The Second Empress is the story of an ambitious Emperor and the women who surround him during a volatile time in French history.
Since I was a teenager, I have had an infatuation with the love affair that was Napoleon and Josephine. I have read many books that contain their love letters and have found them and their story fascinating. I never gave much thought to the other women in his life. This book brought those women to light.
Told from various character perspectives, all of which are outstanding, the Second Empress, Marie-Louise, comes to the foreground in this sweeping tale.
Pauline, Napoleon’s sister, is a constant in his life. Someone he turns to and that is faithful to him to a fault. Josephine, cast aside for want of an heir to the throne, remains his one true love. Marie-Louise, the Second Empress, comes to him, bound by duty to her own family, never to love or even respect the man who seeks to control all of Europe.
The author does a tremendous job mixing history and storytelling to weave an intricate tale spanning the last 6 years of Napoleon’s reign. The pace is quick which made it a fast read I had a hard time setting aside. Sometimes, with historical novels, too much detail weighs the story down. Not in this case. The author does a wonderful job giving enough detail to make the story come to life and uses enough discretion not to cause an overkill of the senses. The reader gets a sense of who these people are, where they have come from and where they are going and why.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, this one is a must read!!!!
This book was provided for review by Netgalley.