2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Mary M. (emeraldfire) - , reviewed A rose for virtue;: The very private life of Hortense, stepdaughter of Napoleon I, mother of Napoleon III on
Hortense Beauharnais finds herself rubbing shoulders with royalty when her mother remarries to become the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. As Napoleon struggles for power on the battlefields of Europe, so Hortense navigates her way through the French court - a precarious chessboard world where the motivations are jealousy and greed and the prizes are the thrones of conquered countries.
Despite attempts to retain her individuality, Hortense soon finds herself married to Napoleon's younger brother Louis - who is later crowned King of Holland. However, Hortense's heart belongs to Charles de Flahaut, a gallant young officer. Unwilling to cross her stepfather, Hortense must bide her time and wait and see whether time will take her to her lover.
I absolutely loved this book! It seems to be almost a forgone conclusion with me that I'll really enjoy any book written by Norah Lofts, I know, but that's just the way it has to be, I guess! :) In my opinion, she really captures the nuances of any particular historical period that she writes about.
Also, I find that the historical people who she writes about truly come alive - at least for me. I truly began to care for the characters as actual people, and not just as dry, historical symbols from a bygone era. I will certainly give this book an A+! and I definitely look forward to reading - or rereading - more books by this author in the future.
It might have been better for Norah Lofts to have kept to writing English history rather than made any attempt at French history. This novel cannot compare with her earlier works [about Anne Boleyn] such as The Concubine or The Kings Pleasure. She has taken a very ugly rumor from contemporary English newspapers, not to mention having invented her own, & woven them into a barely mediocre novel.
In no source whatsoever have I read mention of a fourth illegitimate child born unto Hortense. And then the ending, in which Lofts writes of Hortense realizing that Napoleon always comes first insteadwhat rubbish!
If the author had perhaps proofread her own work, she might have realized that the ending contradicted several incidences earlier in the book. Such as Hortenses constant concern for her lover, then the Emperor, then Eugine. But unfortunately, she had not taken that precaution & the result is a totally ludicrous work, unworthy of the author.