The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court

The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court Review

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.

Title:The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court
Edition Language:English

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    The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court Reviews

  • Iset

    Full disclosure: I was provided with an Advanced Reader Copy of the book by the publishers.I've read all of Moran's previous novels, and it's been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I didn't like her ancien...

  • Jane

    Where I got the book: electronic ARC from Edelweiss.I don't think I've read a novel about Napoleon (this one doesn't really count) since Désirée , so Moran gets points for tackling what feels to me...

  • Rio (Lynne)

    3.5 StarsI enjoyed this book. Like Moran's other novels, it was easy and light to read. It was full of history, but at the same time not heavily detailed. Moran focused more on the relationships than ...

  • Lois

    This is well written, interesting, well researched and fun. Napoleon and family were very weird....

  • Nikki

    *sigh* It seems as though Michelle Moran's novels are hit or miss for me. I absolutely loved Madame Tussaud and Cleopatra's Daughter, but cared little for Nefertiti or The Heretic Queen. Unfortunately...

  • Brittany B.

    What an incredibly pleasant surprise! I ended up loving this book!I have little interest in Napoleon up till now, but this book has sparked great curiosity. How did this family become so damned dysfun...

  • Yeny

    The Second Empress focused on the last few years of Napoleon’s reign. The author looked at this chaotic period through 3 people with different views – Pauline, Paul and Marie-Louise. After reading...

  • Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*

    Pauline is delusional. I have no words for Napoleon than history hasn't already given him. Maria Lucia is everything and I'm so glad she was able to live her life the way she wanted, in the end. Paul ...

  • MAP

    This book follows the last 6 or so years of Napoleon’s reign, from the point of view of his second wife, his sister, and his sister’s chamberlain. The POVs vary from interesting to boring (Wife->s...

  • Jo Anne B

    The best part of this book was all the history of Napoleon Bonaparte. I think the author lured readers into this book by putting a woman on the front cover but she wasn't even the focus of the book, w...