, Jerome is so determined to marry her, that he lies about his age, & this later causes problems for the young couple when they try to get his family to accept their marriage.
Elizabeth was determined to realise her ambitions & dreams (as part of being an European royalty), & she really never gave up on this dream, even trying to force it upon their young son. She loved him so much, that I was disappointed with his behaviour when I learnt what he did to avoid his mother’s anger & disappointment. However, at times I did feel that she let her enjoyment of life in Europe get in the way; she did break her promises to return to him.
I didn’t like her father, William. I couldn’t decide whether he was trying to secure & safeguard his daughter’s future or not. He had a “contract” drawn up for the marriage that would seem to protect her, but then he bore a grudge against her when she spent so much of his money while in England. How he treated her (& her mother) was despicable, especially filling her son’s head with ideas that she was against (their lies towards her while she was in Europe).
In the end, I did not like Jérôme as he was rather weak & refused to stand up against Napoléon regarding his marriage. I do believe they probably would not have been happy together in the long term, but they were never really given that chance. He had a fanciful outlook of life, liking the better things in life & living beyond his means. Whether being forced to annul his marriage to the woman he loved, pushed him over the edge, or not, I couldn’t say. He was however a rather selfish man & king.
This book is very long & there are so many characters; I struggled to remember who was who! I think it would have been nice to have had a family tree of both the Patterson’s & the Bonaparte’s. There are lots & lots of period details, confirming just how much research the author went into writing this novel. I think it was a job well done!
An interesting book.