Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

The Second Empress opens just as Emperor Napoleon is about to divorce his first wife, the Empress Josephine. For his second wife, he chooses the late Marie Antoinette's great-niece Marie-Louise, who is the daughter of the King of Austria.

We hear from Marie, along with Napoleon's sister Pauline, and her Haitian chamberlain Paul Moreau. Each of their narratives are separated by chapters. I found it sort of random that we would hear from the two women who would be closer to Napoleon, and then hear from Paul. However, hearing from someone outside of the Bonaparte family, outside of royalty, was for the reader. He was there to show us what was really going on, which was beneficial, seeing as how Pauline was off her rocker.

Marie was an interesting character. She was just 18 when she became Napoleon's second Empress, and provided him a son within a year. She grew up fast, and matured despite the fact that she hated where she was, and wanted nothing more to return to Austria.

The book read really fast, and was a decent read. I don't know much about the time period, at least about France, so I don't know where liberties were taken. I was put off by some of the Americanisms. Those stuck out like a sore thumb. Anyway, a good book, not spectacular, nothing to rave about.


The Relentless Reader said...

Michelle Moran is hit or miss with me. I haven't read this one yet but I probably will at some point.

Old follower here and now following you on FB and Twitter...

Audra said...

Folks seem to adore Moran's novels so this surprises me -- I had this on my TBR but may bump it off since I've got a metric ton of other books calling to me!

Valinara said...

Many liberties were taken. The character has very few things in common with the historical Marie Louise. The book is entertaining, but should not be taken as an accurate novel about Marie Louise, Napoleon, their era or its people.