Saturday, June 15, 2013

Clisson and Eugenie

Clisson and Eugenie is a 1795 romance novella by Napoleon Bonaparte

Clisson is a revolutionary war hero brought down by his enemies. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the capital, he takes a trip to a public bath where he meets two sisters, Amelie and Eugenie. Clisson becomes infatuated with the beautiful Amelie but it is ultimately Eugenie's inner beauty that conquers his heart. The two marry and start a family. Clisson is at peace with his Eugenie.

The war resumes and Clisson is compelled to fight for his country. He is wounded in battle and his friend, Brenville, is sent to reassure Eugenie of Clisson's love and speedy recovery. The two take comfort in their love for Clisson but slowly they fall in love. Heartbroken at his wife's betrayal, Clisson sends one final letter to Eugenie before dying in battle.

I give this story 3/5. The Peter Hicks translation of Clisson and Eugenie is  86 pages long: 30% is the introduction, 40% is the explanation and only 30% is the actually story. The story is rather bland but it had its moments - the ending was especially touching. You don't need to read between the lines to realize the connections in this story to Napoleon's own life (especially his relationship with Desiree Clary). If you're a Napoelon fan, this is the book for you. Otherwise, for the average reader, it won't satisfy your romance sweet-tooth.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Crowned in a Far Country

Crowned in a Far Country; Portrait of Eight Royal Brides is a 2007 book by Her Royal Highness, Princess Michael Kent on eight royal princess who had to leave their country of birth upon marrying and take up life in a foreign court.

Princess Alexandra and Dagmar of Denmark, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia

I give this book a 2/5. I have read HRH Princess Michael of Kent's other book The Serpent and the Moon before and I did not particularly like her writing style - this book in no way changes my mind. The research was shallow and riddled with contradictions - i.e. she says that Empress Eugenie only had one true love and then later talks about how she had two admirers or that Alexandra learned her intense dislike for Germany through her Father and then later says that the Princess of Wales got it from her Mother. HRH also says rather far fetched things such as "the Prince Imperial went on a noble mission to conquer a few troublesome African tribes". Shallow and superficial, the connection between these eight women are a loose as the construct of this book.