Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love by Annemarie Selinko
Sourcebooks Product ISBN: 9781402244025
Price: $16.99, 608 pages
Sourcebooks Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks Landmark, thank you!
To be young, in France, and in love: fourteen year old Desiree can’t believe her good fortune. Her fiance, a dashing and ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte, is poised for battlefield success, and no longer will she be just a French merchant’s daughter. She could not have known the twisting path her role in history would take, nearly breaking her vibrant heart but sweeping her to a life rich in passion and desire.
A love story, but so much more, Désirée explores the landscape of a young heart torn in two, giving readers a compelling true story of an ordinary girl whose unlikely brush with history leads to a throne no one would have expected.
An epic bestseller that has earned both critical acclaim and mass adoration, Désirée is at once a novel of the rise and fall of empires, the blush and fade of love, and the heart and soul of a woman.
Désirée, a last work written by Austrian novelist Annemarie Selinko and first published in 1951, was a New York Times Bestseller, being translated into 25 different languages as well as being made into an American movie in 1954. Sourcebooks Landmark has reissued the wonderful historical for new generations this October and I really enjoyed the insider's view Napoleon's personal life through the eyes of his first love, a young girl Eugénie Clary, who preferred to be called Désirée.
Désirée, the daughter of a silk merchant, and Napoleon first meet when he is a poor soldier and she is fourteen; they become betrothed soon after but abide her mother's wishes to wait to marry until she is sixteen. Unfortunately, the wait becomes too much as the ambitious Napoleon instead becomes engaged to a richer and more notable lady, whom we know as Empress Josephine. The young Désirée is shocked at the betrayal and we become sympathetic to her plight of lost first love, but we are hopeful for Désirée's future as her life moves on.