Sunday, June 24, 2012


I found this book in my high school's library as a young teenager.  I thought it was the most wonderful book I had ever read.  I read it over and over again, and saw the movie made from it with Marlon Brando as Napoleon and Jean Simmons in the title role.
I even named my cat Desiree after I grew up and had a home of my own.

Desiree is the true story of a young French girl, Desiree Clary, who was engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte (her sister, Julie was engaged to and eventually married Napoleon's brother Joseph).  The story of their engagement is just charming and so romantic.  Eventually, though, Napoleon's ambitions overrule his heart, and he dumps Desiree for Josephine de Beauharnais, who has a larger dowery and can fund his campaigns.

Broken hearted, Desiree lives with her sister for a while, then marries Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte.  They eventually become King and Queen of Sweden.

But thoughtout her life, she has dealings with Napoleon, and his story is told through the eyes of the young girl who onced loved him.  She even comforts Josephine when Napoleon divorces because she cannot give him an heir.

This is such a wonderful, exciting, readable book.  Once my oldest son, Gage asked for a book to read - he had read most of the books on our many shelves, and I handed him Desiree, telling him, "You might not  like this, it's a girl book."  But Gage saw a different side to the book than I did.  He loved the historic story of Napoleon, and read the book with the encyclopedia in hand to back up the accounts in the book.  He said it was very accurate, and with a smile, asked me if I had any more "girl books" like that!

So I would recommend this book for a son or a daughter, and especially yourself!

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