Category: Clever Turns of Phrase

+Blog Book Tour+ Citadel [Book 3: of Languedoc Trilogy] by Kate Mosse

Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

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Citadel by Kate Mosse
Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks)
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers (), 18 March 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #KateMosse, #LanguedocTrilogy, #Citadel, #FranceBookTours, & #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover and E-Book
Page Count: 704

Acquired By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Citadel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Encouraged to Read:

Mum has a foresight of knowledge of which books would whet my appetite for not only historical intrigue but deft story-telling, where the research slips past the reader’s eye, and allows one to insert one’s heart directly into the core of the narrative! I am always on the forefront of discovering ‘a genuine new voice in literature’ because I am always inspired and captivated by such an eclectically diverse sphere of writers! I like to seek out stories which not only challenge convention but the perceptional eclipse we might unintentionally tether ourselves too! I like to broach outside my comfort zones whenever possible, and sink into a portion of the historical past which is wholly unknown and unvisited previously! My literary adventures draw me one step closer to the world’s front door and a breath closer to empathy for the unsung heroes of a past fraught with drama, suspense, and intuitive souls who choose to lead rather extraordinary lives! In this intuited glimpse into my reader’s heart, Mum purchased Labyrinth for me whilst it was in paperback (as I recollect!?) release. I had oft meant to endow myself to the page, yet I never quite managed to broach into the novel. On the brink of a blog book tour in the bookish blogosphere, I find myself able to redeem my ill-wrought wanderings, bringing me full circle back into the realm of Kate Mosse! How fruitious it is that her name resonated with me whilst offered on tour!

Inspired to Share a Snippet of a Preview:

I originally intended to read the first two novels in the  series Labyrinth & Sepulchre ahead of my book review for Citadel via France Book Tours. However, as life can dictate and quite often predict, the plans we set in motion are occasionally derailed for circumstances which arise altering our reading adventures! Therefore, I am stepping into the world of Kate Mosse’s literary threshold without prior knowledge of her characters nor of the direction in which her style illumines the narrative for the avid reader of her works! I am quite eager to read the forementioned previous titles on the footheels of this installment, but for now, I am overjoyed I have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ a new author of whom has held my intrigue for the years between Labyrinth & Citadel releases!

Kate Mosse discusses “Citadel” & ‘Sisterhood’ via Orion Publishing

Book Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre comes a thrilling novel, set in the South of France during World War II, that interweaves history and legend, love and conflict, passion and adventure, bringing to life brave women of the French Resistance and a secret they must protect from the Nazis. In Carcassonne, a colorful historic village nestled deep in the Pyrenees, a group of courageous and determined operatives are engaged in a lethal battle. Like their ancestors who fought to protect their land from Northern invaders seven hundred years before, these women—codenamed Citadel —fight to liberate their home from the Germans.

But smuggling refugees over the mountains into neutral territory and sabotaging their Nazi occupiers is only part of their mission. These members of the resistance must also protect an ancient secret that, if discovered by the enemy, could change the course of history.

A superb blend of rugged action and haunting mystery based on real-life figures, Citadel is a vivid and richly atmospheric story of a group of heroic women who dared the odds to survive.

Author Biography:

Kate MosseKate Mosse is the multimillion selling author of four works of nonfiction, three plays, one volume of short stories and six novels, including the New York Times bestselling Labyrinth and Sepulchre. A popular presenter for BBC television and radio in the UK, she is also cofounder and chair of the prestigious Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and a member of the board of the National Theatre of Great Britain. In 2013, she was named as one of the Top 100 most influential people in British publishing and also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She divides her time between England and Carcassonne, France.


A Prelude to Citadel:

An absolute blessing of mine in receiving an ARC (advanced reading copy) to read of a novel, is the inclusion of both the Editor’s Note (generally found on the inside first page!) and/or a letter from the publisher which gives a bit of a history of how the novel was created or a bit about the author herself! For Citadel, I was twice-fold blessed! Not only was the Editor’s Note included but so was the publisher’s! I am fascinated truly by the marketing and promotional campaigns by publishers to alert the readership of an author’s work! Even for new readers of Mosse’s stories like me for instance, cannot help but become caught up in the excitement and the reverence of honour she is bestowed by her dedicated readership! IF a sequel to her last tome took four years, can you imagine how long we shall all be willing to wait for her next treasure of literature?!

The best of stories have to soak into their creators, they have to wholly absorb the characters, the setting, the era, and the entirety of the story’s essence in order to fully bring everything to illuminating light. I celebrate writers like Mosse who cherish the ‘process of writing’ and allow themselves the full measure of grace to produce heart-stopping narrative time and time again! At least this is my presumption prior to broaching the pages!

I’m entering this particular review a bit blind to the knowledge of Ms. Mosse, as when I read her championing spirit for bookish culture, writers, and wordsmiths I must confess my heart did a bit of skip and a jump! Especially on noting I had already planned to make an appearance on a Blog Talk Radio podcast the night prior to this review posting in which I would be drawing to light a topical bookish interest: volunteer public libraries set on trains running through New York City and London! A kindred spirit, most indeed!

Dear hearts, do you know what William Morrow included as a ‘extra special’ surprise for this particular book blogger!? OR, should I clarify, it wasn’t placed inside for ‘me’ in particular mind you, but rather those who received the ARC! A full-on brilliant interview by Ann Patchett & Kate Mosse! A most delectable treat I held off reading until ‘after I had read Citadel’!

A proper Introduction to the novel by the author:

There is an amazing breadth of history pulled out of World War II, where brave souls stood up in our conjoined living history of a time in our world where nothing made sense and everything was turnt upside down by the cruelty and evil of a world war. Mosse examines the inter-dimensional connections of the trilogy against the intricacies of research of the historical past. Her passion for the South of France and for this particular window she’s served as a portal for her audience to endear themselves to the women who stand strong allowing their courage to bolster us a bit in the present. These are stories on behalf of women who perhaps never saw themselves as heroes but to every life they positively affected they were! Mosse has such an effervescent passion for writing, and giving her readers such a full embodied story which can wash over you and give you a living experience.

Kate Mosse Over Citadel via bol.com {she speaks in English; Dutch subtitles}


An archaeological bent of historical intrigue:

From the time I was quite young, I was always caught up in the annuls of history, seeking out remnants of the past which could be brought into the present through the art of story-telling! My passion for history led me to consider bunkering into a life pursuit of archaeological digs, hidden ancestral passageways into the living past, and a life’s sole intent of preserving the artifacts I’d uncover. Ever since my eyes lit up with the pure joy of ‘digging in the dirt’ by theory not practice, I have had a keen attention placed on historical details in novels. Including ancient symbolism,  dead languages, and the turnt of phrase fashioned centuries within the past where Old English was the everyday vernacular! Part of my interests in seeing the sociological perspectives in stories and the dynamics of a character’s action verse personality is rooted in my appreciation for archaeology’s introverted sister: anthropology which focuses on the study of societies and how people lived.

To find an author who has transmorphed an intricate range of research into a dense tome of historical fiction whilst remaining true to each era she’s brimming to life inside her narrative is nothing short of literary brilliance! I oft wondered if I could find an author who could fully immerse the reader’s senses into what I felt I had shared within my spirit whilst previously considering an entirely different lifepath! In Mosse, I do believe I have at long last found the writer, the wordsmith, and the story-teller I have sought so hard to find! And, I have my Mum to thank for this lovely discovery as my gratitude is hers forevermore!

My previous readings of Illuminations and A Study in Murder allowed me to understand the monk’s (Arinius) traditions of matins, sext, and nones! There is an entire pace to living whilst your sliding into a moment in history where tradition and ritual intersect and spirituality endeavours to give a calming balm to one’s day.

My Review of Citadel:

Oh, my oh dear my, such a delightful author who includes not only a full-on brilliant map to orientate the reader into the realm of the historical past she’s about to embark on visiting, but she is given an acute alacrity of the principal cast and characters in a proper pronouncement ahead of the beginning of Chapter I! Oh, my dear hearts, this reader was over the moon entranced by these short few pages,… wretched and jolted out of my reverie of an unsuspecting opening which would bring the level of brutality witnessed by survivors and members of resistance forces during World War II came startling into view as soon as I broached the Prologue. The recollections of my joyous heart can wait, the narrative cannot! I not merely ‘sense’ the urgency, I sense it! I am breathing it in with each drip of words formulating the paragraphs. A dire race is afoot and I am on the brink of understanding the fullness of its scope! The novel births unto the page with each delicate turnt page, words extending themselves into the edge-most sections of its published space; a murmuring echo of its story eager for the eyes of the reader to grasp its heart!

Mosse has a clever eye for evoking peripheral psychological hauntings of a world set askew by war. She invites you into the mind of her characters whilst they brace and bolt to live through a day of hell. Fraught with human anxiety and fears of what happens to those who are captured, the imagery is not a brutal one in totality but rather, a stark remembrance of the reality of being on the ground, running and scavenging for safety. I was quite startled to be pulled out of Southern France during World War II to arrive at the doorstop of AD 342, and yet, that is precisely where my timeclock registered me on the first page of Part I! I murmured to myself this might be a time slip, generational in-depth and millennia in scope!

Meeting Arinius as he made his journey to free the Codex text he believed to be absolute truth ahead of dipping into Sandrine’s world in 1942; the year she was eighteen, two years past her mother’s death was quite the unique place to enter both of their lives. Each were on the footfalls of reaching a new pathway in their lives which would transform their futures. Sandrine was not unlike her age of peers, where she was standing on the tipping stone of adulthood, eager to greet the morrow and make her way in life. She was thirsty for experience and for the sweetness of freedom outside the stagnant pattern of her days. Sandrine comes from an ethereal section of France, where murmurings of spirits and of divine knowledge echo out across the land and encroach on the open hearts and minds of those willing to listen.

I appreciated the symbolism of Sandrine’s thoughts being interwoven and threaded as a knitter’s skein of fiber! The observation is at the closing end of Chapter 7, but it simply warmed this knitty girl’s heart to see one of the clever turnt phrases to be a reflection of an interest held most dear! I can oft relate to how she felt; muddle yet unclear of the placement of the events and memories. Uncertain if memory is the fault or if memory is the key to understanding what happened. We can become caught up in ourselves to where we second guess our instincts and the intuition that is a constant guide.

Sandrine was still an innocent as her hometown of Carcassonne was evolving into a deadly sufferage of wills between those who first would commit harm to gain secrets within the arms of the war and those who would rally to bolster the shield around the innocents who died. Her older sister Marianne sheltered her younger sister too well, in not giving her the ability to see past the illusion of memory. Her spirit stirred and soared standing in the warming sea of voices raised high for the liberation of France. She was starting to put the pieces of the picture together, forming her own opinion where her life was leading her and how where she was living was all but directing its course. She was thrust into the throes of war without the foreknowledge to understand its intricacies. Yet. I mused if perhaps this was almost a better approach? To not be as self-aware at first in order to have the courage in the long-term to act without a thought for yourself but to act to protect and free people you might never know?

History has a unique way of imparting important acknowledgements out of the past, by finding the ways in which the words can travel through vessels of time. Words handed and passed down through generations, from family to stranger seeking a confidence of protection is one of the most reliable methods of keeping knowledge secret from eyes who would take the same words and twist them into harmful deeds. It’s how we as a society react and root out resilience in the face of our foremost dire fears and shake away the rootings of evil. Resistance from oppression and the strife of a regime bent against the welfare of the people is true courage lit aflame.

Sandrine, Marianne, their close friends, and French Resistant fighter Raoul are being shadowed by a thrilling chase against time. By the time my mind realised the full perimeter of the story, I was all but rushing to find my voice to shout-out a decree of bravery I was slowly losing sight of as I watched how their individual plights grew more dim. The hardest time in life to latch onto Hope is when every effort you make to walk out of the adversity you have lived through starts to unfold and uncoil around you. You fight as hard as you dare, you believe as willingly as you dream, but in the end, without the additional help of others acting on your behalf; you can find yourself truly alone betwixt a choice for flight, freedom, or the valor of saving lives.

Sandrine is an intuitive woman who was set apart from others; she could see past the veils of our reality and into the next life just beyond our focus. She was tuned into mystical truths which gave her a bolster of strength in the nanoseconds where her own inner resolve faltered. Her life was writ to be in service of others, and in of giving all of her mind, body, and soul to fighting for the sanctity of life, liberty, and freedom. Citadel is epic in scale, emotionally convicting, and powerfully written to leave you quite still at its conclusion retrospectively museful, and enlightened. Your heart shatters and aches in an indescribable way when you read the four sentences on page 673. With eyes too blurry and a heart too gutted to carry-on into the Epilogue.

Fly in the Ointment:

In this instance, it is more of a forewarning for a sensitive heart reading the book, as although I was quite thrilled to see Mosse tempering the harsh realities of war and giving us a proper sense of the danger, the blight, and the misery without fuller details which would make even a strong man gag; there are passages where naturally the narrative has to take a sharper intact of detail. Where the horrors of the war during World War II under the Nazi regime are represented for what they were and how they were elicited out through the ranks. Before I reached Chapter 14, I languished in the beauty of the words which felt like soft pebbles rather than hardened spikes of a war drama. I am not sure why, but Chapter 14 re-presented the reality for me, where Antoine is being tortured into submission. Except to say, Mosse holds back, she gives you the ease to breathe and to realise although your being led into one of the darkest corners of the past, inside history’s dark hours, you are going with a guide who respects what you can handle and the elements of which you cannot. And, how she maintains this balance between the evil darkness and the light is a credit to her as a story-teller.

The most sickening part though lies in the truth inside the torture for information: that there are certain people who feel that inflicting unimaginable pain is justified in the end if it yields a response they are searching to hear. Mosse gives you a lot to muddle over and ruminate about as this is a novel whose layers are half-hidden and seen throughout the action of where the story evolves into being. There is a greater message than a recollection of war-time horror, survival, and courage. We are never quite as alone as we fear we have been cast out from our protective spheres of love’s embrace. Always guided over and protected by the Ones we cannot see but sometimes can hear as our heart listens for the cues our eyes have forgotten to see.



Virtual Road Map for “Citadel” Blog Tour:

Citadel by Kate Mosse

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva


A parting glimpse behind the esoteric elements of the Languedoc Trilogy: 

Kate Mosse discusses Citadel, myths and fantasy via Orion Publishing


I must confess, I am always quite curious about how each of us selects which book we want to engage in. With Mosse, I feel as though I was always meant to be a reader of hers, but the timing hadn’t quite aligned for me to broach her writings until ‘this moment’ whilst I am participating on a blog book tour with France Book Tours! Do you ever find there is a particular time for you to soak into a narrative or an author? What do you think prompts the discovery to be a bit delayed from our initial moment of curiosity!? Also, have you read each of the Languedoc trilogy books as they released, or did you discover them out-of-order!? I’d be keen to hear your recollections and ruminations on behalf of either Citadel, Kate Mosse, or the trilogy! I do know, it will not be long from now before I am reading the first ‘two’ installments to have the richness of the tapestry expanded inside my mind!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Citadel”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Mosse, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Orion Publishing had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Feminine Heroism, Fly in the Ointment, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, French Resistance, Geographically Specific, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, The World Wars, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

+Blog Book Tour+ The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Posted Monday, 10 March, 2014 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien
Betsy Bonaparte illustration was created by the author
Ruth Hull Chatlien

Published By: Amika Press, 2 December 2013
Official Author WebsitesSite | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #AmbitiousMmeBonaparte, #Bonaparte & #HistFic
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 484

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on “The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Amika Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

Becoming Josephine reconfirmed my enthused passion for the French Revolution set around Marie Antoinette, as the history of France during that period is as fiery as the war itself! I’ve only been seeking out French literature for a little over four and a half years now, slowly finding my way through historical fiction authors who offer something that perks my eye towards a time for the French which was both harrowing and uncertain at the same time. Being of French ancestry, I cannot even properly think of what it would have been like to see the cities flaming orange and the overturn government leaving the entire country in a state of distress. Part of the reason I am seeking out books about the Bonaparte’s (from different angles & relations) is a measure of a step towards understanding a part of history that is difficult to accept. There are always hidden stories within history, antidotes which go to reason out a secret ‘something yet known’ which could in turn draw our empathy to those who caused such widespread tragedy.

This particular story is centered around the American Bonaparte’s and the 1814 Battle of Baltimore.

Inspired to Share: To serve as a precursor to the story and the review of which follows!

“The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte” by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Book Trailer via Ruth Hull Chatlien

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Biography:

Ruth Hull ChatlienRuth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.

She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football.

Book Synopsis:

As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The American “Bonaparte’s” through the eyes of Betsy:

The framework of this biographical fiction novel centers around a Bonaparte I have not yet become familiar or acquainted with previously. In point of fact truth, I did not even realise we had an “American” side of the Bonaparte family, nor did I expect the drama to start to unfold in June of 1870 whilst Betsy herself was in her late eighties! I was quite intrigued at that junction, as if this were to become either a time slip between her past and her present or a flashback of memories in sequence, I knew I would be in for quite the treat!

And, I had not realised the story would be set within the Revolutionary War era on our countries shores, as that is such an era full of intrigue awaiting to be uncovered out of the dust of history’s annuals! As Chatlien moves her reader to expand the concept of powdered wigs and intricately ornamented clothes, I felt as though the portal was quite complete whilst I exited my own alcove and traded it in for the rooms of Betsy’s youth! She was a child who stood out to me at the earliest bits of narrative, because she was determined not to befell the pitfalls of most of her generation. She had an instinctive mind for business as much as she had a heart for literature. Her greatest joy was her best gift in an age where girls were not always given the freedom to learn or grasp a portion of life outside the walls of domesticity.

Reading of her thoughts of inadequacy in tandem of her mother’s postpartum depression bouts, left me realising how important it was for Women’s Suffrage and the equality of rights bestowed between the sexes. Oft times its difficult to re-imagine how the world was bent against the freedoms girls of the latter half of the 20th Century had inside their fingertips as compared to all women of previous generations. Proper change evolved quite slowly whilst history was propelling itself at a frequent hyper-speed race towards the conquering of industry, commerce, and trade. At the backdrop were always the impression that the hardest measure of distance between a women’s right to advance her life in a manner in which she felt fitting and the life her father or guardians forced upon her was as wide as the seven seas! Only those of obstinate grit, gumpshun, and internal strength could transform their stations above what was generally presumed their fate. A pinch of daring dreams and the belief that if you tried to reach the stars, you’d at least grant yourself a position near them!

The capacity for knowledge was never limited to males, but its the ability for a male-driven world to endeavour to embrace the abilities of women that has been hard won.

My Review of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte:

As I started to alight inside Betsy’s life, I was arriving whilst her son was at his deathbed and her heart had grown melancholic about her past. Her weathered spirit encouraged her mind to wander backwards towards the days when she and her husband Jerome were at their happiest. Yet she was just as inclined to reflect upon the passageways of her youth as she grew up in high society Baltimore. As Chatlien inserted a mention of the plantation uprisings at Cape Francois, my mind darted back to Josephine’s narrow escape of the same uprising in Becoming Josephine. The intersection of one novel into this one allowed my mind the flexible breath to pick up nearly where I had left off with the other. A bit of a compass point to gather myself and reacquaint back in time to the point in which Betsy’s story is emerging.

I loved how Chatlien included French phrases into the dialect of Betsy’s teacher, Madame Lacomb because the inclusion added a unique touch to the reality of Betsy’s life. I adore foreign languages inserted into stories, as it allows us to grasp a portion of the words in which we would have heard had we been inside the shoes of the main character! Chatlien continued the French language throughout the story during exchanges between Betsy and Jerome.

Betsy Patterson was a young woman who had set her cap to a loftier goal than most of her generation; to befit the dream of her yearnings, she would indeed attempt to draw the eye of a worthy European who could aspire her position in life to royalty. She was not keen on becoming a housewife sworn to duties of child-rearing and domestic arts. She had the tenacious mind to implore more out of her days than her peers were willing to understand. Outside of her close confidante of Henriette, that is! I felt she was blinded by ambition whilst pursuing Jerome Bonaparte, but she would not be the first woman who felt a match in marriage could solidify her ill-thought out plans. Her grounding of internal anxiety came out of her collected memories of her dearly beloved Maxims which endears her to you, knowing that she is a young soul searching for her wings.

Torn apart from the man of whom she felt most beloved (Jerome Bonaparte), Betsy was forced into exile by her beguiling father and brother William. Her stronghold faith in Jerome’s sincerity inspired her to dig in her heels and refute any future without him. I celebrated seeing her efforts extolled in matrimony! Within the early bits of their honeymoon, Betsy learnt that Jerome had deceived her afterall and I found that to be a bit of truth ebbing out what is readily known about men who act in haste towards marriage. My heart grieved for a bit as she was truly the honest one in the union, never-failing in her heart’s desire nor in her protection of whom carried her heart’s vow. Shortly thereafter Chatlien included the scene of Jerome and Betsy having their portraits painted, which flashed back in mind the recollections an elder Betsy had mentioned in the Prologue, and for me this was a struck of continuity brilliance!

The intrigue of the politics of both America on the footheels of Revolution and of France, caught up in a new regime of power struggling to keep itself afloat left me in the full grip of Chatlien’s ability to tone down the complexity and examine the era from both sides of the Atlantic! The intricacies threaded through their lives became thwarted and entangled at each turn due to Jerome’s connection to Napoleon, who very much was attempting to control his brother’s life at such a distance as France. As they made a determined effort to restore themselves to France, the intrigue of the harrowing journey Betsy would take to reach French soil was beyond riveting as it was etched in danger at each turn. Including whilst trying to protect her unbourne babe for whom had not yet had the pleasure of meeting his father who was kept separate from them. Her tumultuous return to the States gave me a window of what lengths war and insurrection can separate those who are caught up in the actions of others.

I could only imagine what was rollicking through Betsy’s mind and heart whilst she was being tested against will to re-acquire her beloved’s presence. I am thankful to have this particular biographical fiction cross my path, because it has inspired me to seek out more historical novels set around the Bonaparte’s. For every imagined truth we all perceive about those who lived in the historical past, there is oft-times a hidden story surrounding the very people who might have repelled our interest. I oft wondered about the lives interconnected to Napoleon, the unsung voices of his reign, and through Becoming Josephine and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte I am embarking towards that end; of unveiling the incredible women who not only backed their men but forged through all the doubts of their eras to secure their futures. And, for this I thank the authors who are giving their readers quite a heap to ruminate on!

A survivor’s heart:

Crossing the North Atlantic waters when France was on the footsteps of impending war by the actions Napoleon was taking to assert his authority and rule, made me feel anxious for Betsy’s first journey to France. The bravery she must have needed to encourage out of her bosom to be steadfast in Jerome’s company is unparalleled. Travel has always had its fair share of difficulties and cause for concern for personal safety, but what I appreciated in how Chatlien was relaying the story of the Bonaparte’s taking a step towards returning to Jerome’s native country, is how difficult it was in that timescape for even the simplest matters to become resolved. Most of their intimate lives were controlled by their families guidance and obsternational tactics, but when they are finally able to break free and live as man and wife, I found that the world was even less inviting than prior to their betrothal!

Despite the looming obstacles in her path, I found Betsy Bonaparte to be a strong-willed and determined spirit to always find the silver lining when life dealt her a stronger hand than she felt she could incur. Her heart rallied against the rakish claims against her husband but moreso she was willing to put her desires of heart and society alleviation ahead of her anxiety over how perception could turn the tides against her and her husband. It must have taken the strength of an oxen to circumvent society’s presumptions whilst finding complete joy in being surrounded by Jerome. The two shared a love which passionately was inflamed from the moment they both felt entwined to the other, and regardless of each attempt to draw them distant from each other, they resolved to remain united.

Jerome Bonaparte: out of the shadow of Napoleon:

My early impression of Jerome Bonaparte was a man with a decisiveness about him, unto giving himself an inflated position of command. His arrogance in disregarding even the most informal of societal rules for courtship were a bit rebuking, as he would lay claim to Betsy on-sight rather than by virtue of her countenance. By the time they were able to come together in a proper courtship, Betsy’s ideals of marriage were tested by her father’s faults on infidelity grounds. She positioned herself to give Jerome a fighting chance at her heart, but became torn in love and loyalty to her family when her father sought to drive a wedge between them. In this regard, I felt Bonaparte was a gracious gentlemen in his attempts to not only appease her father but to find a common ground to where his most desired future with Betsy could still be secured. What earlier reeked of arrogance might have actually been a case of love at first sight. They were bound by the rules of engagement which dictated what they could and could not do. In some ways, by the time I reached page 62, where Jerome is in conference with Betsy about needing to depart, I felt a hitching of remorse for both of them. Wondering how they could repair the fracture her father was creating and what incident of reparations could ensure their bond.

Jerome Bonaparte at first felt like he living within the shadows of his brother, Napoleon. As time progressed forward I found him to be a wholly strong individual in his own rights with a pedigree that took his future into uncertain realms. Listening to his side of his brother’s endeavours of conquerment and control, one would wonder how anyone could refute the claims! His version of Napoleon is one of saviour rather than destructor! His reckless pursuit of living free from the confines and chains of propriety gave him a few more woes than he would have necessarily had to endure. His impediment and impulsive nature sparked an image I had of his brother, as both Bonaparte’s now appeared to suffer one common personality quirk: neither accepted anyone’s opinion on how best to obtain what they desired and felt due their course.

Eloquent Wordsmiths & Passionate Researchers:

Ms. Chatlien is one prime example of an eloquent wordsmith who is a dedicatedly passionate researcher of her book’s subject, setting, and tone! She is one of the writers I am thankful to uncover for her guiding hand with witticism and cunning turns of phrase which bolster the novel’s setting within the era in which the story exists. The elaborate and delicate attentions to details, to endue the genteel society’s preferences of colours, textiles, and surroundings allows your mind to sink into the artistry of the story’s set decorations as much as the words of the author’s palette. I am always championing the writers who take such a decisive hand to interweave such realism into their historical fiction novels which impart a duality of purpose: a slice of a historical antidote set to life in fiction and the intimate portrait of a living historical person lit inside a biographical fiction. Appreciators of stories like these will find a balm in the wind whilst making sure their settled into a comfy chair to whittle away the hours enraptured in a time portal back into the 1700s!

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Virtual Road Map for

“The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte” Blog Tour:

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte Tour via France Book Tours

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my Bookish Events page!

What do you find captivating about the Bonaparte family!? Are you familiar with this side of the Bonapartes or did my review inspire you to seek out the title!? How did you first come to appreciate French Revolution history in or around the time of Marie Antoinette, and why do you think their history is just as captivating to us now as it was to the world then!? Do you find biographical fiction novels easier to swallow the lives of historical figures who piqué your interest?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Chatlien, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Ruth Hull Chatlien had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.Post dividers were provided by Shabby Blogs, who give bloggers free resources to add personality to their blogs. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Francois de La Rochefoucauld (Biography) – (en.wikipedia.org)

Francois de La Rochefoucauld (Quoted) – (en.wikiquote.org)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 10 March, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Baltimore, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Clever Turns of Phrase, Debut Novel, Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, French Revolution, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Napoleon Bonaparte, Passionate Researcher, Revolutionary France, Revolutionary War Era, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage