On Sale: August 14, 2012
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After the bloody French Revolution, Emperor Napoleonâ€™s power
is absolute. When Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old
daughter of the King of Austria, is told that the Emperor
has demanded her hand in marriage, her father presents her
with a terrible choice: marry the cruel, capricious
Napoleon, leaving the man she loves and her home forever, or
say no, and plunge her country into war.
Marie-Louise knows what she must do, and she travels to
France, determined to be a good wife despite Napoleonâ€™s
reputation. But lavish parties greet her in Paris, and at
the extravagant French court, she finds many rivals for her
husbandâ€™s affection, including Napoleonâ€™s first wife,
JosĂ©phine, and his sister Pauline, the only woman as
ambitious as the emperor himself. Beloved by some and
infamous to many, Pauline is fiercely loyal to her brother.
She is also convinced that Napoleon is destined to become
the modern Pharaoh of Egypt. Indeed, her greatest hope is to
rule alongside him as his queenâ€”a brother-sister marriage
just as the ancient Egyptian royals practiced. Determined to
see this dream come to pass, Pauline embarks on a campaign
to undermine the new empress and convince Napoleon to
As Paulineâ€™s insightful Haitian servant, Paul, watches these
two women clash, he is torn between his love for Pauline and
his sympathy for Marie-Louise. But there are greater
concerns than Paulineâ€™s jealousy plaguing the court of
France. While Napoleon becomes increasingly desperate for an
heir, the empireâ€™s peace looks increasingly unstable. When
war once again sweeps the continent and bloodshed threatens
Marie-Louiseâ€™s family in Austria, the second Empress is
forced to make choices that will determine her place in
historyâ€”and change the course of her life.
Based on primary resources from the time, The Second Empress
takes readers back to Napoleonâ€™s empire, where royals and
servants alike live at the whim of one man, and two women
vie to change their destinies.
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