Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Historical Novel Society's Review of TWO EMPRESSES



Here is the Historical Novel Society's review of TWO EMPRESSES:

Multiple vivid worlds exist within this story that begins on Martinique, the lush tropical island home of cousins Rose and Aimee, who are both young daughters of French plantation owners. Despite their quite different personalities, destiny looms large for each of them. The voodoo priestess they sneak out in the middle of the night to visit, reads their palms and presages that each girl will be an empress and live in a magnificent palace. Rose giddily embraces the prophecy and dismisses the warnings of sadness and despair that accompanied it, while Aimee disregards the fortune telling entirely.

The action moves to a wintery Paris when Rose arrives there for an arranged marriage with a handsome aristocrat. After he leaves her, Rose, reckless and spendthrift, shifts for herself in high society as a courtesan. Her star rises and falls with a series of lovers. However, even in prison during the French Revolution, she clings to believing she will be an empress. The reign of terror ends, and circumstances propel Rose toward her destiny through an introduction to Napoleon Bonaparte, who loves her obsessively and changes her name to Josephine.

Aimee, the younger cousin, attends convent school in Paris without ever seeing Rose. And when the revolution begins her worried parents insist she return home; her ship never reaches port. Instead, she ends up in Constantinople living in the exotic and treacherous environment of the Sultan of Turkey’s harem. Once she understands her circumstances, Aimee reflects on the prophecy, which manifests in a curious way when she becomes Nakshidil.


First-person narrative captures the dramatic whirl of activity and emotions that Josephine experiences, and conveys Nakshidil’s less impulsive but equally intense thoughts and feelings. This lavish, engrossing yarn embraces legend as well as fact.

1 comment:

Carole Rae said...

This sounds like a good one! :D