Jane's Reviews > The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran
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's review
Jun 22, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read in June, 2012

I have to qualify this review first by disclosing how much I enjoy MIchelle Moran. Her books are well written and well researched. This book is not exception. She includes actual letters written by Napoleon and others to help provide background and to give a real feel to what her characters were thinking. Good historical fiction has two elements that, for me, essential for enjoyment. One is the right balance of history and fiction. Too much history can bog down a story; too little can leave the reader confused. At first, this book felt a little light on history. I definitely had questions throughout but some questions were answered by Ms. Moran's additions at the end of the book. The other essential element is that the "fiction" parts of the book are grounded in some reality. Napoleon's relationship with his sister and her desire to rule along side him was, most likely, a result of her hunger for power and less a sexual attraction. But I could be wrong and there is some evidence that Ms. Moran is correct in her depiction of their relationship. I have never read any historical fiction from this period so I was delighted to get a taste of those times and hopefully this book will spark future books.
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