Desiree Clary a daughter of Marseilles merchant catches the eye of a young General Napoleon Bonaparte. They fall in love and dream of a future together. When Napoleon is summoned to Paris they begin to exchange romantic letters. However, after a few months, Desiree feels those letters grow colder and the rumors about Napoleon’s new love interest Josephine de Beauharnais are the talk on every social event. Heartbroken and devastated Desiree tries to move on and forget about her first love. She can’t imagine falling in love again. But the meeting with a handsome star general Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte changes the course of her life completely. Soon she finds herself in the middle of a political rivalry between her husband and Napoleon. The dark times of the Revolution are gone, but there are new times for France led by a charming and dangerous General Bonaparte.
France had been a fickle companion to both my husband and me, hadn’t she? France was a changeling–constantly shifting on us, swerving just when we felt as though perhaps we might finally have a sure footing underneath.
I enjoyed this novel, it was very eventful and emotional. Desiree was the witness to all the events that happened during this time period. The story focuses mainly on Desiree’s life and feelings but there were a lot of details on Napoleon’s character and his relationship with Josephine. I liked Desiree’s character and sympathized with her almost throughout the entire novel. Her story was fascinating and very moving. Her character developed very well, she grew from a young and naïve girl into a wise and strongminded woman. The story got more interesting from the point when she met Bernadotte, who was, by the way, my favorite character. His loyalty to France and to the people is admirable and the way he put the country’s interests before his ambitions are amazing. I preferred these qualities to egocentrism and arrogance of Napoleon. I was definitely on his side on the political scheme. This book proved to me once again that I’m never going to like Napoleon. Overall it was a good and interesting novel. I was reading some books about the French Revolution lately, so this was a good look into what happened after.