BOOK REVIEW : The Second Empress by Michelle Moran
The Second Empress -- the title of the book seemed interesting to me and without even reading the summary, I placed the order online. And thankfully I was not dissapointed while reading the book. This is the first book by Moran which I've read.
The story is a fictional account of the life of Marie-Louise Habsburg, the princess of Austria who is forced to marry Napoleon in order to save her father's crown. The princess inspite of being in love with the brave and handsome Count Adam Neipperg sacrifices her love for family loyalty and agrees to marry a complete stranger who is twice her age. Marie-Louise has to adjust in a new country with its whole set of new customs, food habits and climate. But over and above this, the major adjustment which she has to endure is having a husband who was very selfish, erratic, callous and unpredictable. It almost becomes a challenge for her to win her rightful place in the Palais Des Tuileries, France where Pauline, Napoleon's sister lived , who was obsessed with her beauty and Napoleon.
Though it's a historical fiction,it's well researched and the main aspects of the book are taken from primary resources. I truly loved the characterisation of Princess Marie-Louise and at times could relate to her situation. Like the time when she feels an inner turmoil for being happy that Napoleon is going away to Russia to wage a war against the Czar but at the same time feels a righteous indignation for the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who were forced into a war by their power hungry emperor. Similarly after Napoleon's defeat she flees from France to save her son from Napoleon's open ambition ,while at the same time hating herself for abandoning the citizens of her kingdom at such a crisis.
I enjoyed this light and interesting read. It was nice to know about Napoleon's later years albeit in a fictional format.