Friday, July 4, 2014
"The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte", by Ruth Hull Chatlien
When Betsy met Jerome Bonaparte (Napoleon’s younger brother) all that mattered was marrying him hence it was her chance to fulfill her long-time dream but unfortunately Emperor Napoleon, rejected her American background and never approved of their union. No matter how many obstacles she faced, Betsy never gave up on having her marriage recognized and be part of the distinguished family. She was certainly a rebel for her time so determined she drove herself and everyone around her mad.
Betsy was known for her beauty and to have scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions, to have dine and dance with presidents, visited Niagara Falls, survived cross ocean travels during blockades , lived through the Battle of Baltimore and has spent many years living in Europe.
This novel is truly a wonderful entertainment, well written and offers more than a textbook story. The author brought to life a rich tapestry of known figures and has remained as true as possible to historical events. Created in this drama is a nuance portrayal of a life focused of romance and injustice, vanity, ambition and obsession with rank. Some reader will want to shake Betsy, I know I did. Although the name Bonaparte was my biggest draw to this novel I was pleasantly surprised how interesting every part of this story was. It is evident Ms.Chatlien did a lot of detailed period research before penning this story down and unraveling in an interesting matter a part of history and bringing to life a personage I knew little of.
Once the first page read it was a hard novel to put aside it was just that captivating. Well done.