What a Wonderful Life!Who doesn’t know Napoleon Bonaparte? He is the legendary that is always remembered by world. His name fill every History book that used at school. He, Napoleon Bonaparte, The Caesar of France who subjugated almost entire Europe, the most powerful Caesar and the one who change world history.He is so famous that everything related to him is interesting, especially his first love, his heroism, and every issue makes people interested.
This book is talking about Désirée, Napoleon’s First Love. Who is she? Is she a wonderful, amazing woman that could make Napoleon fell in love? No, she was just ordinary girl. Not a noblewoman, neither important woman in the country. She was just a daughter of Silk Merchant from Marseilles. Désirée even had been engaged with Napoleon.
Désirée that was written by Annemarie Selinko was divided into four parts. First Part is talking about her early life, as a daughter of Silk Merchant. Second Part is talking about her life as Mrs. Bernadotte. Third Parts is talking about Notre-Dame de la Paix ( Peace Bearer), and the Last Part is talking about her life as Queen of Sweden.
The story was start in 1794 when she was about 14 years old.Her Father, Francois Clary passed away not a long time after She celebrated her 14th Birthday. She, Bernadine Eugenie Désirée Clary that used to be called Eugenie but She liked to be called Désirée lived at the time that Idea of Republic was born.France was not in secure condition. Many people dead on guillotine and it was so easy for people, especially for nobleman to die on guillotine. Yeah, That time was Robespierre Era ( you can search on internet about this era )
Actually, Napoleon was not the one who met Eugenie at the first time, but His brother, Joseph Buonaparte, from Korsika. Eugenie then invited Joseph with his brother to have dinner in her house. Eugenie planned to make Joseph met her older sister, Julie. That dinner was the first time Joseph met Julie, and also Napoleone met Eugenie. Joseph had a poor family that he was attracted to Julie’s brideprice ( at that time,women provided brideprice). Napoleone also attracted to Eugenie (maybe it was also caused by her brideprice). One day , when they had dinner at Eugenie’s house, Napoleone was caught because he was one of some people had connection with Robespierre. Everyone that was related with Robespierre was caught. Eugenie was still faithful to Napoleone. The day before Julie married, Napoleone was released and then he proposed Eugenie.
Napoleone was assigned to Vendee. He was mad and go to Paris to talk to the people of Ministry about his assignment for he was really sure that he must be in Paris. Joseph received some letters from Napoleone but it talked about Eugenie rarely. It forced Eugenie escaped from her house to follow her lover to Paris. She knew the place that Napoleone used to visit. The night she visited that place, the night Napoleon (He changed his name to Napoleon Bonaparte) was engaged with Josephine, widow of Beauharnais. Eugenie was shocked! She planned to suicide, but Thanks God, there was a guy who saved her. That guy then proposed Eugenie (I understand if you said that he was crazy), but he was unlucky for Eugenie refused his propose.
Do you believe fate? 2 people that God decides to be a couple? Fortunately, Eugenie met again with that guy. And again, he proposed her in the front of her sister, brother-in-law and other people. She said yes!
They married and had a wonderful marriage. The guy was Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Jean-Baptiste had knew about the story of Napoleon and his fiancee from Marseilles. He knows the fiancee was Eugenie some days after he met her. Napoleon still loved her! He decided to marry Josephine since Josephine was close to Barras, the most important person in France. To compensate his guilty to that girl, Napoleon ask his friends to propose Eugenie ( It happened before Jean-Baptiste proposed her for the second time), even a guy that had a child!
Part two is talking about her story as Jean-Baptiste ‘s wife . Jean-Baptiste was a faithful husband compared to other husbands at that time, even Napoleon. Though he used to send letters to a woman that he admire ( Désirée sometimes was jealous). Talk about faithfulness of husband, seems that almost every leader or important person in that country has scandal. For example, Napoleone has some scandalsand when he found that his wife slept with another guy, he became mad at his wife (it’s weird I think). Well, back to Eugenie. As wife of Marshal, she had to accept the fact she could not spend every single day with his husband for his husband used to lead war. Even when she gave birth to their son, Oscar, Jean-Baptiste was not there!
Second part is not only talking about how she stand beside her spouse when he had a duty as Marshal, but also as Minister of War and other duties. Since Napoleon is the Caesar of France at that time, Eugine ( as Mrs.Bernadotte) had to do some things related to Caesar. It sometimes made Bernadotte jealous for Napoleon’s love to Eugenie was obvious. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. Yeah, love is never die!
Pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte and Désirée Clary were taken from :