Monday, July 9, 2012

Amazon Customer Reviews of Desiree

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
 Desiree, by Annemarie Selinko November 24, 1997
By A Customer
Five years ago, my grandmother, knowing I enjoyed history, bought this book for me at a garage sale for 50 cents. At first I was a little skeptical, the book was battered and it smelled musty but I read it anyway. I'm glad I did, it certainly has been one of the most influential books in my life, causing me to pursue an odd interest in Napoleon thus causing me to study history in college. Recently, I stumbled across a webpage a woman had written dedicated to this book. In her page she told about the original German text of Selinko's work she had found in her Seattle, Wa Public Library that had several passages not printed in the American version. I would love to see both versions printed again, at least so I can retire my old worn copy and have one without the pages falling out.. and then maybe find out what happened in the German.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
 Great through generations! November 19, 1999
My aunt first owned this book, she gave it to my mother, who gave it to me, and I am 12 years old. We all loved it. It's romantic and exciting, with lots of history. I loved reading about Desiree through her whole life, and meeting Josephine and Napoleon. After I finished this book I went to the Louvre in Paris, and saw pictures of Napoleon's coronation, and Josephine's dress, which was described in Desiree. I loved this book and recomend it to women of all ages!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
As a girl, I had a crush on Napoleon (I know, it is a strange confession). As a teenager, I nurtured those tender feelings by watching Armand Assante play the Emperor in Napoleon and Josephine. And, as a woman, I devoured books about Napoleon's life. How is it then, that I did not hear about DESIREE until I was well into my thirties?
Knowing I sometimes enjoy historical romance novels, my mother recommended Desiree to me. Now that I have read Annemarie Selinko's masterpiece, I would categorize it more as a sweeping historical novel than a romance. True, there are some tender scenes between Napoleon and Desiree (I melted when he sent her the sable to keep her warm), but it is hardly a romance.
The first person narration was a bit annoying at times - and the writer clearly shifted POV several times per chapter, but still, it is well written and amazingly well researched (only a few errors that I could spot, one of which being the mention of inbreeding being the cause of medical problems. This was something that wasn't fully realized or appreciated until the reign of Queen Victoria with her hemophilia passing genes).
Read this book if you enjoy sweeping historicals, especially those set in the Napoleonic time period.
I must confess though, I much preferred Sandra Gulland's novels about Josephine B. They give the reader a good taste of Napoleon, with a far more accurate take on the players of the time. (Selinko, for instance, paints a picture of Napoleon's mother as being hard-working and ever-so-loving, even though that is in contradiction to recent note-worthy biographies about the Bounapartes).
In the end, this book was a great read. I really had a hard time putting it down, despite my few misgivings.

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