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The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

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The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

February 2020

I confess that I never thought I would love a book where the protagonist was the one-time lover of Napoleon, who went on to become the queen of Sweden. I never hearkened to this particular time period, perhaps due to too many quizzes and tests in high school and college that made history into a series of facts, and not a lot of fun. Well, those attitudes rapidly changed after reading THE QUEEN’S FORTUNE; I was equally impressed with Allison Pataki’s eye for detail as I was with her beautiful prose. She had me completely caught up in the story of Desiree Clary --- and the crazy world that surrounded Napoleon.

While Napoleon was out pillaging and plundering his way across what we now know as Europe, he also was intent on a parallel goal --- an heir. To him, the world he amassed would only matter if he had someone to leave it to. Desiree is witness to both sides of Napoleon: the conqueror and the person who desires a legacy. Early on, she is swept aside for a much older woman, one who brings with her a tangled history of men, but does not bear him a child.

Meanwhile, Desiree marries Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who is a rival and a foe to Napoleon. Through him, she has a front-row seat to what Napoleon builds…and destroys --- both the cities and the relationships in his life. When she is sent to Sweden to live with Bernadotte, she will escape the cunning, wrath and irrationality of Napoleon and find herself in a world where she and her family can thrive --- a place where her influence can be seen even today through the dynasty that was created during her time.

The details are positively cinematic, and the writing is powerful. Book clubs would have a great discussion about it.

The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire
by Allison Pataki

  • Publication Date: February 11, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0593128184
  • ISBN-13: 9780593128183