The Queen's Fortune
A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleon’s heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of history—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi.As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and it’s fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister Julie marries his brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon’s futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying courtship that leads to a secret engagement, they vow to meet in the capital once his career has been secured. But her newly laid plans with Napoleon turn to sudden heartbreak, thanks to the rising star of Parisian society, Josephine de Beauharnais. Once again, Desiree’s life is turned on its head.Swept to the glittering halls of the French capital, Desiree is plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling class, becoming further entangled with Napoleon, his family, and the new Empress. But her fortunes shift once again when she meets Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. As the two men in Desiree’s life become political rivals and military foes, the question that arises is: must she choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation and its Emperor?From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris and Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of the rise and fall of an empire, navigating a constellation of political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Emerging from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts and her heart.Allison Pataki’s meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire.

The Queen's Fortune Details

TitleThe Queen's Fortune
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherBallantine Books
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult

The Queen's Fortune Review

  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestThis is a trashy work of historical fiction that will appeal to readers who like Philippa Gregory, although I'm not sure how closely it ought to be taken at face value. Most of the book consists of Desiree's amusing but cliched "Mean Girls"-style rivalry with Josephine, and alternately waxing prolific about her husband, Bernadotte's, tall, slender figure and tatted chest, while also pining or despairing over Napoleon and wondering What Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestThis is a trashy work of historical fiction that will appeal to readers who like Philippa Gregory, although I'm not sure how closely it ought to be taken at face value. Most of the book consists of Desiree's amusing but cliched "Mean Girls"-style rivalry with Josephine, and alternately waxing prolific about her husband, Bernadotte's, tall, slender figure and tatted chest, while also pining or despairing over Napoleon and wondering What Could Have Been. I will give this author some credit, though, in that this is the first Napoleonic-era book I read that paints Josephine as a catty, pathetic woman. Sandra Gulland this is not.Desiree Clary is a noblewoman who married one of Napoleon's first commands and ultimately ended up becoming ruler of Sweden at the side of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, later Carl Johan. I had never heard about these historical figures before so it was interesting to learn about a piece of history that I had never learned about before. Napoleon, in this book, deflowers her and promises to marry her, but Desiree learns the sad lesson of historical women everywhere that unless you can get him to put a ring on it first, men are lying liars who lie and don't want to buy the cow when there's free milk, etc.He cavorts around with Josephine, shoving her in Desiree's face at various parties while friendzoning Desiree hard. Meanwhile, Desiree's sister, Julie, is married to the hot, non-insane Napoleon brother, Joseph. Desiree, on the other hand, is only saved from marrying some old guy when he keels over from stroke. Jean-Baptiste seems like a pretty good alternative by comparison but when his relationship sours, Desiree and Jean-Baptiste's position in Napoleon's increasingly power-hungry attempts at coup become tenuous, and it starts to feel like the Revolution all over again.As I said, this is pretty light reading. I'm not sure how much artistic liberties were taken with the story-- my guess is a lot. I do think the Philippa Gregory comparison is apt, because much of the focus is on relationship drama, as well as fashion porn, and it definitely feels like something that was written with the attempt to titillate. If you're into bodice-rippers and don't care whether your historical reading is frothy (as I don't), you'll probably enjoy this book. I have the flu right now, and it was the perfect thing to read while wrapped in two robes, a bowl of seasoned bone broth and Earl Grey with lemon and honey at my side. I could concentrate on the story without tripping over the details. Fun.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!     3.5 to 4 stars
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    I was absolutely mesmerized by the historical figure Desiree Clary Bernadette, and I cannot wait to share her story with you in February 2020!
  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Set during a rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.Desiree Clary was the first fiancé of Napoleon and later became the Queen of Sweden.Overshadowed by history, this book sheds a light on her life.Marseille, France, 1794: During the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, when in need, Desiree meets Joseph Bonaparte. He is interested in pursuing her, but when she meets his younger brother Napoleon, she is intrigued with the rough-mannered but well-read and brisk Napoleon rather than the handsome Set during a rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.Desiree Clary was the first fiancé of Napoleon and later became the Queen of Sweden.Overshadowed by history, this book sheds a light on her life.Marseille, France, 1794: During the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, when in need, Desiree meets Joseph Bonaparte. He is interested in pursuing her, but when she meets his younger brother Napoleon, she is intrigued with the rough-mannered but well-read and brisk Napoleon rather than the handsome and funny Joseph. Credited with averting a civil war, Napoleon is appointed Commander of the Army of the Interior. As he rises through the leadership of the army in Paris, his letters to Desiree dwindle with each day.From a Parisian journal, she learns about Napoleon courting Josephine de Beauharnais. And if that wasn’t insulting enough, Napoleon corners Desiree to marry a much older man. Duphot proposal is simply jaw-dropping. “Was the man proposing marriage or discussing the pragmatic exchange of market goods?” Stunning and yet so real of the time-period.But it is Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte that captures her heart.While Napoleon leads his troops in Egypt, the situation at home goes from bad to worse. People continue to be hungry and unhappy. It seems as not much has changed since the time of the last king and queen. There is a talk of overthrow. The government is teetering on collapse. “All of Paris is on edge with rumors of riots.”And Napoleon comes through again as a man who knows when and how to capture the moment for his advancement. He captures, yet again, the crumbling power.Paris, 1810: It comes as a surprise to Desiree and her husband to be offered a Swedish crown. But it makes sense for Swedes to align themselves with Napoleon against such power as Russia.The story very well captures the violent times and uncertain days of the time period and gives a good outline of the rise and fall of Napoleon. And the hypocrisy of going back to the tradition of coronation and to the ancient tradition of great men being called the Marshals of France, bestowing names of royalty, which was supposed to be gone.The historical background is like a rich cake with devouring layers. You bite into it slowly to savor its richness. Josephine had too much sugar, so she hides her brown teeth behind the sealed smiling lips. Her feet dressed in sandals instead of being fully covered is simply shocking. In setting new fashion, Josephine is not to wear muslin anymore as it’s made in India, which is a British colony. She is to wear silk and satin made only in France. Hmm, sounds as history likes to repeat itself. Even countess Marie Walewska makes a short appearance. The teeny-tiny details are marvelous.As well as engrossing presentation of feelings between Napoleon and Josephine, and how different Desiree’s feelings were. The drama of Napoleon’s family, mother and sisters, not accepting his wife. And later the erratic outbursts of Napoleon toward his wife. It’s all so real.Fully developed characters are intriguing: some very well-mannered and some simply don’t care how they come across. Some fear bad times, but they know how to cherries the good times and others simply complain and argue about everything and everywhere. Some are vigorously ambitious and some think the life should hand them entitlements on a silver plate.In summary, masterfully written and richly imagined, the story captures the rich history of the France’s turbulent times, textured with fascinating characters, who captivate with their raw feelings.The stunning and impeccable prose is a hook from the first lines of the first page. “When the snow falls at midnight, blanketing the empty cobbled streets, sugaring the gothic bell tower of the Storkyrkan church, it becomes easy to imagine. For me, a girl from the south, where the breeze carried with it the warm seaside brine and the faint scent of the hillside lemon groves, the sudden appearance of these white flecks never fails to dazzle and disorient.”@FB/BestHistoricalFiction
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    I was absolutely mesmerized by the historical figure Desiree Clary Bernadotte. I can’t wait to share her story with you in February 2020!
  • Kristina McMorris
    January 1, 1970
    An enthralling story that also taught me an enormous amount about figures and pieces of history I had no idea about -- the best kind of historical fiction! I was thrilled to provide a quote: “Allison Pataki is a masterful historical author at the top of her game. From the very first lyrical lines of The Queen’s Fortune, I was wholly swept into the entrancing world of Desiree Clary Bernadotte. Painstaking research and page-turning prose placed me directly at the side of this remarkable yet An enthralling story that also taught me an enormous amount about figures and pieces of history I had no idea about -- the best kind of historical fiction! I was thrilled to provide a quote: “Allison Pataki is a masterful historical author at the top of her game. From the very first lyrical lines of The Queen’s Fortune, I was wholly swept into the entrancing world of Desiree Clary Bernadotte. Painstaking research and page-turning prose placed me directly at the side of this remarkable yet lesser-known figure, journeying from innocent girlhood to seasoned royalty, a survivor of guillotine threats, palace politics, and strains of the heart. I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end.”
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    This book — one of those stories that sates my thoughts and transports me to the past, when a young Corsican was breaking hearts and climbing the ranks of the French army, soon to be Emperor of France.The narrator isDésiréeClary, one-time fiancée of Bonaparte. Désirée begins her story as a young girl of privilege, daughter of a wealthy silk merchant, to Queen consort of Sweden and Norway. Because Clary despised life at court, she is not an up-front-in-your-face figure in history. Make no This book — one of those stories that sates my thoughts and transports me to the past, when a young Corsican was breaking hearts and climbing the ranks of the French army, soon to be Emperor of France.The narrator is Désirée Clary, one-time fiancée of Bonaparte. Désirée begins her story as a young girl of privilege, daughter of a wealthy silk merchant, to Queen consort of Sweden and Norway. Because Clary despised life at court, she is not an up-front-in-your-face figure in history. Make no mistake, Clary was a prominent member of royal circles. There's no doubt she was witness to historical moments such as the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Empress Josephine. Clary's life would have intersected with the Bonaparte's often, leaving her privy to all the juicy gossip of palace life. Allison Pataki uses her well researched knowledge to create a relationship between two women who loved Napoleon but ultimately lost him to war and the unquenchable thirst for control. Of course, there's so much more to this story than the relationship between Désirée and Josephine. Pataki explores all aspects of Clary's long life. From her devotion to her sister Julie (married to Napoleon's brother, Joseph), her marriage to the French general Jean Bernadotte (later crowned Charles XIV John, King of Sweden and Norway), her role as messenger/influencer between Bernadotte and Bonaparte, and as a loving mother to her only child, (the future Oscar I of Sweden). Pataki focuses on a woman who appears to have enjoyed life behind the scenes, content to let others shine. However, it is her bloodline that outshines even an Emperor. Napoleon Bonaparte may be a great figure in history, known by most, but it is Clary's House of Bernadotte that still rules today.I loved this book. I loved this book. I loved this book! So much history. Such fascinating subjects."The World is made for the bold impious man; Who stops at nothing, seizes all he can." — John Dryden's Aurengzebe (1676)*ARC copy courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group. Comments are my own.
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  • Sofia
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book immensely. Judging by the synopsis, I first thought that there was more invention than truth to this story. I was amazed to learn that I was wrong. Desiree Clary's journey from a fatherless 16 year old girl in France to becoming the Queen of Sweden and all of the events in between was a fascinating tale. There was more politics in this book than I cared for, but at the same time, learning more about France and the Revolution couldn't hurt. Overall a great read. Thanks to I enjoyed this book immensely. Judging by the synopsis, I first thought that there was more invention than truth to this story. I was amazed to learn that I was wrong. Desiree Clary's journey from a fatherless 16 year old girl in France to becoming the Queen of Sweden and all of the events in between was a fascinating tale. There was more politics in this book than I cared for, but at the same time, learning more about France and the Revolution couldn't hurt. Overall a great read. Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    The Queen’s Fortune by Allison Pataki is an amazing, epic, and thrilling historical fiction piece that tells the story of the very interesting woman, Desiree Clary Bernadotte. I have to admit upfront that whe I know qyuite a bit of Russian and English history, I know less about French history. Ms Pataki is very talented in that she was able to weave together an amazing story of a woman that was involved with so many important moments in history, yet was under the radar for a majority of them. I The Queen’s Fortune by Allison Pataki is an amazing, epic, and thrilling historical fiction piece that tells the story of the very interesting woman, Desiree Clary Bernadotte. I have to admit upfront that whe I know qyuite a bit of Russian and English history, I know less about French history. Ms Pataki is very talented in that she was able to weave together an amazing story of a woman that was involved with so many important moments in history, yet was under the radar for a majority of them. I absorbed every hard-fought and well-researched tidbit, devouring each page with fascination. This novel is clearly well-researched and written with a respect that should make any family proud.I loved Desiree and because of Ms Pataki, I am searching for more on this fascinating woman of history, as well as addition information on the history of the rich nations of France and Sweden. This novel is a triumph and I loved every breathtaking moment of it. A true gem. Ms Pataki has a great gift. 5/5 stars enthusiastically Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this amazing ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.I am submitting this review to my GR account immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Bookbub, and B&N accounts upon publication.Thank you again!
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Author Allison Pataki has done it again. Telling the story of Desiree Clary, who almost became Napoleon Bonaparte's wife before being spurned by him in favor of Josephine de Beauharnais. She later marries his confidant and star general and the two men become rivals. A blurb describes this book as "meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined" - which perfectly describes the wonderful weaving of fact and fiction in this story, the sign of the best historical fiction writers. Pataki's style is Author Allison Pataki has done it again. Telling the story of Desiree Clary, who almost became Napoleon Bonaparte's wife before being spurned by him in favor of Josephine de Beauharnais. She later marries his confidant and star general and the two men become rivals. A blurb describes this book as "meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined" - which perfectly describes the wonderful weaving of fact and fiction in this story, the sign of the best historical fiction writers. Pataki's style is smooth and vivid, making you feel like you've stepped back in time and you're witnessing the rise, and subsequent fall, of Napoleon right along with main character Desiree.
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  • The Library Lady
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I TRIED to give this the benefit of the doubt, because I'd like to be kind. And perhaps the chutzpah of the author self rating her book a 5 was warranted, because it was that good a book. Never mind that a wonderful classic book had been written about Desiree Clary before. Hell, most of the authors out there right now don't seem to have read a book published before 2010, if that late, in the genre they write. Maybe, just maybe, I'd love it.Sorry, Allison Pataki, no sale.About 40 years ago, Okay, I TRIED to give this the benefit of the doubt, because I'd like to be kind. And perhaps the chutzpah of the author self rating her book a 5 was warranted, because it was that good a book. Never mind that a wonderful classic book had been written about Desiree Clary before. Hell, most of the authors out there right now don't seem to have read a book published before 2010, if that late, in the genre they write. Maybe, just maybe, I'd love it.Sorry, Allison Pataki, no sale.About 40 years ago, shelving books in a small Bronx branch of the NYPL, I came across a book by Annemarie Selinko, probably originally written in German. It was called Desiree: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love, had been published in the 1950s, I think. It was about Eugenie Bernardine Desiree Clary, Napoleon's first love, later by an odd twist of history Queen of Sweden, with descendants on many of the thrones of Europe. It was rich historical fiction. Desiree was a heroine to love, and I loved the book, and in later years, often looked for references to her when I saw books on Napoleon. I still love that book. And I recommend that you run out and see if your library has it. Kindle doesn't have it, but Google Books does, and I plan on buying an ebook copy as well.So what's my problem with this book? Aside from the fact that Allison Pataki doesn't seem to know that this other book exists? That it's not in her bibliography, though she does put in a book by Alexandre Dumas, because she is lame enough to try to link Desiree's husband as Dumas' inspiration for D'Artagnan? That she doesn't even seem aware that there was a frickin' FILM based on Selinko's book, starring Marlon Brando as Napoleon? Yes, I have those problems with this book. But this is what adds true insult to injury:It's just not a very good book, period. Good historical fiction makes a character come alive, and Pataki doesn't seem to have the gift. Selinko's Desiree was endearing--far from a perfect person, but lovable and real. Pataki's Desiree is cardboard. All the other characters are cardboard. Pataki rushes through Desiree's life, leaving little space for any but those main cardboard characters. She is more interested in describing scenery than in adding the small touches that make characters come alive. And we will not get into her use of out of period language-- "I shimmied out of my corset" and "I was rooting for her," are the two that really twanged a nerve in me.In sum, this book doesn't even really deserve the one star I am giving it. And if you want to find out more about Desiree, I suggest that you start with this website, another thing Pataki clearly isn't familiar with: http://www.nebula5.org/clary/person.h...Where the hell did she do her research anyway?P.S. Speaking of research: the story about Jean-Baptiste's tattoo is a fake, and it didn't take me long to "research" that: http://www.faktoider.nu/bernadotte_en...
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  • TAS
    January 1, 1970
    I received early access to this book (scheduled for publication Feb 11, 2020) in exchange for writing an impartial review. I have read nearly all of Allison Pataki’s books and am a huge fan. This one however let me down. It’s not bad; just not up to the standard I’ve come to expect from this author.Three and a half stars is more accurate.What you have here is a truly fascinating character in Desiree Clary, a little known historical figure who survived France’s Reign of Terror, was briefly I received early access to this book (scheduled for publication Feb 11, 2020) in exchange for writing an impartial review. I have read nearly all of Allison Pataki’s books and am a huge fan. This one however let me down. It’s not bad; just not up to the standard I’ve come to expect from this author.Three and a half stars is more accurate.What you have here is a truly fascinating character in Desiree Clary, a little known historical figure who survived France’s Reign of Terror, was briefly engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte, became an attendant to Empress Josephine, and wound up as Queen of Sweden. What Pataki tries to do is flesh out this woman’s remarkable life. But while I agree that Desiree’s life and this historical period are captivating, the narrative didn’t quite hang together as it might have. Certainly there’s plenty of drama to keep you turning the pages. And it certainly begins well enough. Desiree is a child at the start of the book, telling about her experiences of fear and hunger following the French Revolution. Chance brings her into the orbit of Bonaparte, a young, talented, and ambitious soldier with big dreams. He’s unlike anyone else and they become engaged. However, once Femme Fatale Josephine enters the picture, the book seems to shift from Desiree’s first-person viewpoint to that of Desiree as more of an observer, focusing on the story of Bonaparte and Josephine. Theirs is certainly an interesting story. But for me, it’s much more interesting to read historical fiction directly from a participant. Less so when the story is told solely through one character’s observations of others. It’s as though we are suddenly one step removed from the action, with no opportunity for the kind of first hand information that, for example, you can “witness” when a married couple is speaking privately. And while Desiree is busy telling us about the Emperor and his wife, her own life gets much less attention, mostly sidelined.Later, when Bonaparte begins to lose power, we again pick up Desiree’s own more direct story. But shortly thereafter, the narrative starts to skip big chunks of time as we suddenly fly from milestone to milestone in Desiree’s later life. For example, one chapter tells the story of her son’s marriage. The next picks up decades later when it’s time for her husband to die. Then, next section, it’s 16 years later still and Desiree is near death herself. Since the story had been, up to this point, following events quite closely and sequentially, It suddenly felt to me like the narrative had segments dropped. Almost as though once Napoleon and Josephine disappeared, it was time to quickly close Desiree’s story. As though her story didn’t have sufficient merit of its own, once she was no longer in Napoleon’s orbit. If you have an interest in Napoleonic history, you’ll want to read this one. He doesn’t come off as much of a hero. In fact he’s not very likable at all. Nor is Josephine. I just didn’t feel the book did justice to Desiree’s story. And that’s what Pataki said (in the Afterword) that she was trying to do.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    As a child I was fascinated by the romance between Désirée Clary and Napoléon Bonaparte. I had seen it depicted in a film and never forgot it. Over the years I visited her home in Stockholm and named a poodle Désirée. That being said, I was thrilled at the opportunity to read a novel devoted to the tale that was her life. This book certainly did not disappoint me. Pataki was able to flesh out details and bring richness to this life. As a commoner from Marseille, it’s remarkable to think that it As a child I was fascinated by the romance between Désirée Clary and Napoléon Bonaparte. I had seen it depicted in a film and never forgot it. Over the years I visited her home in Stockholm and named a poodle Désirée. That being said, I was thrilled at the opportunity to read a novel devoted to the tale that was her life. This book certainly did not disappoint me. Pataki was able to flesh out details and bring richness to this life. As a commoner from Marseille, it’s remarkable to think that it is her descendants that rule Sweden today, and are connected to most current European royalty. . The connection between the Clarys and Bonapartes is detailed. I truly read with wonder as I saw how these women reached the heights of European nobility. Yes, this is historical fiction, but meticulously researched. It is the kind of book that will help students understand the era of the Napoleonic Wars., and the politics of post-revolution France. I think reading groups will savor this book and there will be discussions about other commoners who ascend to royalty. I thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book about one of the most extraordinary lives ever led.
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  • CR
    January 1, 1970
    This is a pretty light read with a historical flare. I really loved learning more about these characters from history but I am guessing that the author took a lot of creative liberties with them. As I just couldn't see some of this happening etc. The characters were fun to read about and the story was engaging. I think this is one of those titles to pick up read a few chapters then you put it down get some stuff done and come back to it. Its not something your going to read all in one sitting. This is a pretty light read with a historical flare. I really loved learning more about these characters from history but I am guessing that the author took a lot of creative liberties with them. As I just couldn't see some of this happening etc. The characters were fun to read about and the story was engaging. I think this is one of those titles to pick up read a few chapters then you put it down get some stuff done and come back to it. Its not something your going to read all in one sitting. Its something your going to savor over a few days or weeks and take your time with it.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting book about Napoleon's first fiancé, a young girl living in Marseilles. She ultimately becomes Queen of Sweden. I had never heard of this woman, but her life story makes a great historical novel. If you have any interest in French history, you'll want to read this book. It moves along at a good pace, with interesting historical characters, set against the French Revolution and Napoleon's reign.
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    I've always enjoyed both learning about and reading about the French Revolution time period. As a result, Desiree Clary is not an unknown to me. This is the second book I've read about her, and I'll admit that I didn't think it could live up the Annemarie Selinko's Desiree book at first but it really did end up being just as good of a read. The characterizations were excellent as were the historical aspects. The writing style flowed nicely. Desiree was strong willed and an excellent character to I've always enjoyed both learning about and reading about the French Revolution time period. As a result, Desiree Clary is not an unknown to me. This is the second book I've read about her, and I'll admit that I didn't think it could live up the Annemarie Selinko's Desiree book at first but it really did end up being just as good of a read. The characterizations were excellent as were the historical aspects. The writing style flowed nicely. Desiree was strong willed and an excellent character to center a story around given what a unique life she had. Definitely a must read for historical fiction fans!
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  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    Allison Pataki does it again! (but then, I think I say that with each of her books, they are all so good!). Desiree Clary is an important part of Napoleon's life. Perhaps she's his first love, he's certainly hers. She becomes engaged to him early in his career, but he moves on and dumps her as he becomes more and more powerful and marries Joséphine de Beauharnais . But Desiree is no shrinking violet, and when her sister marries Joseph, Napoleon's brother, she can't avoid Napoleon, although she Allison Pataki does it again! (but then, I think I say that with each of her books, they are all so good!). Desiree Clary is an important part of Napoleon's life. Perhaps she's his first love, he's certainly hers. She becomes engaged to him early in his career, but he moves on and dumps her as he becomes more and more powerful and marries Joséphine de Beauharnais . But Desiree is no shrinking violet, and when her sister marries Joseph, Napoleon's brother, she can't avoid Napoleon, although she tries. Eventually she falls in love with and marries Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte who eventually becomes King of Sweden. Desiree is a key player in these times; at once a rival of Empress Josephine but also a confidant and friend. She is a behind the scenes advisor to her husband and to many others, including her brother in law and a skilled navigator of the politically tenuous times. . The Queen's Fortune is a stunning portrait of the most extraordinary woman you never heard of. Wife, mother, political advisor, and queen, the story of Desiree is beyond amazing, from her engagement to Napoleon to her crowning as Queen of Sweden, Desiree is quietly influential across a politically fraught landscape. Her's is a story that very well told in The Queen's Fortune.
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  • Jenny Buchta
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this historical fiction novel about the little-known character, Desiree Clary. While she eventually becomes a queen, she isn’t Napoleon’s queen. I loved how Pataki portrayed the diminutive general, as I can imagine he was a “handful.” Desiree stands out as a level-headed and smart character, while the famous Josephine suffers from her husband’s abusive nature. I recommend reading this one for sure!
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    "The Queen's Fortune" by Allison Pataki is a little slow to start, but once you get into it a bit it is impossible to put down. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon as well as his legacy. We meet Desiree who is at first Napolean's lover and later his sister in law. This book is one that will keep you wondering whst is going to happen next in this tumultuous time in France. I would recommend it to all fans of historical fiction, especially french historical "The Queen's Fortune" by Allison Pataki is a little slow to start, but once you get into it a bit it is impossible to put down. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon as well as his legacy. We meet Desiree who is at first Napolean's lover and later his sister in law. This book is one that will keep you wondering whst is going to happen next in this tumultuous time in France. I would recommend it to all fans of historical fiction, especially french historical fiction. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    Allison Pataki does it again! (but then, I think I say that with each of her books, they are all so good!). Desiree Clary is an important part of Napoleon's life. Perhaps she's his first love, he's certainly hers. She becomes engaged to him early in his career, but he moves on and dumps her as he becomes more and more powerful and marries Joséphine de Beauharnais . But Desiree is no shrinking violet, and when her sister marries Joseph, Napoleon's brother, she can't avoid Napoleon, although she Allison Pataki does it again! (but then, I think I say that with each of her books, they are all so good!). Desiree Clary is an important part of Napoleon's life. Perhaps she's his first love, he's certainly hers. She becomes engaged to him early in his career, but he moves on and dumps her as he becomes more and more powerful and marries Joséphine de Beauharnais . But Desiree is no shrinking violet, and when her sister marries Joseph, Napoleon's brother, she can't avoid Napoleon, although she tries. Eventually she falls in love with and marries Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte who eventually becomes King of Sweden. Desiree is a key player in these times; at once a rival of Empress Josephine but also a confidant and friend. She is a behind the scenes advisor to her husband and to many others, including her brother in law and a skilled navigator of the politically tenuous times. . The Queen's Fortune is a stunning portrait of the most extraordinary woman you never heard of. Wife, mother, political advisor, and queen, the story of Desiree is beyond amazing, from her engagement to Napoleon to her crowning as Queen of Sweden, Desiree is quietly influential across a politically fraught landscape. Her's is a story that very well told in The Queen's Fortune.
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  • Evelyn Dodson
    January 1, 1970
    The book commences just prior to the French “Reign of Terror” (1789) in Marseille, France. It centers around two daughters (Julie & Désirée) of upper class who fear for their family during these uncertain times. The King and Queen have been tried for treason and executed. Julie and Désirée’s brother has been arrested and jailed and they attempt to beg for his release. Joseph Bonaparte spots Désirée in line to plea for her brother’s cause. He uses his social connections to save their brother The book commences just prior to the French “Reign of Terror” (1789) in Marseille, France. It centers around two daughters (Julie & Désirée) of upper class who fear for their family during these uncertain times. The King and Queen have been tried for treason and executed. Julie and Désirée’s brother has been arrested and jailed and they attempt to beg for his release. Joseph Bonaparte spots Désirée in line to plea for her brother’s cause. He uses his social connections to save their brother Nicolas, managing to have him released from prison (and skirting the infamous guillotine). Later Joseph calls upon the two sisters, bringing his brother along - Napoleon! And so the love stories begin. Julie marries Joseph while Désirée is courted by Napoleon. One late night Désirée and Napoleon declare their love for each other under the stars and secretly become engaged. Napoleon goes off to war and soon his love for Désirée wanes. She senses such in his letters as they become less romantic and more chastising. Soon she learns Napoleon has taken a new lover with much fervor - his Creole Joséphine! Napoleon’s mother and sisters despise Joséphine for many reasons. Her social reputation (a horizontal), her inability to produce an heir and her lavish spending. They would much preferred he had married Désirée!Napoleon’s love for Joséphine is like no other. However, her inability to give Napoleon what he needs most - a male heir who can perpetuate his reign, proves her downfall. Joséphine already has a son and a daughter and is several years older than Napoleon when they wed. Because Désirée’s sister is married to Napoleon’s brother, she is obligated to be a part of Napoleon & Joséphine’s court, where she is introduced to one of Napoleon’s soldiers, Bernadotte. They quickly fall in love and marry. Over time Désirée befriends Josephine; out of obligation first, then perhaps later out of pity. Napoleon eventually divorces Joséphine in an effort to gain an heir. His family is delighted but the irony is that with an heir, they will inherit nothing. Perhaps Joséphine wasn’t so bad after all?Napoleon grows increasingly unhappy with Bernadotte. Was it because he was jealous Désirée had given him a son? Bernadotte is offered his own kingdom from Sweden, a then ally of Napoleon’s vast empire. He accepts and soon finds himself at war against both his longtime colleague Napoleon and his beloved France. Joséphine dies of a broken heart and Napoleon dies while in exile. But only after writing his memoirs, which shed an unfavorable light on Désirée and Bernadotte. The story concludes with the reign of Sweden by Bernadotte and Désirée. Their son Oscar marries the granddaughter of Joséphine, who gives him several sons. Napoleon dies without a son to assume his reign, though he was exiled, while Désirée and Joséphine left quite the legacy. “She would have gone with me to Hell itself.”I love reading historical fiction and Allison Pataki does not disappoint! She does much research to bring forward the women behind Europe’s great rulers. There’s even a connection to a previous book of hers - The Accidental Empress. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
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  • Ginger Pollard
    January 1, 1970
    First let me say how much I have enjoyed this author's previous work. The two books she wrote about Sisi (Empress of Austria) are among my favorite books ever. I was excited to read this book and it doesn't disappoint! Most people know about Napoleon Bonaparte and his lady love Josephine. Another lady was highly involved in their lives and needed to be remembered. Allison Pataki has certainly filled that blank spot. This book tells the story of Desiree Clary Bernadotte, Napoleon's first fiancee. First let me say how much I have enjoyed this author's previous work. The two books she wrote about Sisi (Empress of Austria) are among my favorite books ever. I was excited to read this book and it doesn't disappoint! Most people know about Napoleon Bonaparte and his lady love Josephine. Another lady was highly involved in their lives and needed to be remembered. Allison Pataki has certainly filled that blank spot. This book tells the story of Desiree Clary Bernadotte, Napoleon's first fiancee. She lived an amazing life, an unbelievable life and we didn't learn about this lady in school! How did my "Women in History" class miss her? She became Queen of Sweden, among other things. This is a must read for Historical Fiction Fans! I recommend this book and this author highly!Also, I can't just not mention Sisi, Empress of Austria again. Such amazing reading!!I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. I love you, Netgalley!This book comes to stores in February 2020. I will own a copy for my home library!All opinions are my own. Way more than five stars!!
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    "When the snow falls at midnight..." The author snagged me from the very first words of the book. I have received this as an ARC and you will read my truthful review. Honest. Many years ago I read a novel about Desiree, the young woman that was Napoleon's friend and first love. I had never heard of Desiree Clary and at that time I truly had not studied much about Napoleon, other than the humor of his hand in his vest. The wonderful librarian that was enforcing the punishment I received for "When the snow falls at midnight..." The author snagged me from the very first words of the book. I have received this as an ARC and you will read my truthful review. Honest. Many years ago I read a novel about Desiree, the young woman that was Napoleon's friend and first love. I had never heard of Desiree Clary and at that time I truly had not studied much about Napoleon, other than the humor of his hand in his vest. The wonderful librarian that was enforcing the punishment I received for talking too much in class gave me a book she thought I would like and not resent the time in the library. Desiree is a remarkable woman who lived in the extraordinary period of the French Revolution and the events that ultimately shaped the dynasties of Europe. Desiree is sent to get her brother out of jail because although they were not aristocrates they were wealthy from her father's thriving business and suspect as not supporting the new revolutionaries. She was sent by her mother because she was beautiful and men will always do what a beauty asks of them. That is how she and her sister meet Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon, Joseph, Desiree, Julie, Napoleon's family, the entire French army and most of all, Josephine, weave in and out and around the storyline. I adore history and have read much about this time period; but I learned so much of the politics and conflict behind the revolution and Napoleon's subsequent rise and fall of power. No, it is not enough "tiresome" history to bore you. Frankly it flushes out the storyline so it gives the tale body. Josephine in particular is second only to Desiree in the plot of the storyline. I have completely changed my opinion of Josephine and all that I had read before. It is evident in Ms. Pataki's extensive research about places and people that I was pulled into the story and read this book in a day and a half. It will come onto the market in February of 2020 and I highly recommend this good read.
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received as an ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.This was by far the Historical Fiction novel that just blew my mind. This book had drama all around that was super enticing and juicy that it made you not want to stop. The relationships that become tangled with Desiree and her family members marrying family of ruler Napoleon Bonaparte and that This book was received as an ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.This was by far the Historical Fiction novel that just blew my mind. This book had drama all around that was super enticing and juicy that it made you not want to stop. The relationships that become tangled with Desiree and her family members marrying family of ruler Napoleon Bonaparte and that ignites a potential relationship with Napoleon and Desiree until he meets the fair maiden Josephine de Beauharnais destined for one another. Now with a broken heart and vulnerable as ever, Desiree meets Napoleon's confidant and star general Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte who later becomes a rival of Napoleon and now Desiree's world has been shaken up to the nth degree and she is now faced with a difficult choice between her new man or the nation that she loves and its Emperor. Action Drama packed that will leave you speechless with your mouth wide opened. I can't wait to pass this along to our community and have them experience it for themselves.We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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  • Candice Valdez
    January 1, 1970
    I love historical fiction. Allison Pataki has a way of bringing it to life and making you feel like you are right there in the story. This book is no different. I enjoyed reading about Napoleon, from his humble beginnings, all the way to his death. The author has done her research and has brilliantly composed a book that i could not put down. 5+ stars. This is a great read and teaches you some history as well. This author is always a must read for me. I received a complimentary copy of this I love historical fiction. Allison Pataki has a way of bringing it to life and making you feel like you are right there in the story. This book is no different. I enjoyed reading about Napoleon, from his humble beginnings, all the way to his death. The author has done her research and has brilliantly composed a book that i could not put down. 5+ stars. This is a great read and teaches you some history as well. This author is always a must read for me. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Taylor Noel
    January 1, 1970
    The Queen's Fortune is a passionate, exhilarating novel of the woman who nearly married Napoleon, and changed the course of history when she married someone else. Allison Pataki's meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but ultimately reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire. Rich and The Queen's Fortune is a passionate, exhilarating novel of the woman who nearly married Napoleon, and changed the course of history when she married someone else. Allison Pataki's meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but ultimately reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire. Rich and immersive, this historical novel is such a treat to read! I was truly mesmerized by this storytelling.
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  • Penzi Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Thank You to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest opinions7.5/10. A good read, if you're able to ignore the injustices of the day. As a historical guilty pleasure read, The Queen's fortune was captivating, romantic and held enough petty intrigue to lure and trap a reader. It was a graceful and stylish read that whisked it's audience back to a forgotten time and a romance that didn't make many history books. We could feel Thank You to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest opinions7.5/10. A good read, if you're able to ignore the injustices of the day. As a historical guilty pleasure read, The Queen's fortune was captivating, romantic and held enough petty intrigue to lure and trap a reader. It was a graceful and stylish read that whisked it's audience back to a forgotten time and a romance that didn't make many history books. We could feel this character's brush with greatness and the poignant loss of love and the need for family. The author's prose was admirable and accomplished the goal of drawing us into her heroine's life. So why didn't this get a higher score from me? the simple answer, the book tried to turn a blind eye at injustices commited both towards the characters and towards unseen masses. Yes, the author briefly mentions the evils of slavery, but only to establish that a character "doesn't really" support that. It feels like, as an audience, we are expected to look at crumbs of goodness as substitutes for intact moral character. Honestly, I would've preffered the book if I had felt that the author was trying to send an honest message about the people surrounding Dessiree, rather than feeble attempts to sway us on their morality given a common understood knowledge that speaks the opposite. I enjoyed the book. But that wasn't enough for me to ignore the actual history the book is based upon.
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  • Bethany Swafford
    January 1, 1970
    Desiree Clary's life is turned upside down when the Revolution begins in France. When she meets the ambitious soldier, Napoleon Bonaparte, she quickly becomes secretly engaged to him. But marriage to the military prodigy is not to be, and she must learn to find her way among the ever-changing French capital.I don't know a great deal about French history, so I found this woman's life to be fascinating. She goes from a country belle to queen of a country in the span of her lifetime, with a Desiree Clary's life is turned upside down when the Revolution begins in France. When she meets the ambitious soldier, Napoleon Bonaparte, she quickly becomes secretly engaged to him. But marriage to the military prodigy is not to be, and she must learn to find her way among the ever-changing French capital.I don't know a great deal about French history, so I found this woman's life to be fascinating. She goes from a country belle to queen of a country in the span of her lifetime, with a multitude of other experiences in between. While this is a fictional telling of it all, it has its basis in fact. What a life this woman had!The writing is excellent and the plot moves at a fast pace. The one qualm I had was the sex scene. I wondered why it was even included since it added nothing to the story, but it too had a basis in fact. When writing his memoirs, Bonaparte wrote -for all the world to know- how he had slept with Desiree and felt obliged to see her married when he was in a position to influence matters. (Not cool, Bonaparte.) And while the scene wasn't written in great detail, it was enough to make me uncomfortable.Aside from that, it was an interesting read. I would recommend it to readers looking for a remarkable heroine to get behind.I received a free copy through NetGalley for reviewing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Mandi F
    January 1, 1970
    I love historical fiction so this book caught my attention when I saw the cover and read the description. I liked it because it was a book about a part of history I never read about before. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I reviewed an ARC provided to me from Netgalley. In historical fiction, I require the following:*Characters that interest me;*Reasonable fidelity to the known characteristics of famous individuals;*Reasonable fidelity to historical events*Something that has its own story, such that I don't feel I'm reading an encyclopedia article. *And, okay, I admit it--pretty dresses. Don't hate!"The Queen's Fortune" provides this in spades. The book revolves around the story of Napoleon's first fiancee Note: I reviewed an ARC provided to me from Netgalley. In historical fiction, I require the following:*Characters that interest me;*Reasonable fidelity to the known characteristics of famous individuals;*Reasonable fidelity to historical events*Something that has its own story, such that I don't feel I'm reading an encyclopedia article. *And, okay, I admit it--pretty dresses. Don't hate!"The Queen's Fortune" provides this in spades. The book revolves around the story of Napoleon's first fiancee and her own ascendancy to the historical spotlight. Desiree Clary makes for a truly fascinating story, and Allison Pataki does her justice. Both Napoleon and Josephine appear here as complex individuals, too, and I particularly appreciated how Pataki handled the relationship between Josephine and Desiree. Despite their obvious initial rivalry, the book tosses that aside and makes their connection about more than a man. Brava to Pataki for a truly fun historical romp; I will be going back and reading more of her back catalogue.
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  • Cindy Straka
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing story. It's nice to read a story about a person that many have not or do not remember hearing about. The author managed to bring to life a lady I never heard of and about a man who, I believe, stole her heart, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. This story takes the reader to many places and the detail the author goes into is breathtaking, so much so it's as if you are there along with Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing story. It's nice to read a story about a person that many have not or do not remember hearing about. The author managed to bring to life a lady I never heard of and about a man who, I believe, stole her heart, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. This story takes the reader to many places and the detail the author goes into is breathtaking, so much so it's as if you are there along with the characters feeling their joys, triumphs, and their sorrows. Like I said it was an amazing read and highly recommend this to all who love historical fiction....
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