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The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  736 ratings  ·  205 reviews
A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleons heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of historyfrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi.

As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Ballantine Books
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Feodora I've loved Annemarie Selinko's "Desiree" ever since I found it way back in 1999 and I read quite a bit about her and her husband

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Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper-arc

Im a huge fan of historical fiction, but not so much of romantic historical fiction. So, it took me a while to warm to this book as the beginning of this book falls more into the latter category. Desiree Clancy is a member of the haute bourgeoisie during the French Terror. A chance meeting with the Bonaparte brothers saves her brother from the guillotine and leads her into a secret engagement with Napoleon. But after he moves to Paris and rises to Commander of the Army of the Interior, he
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

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This is a trashy work of historical fiction that will appeal to readers who like Philippa Gregory, although I'm not sure how closely it ought to be taken at face value. Most of the book consists of Desiree's amusing but cliched "Mean Girls"-style rivalry with Josephine, and alternately waxing prolific about her husband, Bernadotte's, tall, slender figure and tatted chest, while also pining or despairing over Napoleon and wondering What
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely mesmerized by the historical figure Desiree Clary Bernadette, and I cannot wait to share her story with you in February 2020!
Set during a rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Desiree Clary was the first fiancé of Napoleon and later became the Queen of Sweden.
Overshadowed by history, this book sheds a light on her life.

Marseille, France, 1794: During the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, when in need, Desiree meets Joseph Bonaparte. He is interested in pursuing her, but when she meets his younger brother Napoleon, she is intrigued with the rough-mannered but well-read and brisk Napoleon rather than the handsome
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much @randomhouse for sending this book my way! I am huge fan of historical fiction and I devoured this book in just 4 days.

This book centers around Desiree Clary, whom I had never even heard of, during the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. The French Revolution has come to an end and Desiree Clary is introduced to Napoleon Bonaparte as a potential suitor. They fall in love and become engaged, but we all know how that story ends. Napoleon meets the beautiful Josephine and
Amy Imogene Reads
Jan 29, 2020 marked it as to-read
Finally getting around to this beautythis will be my first Napoleon historical fiction. Lets see how it goes?

Thank you to Ballantine Books for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Susan Johnson
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
The wonderful things about books is how they impact our lives in so many ways. In 1966 the book Désirée by Annemarie Selinko was one such book. I was 13, chubby, coke bottle eyeglasses and nerdy when I stumbled onto this book at the library and blithely went to check it out. What could be more romantic to a 13 year old than a book about Napoleon's first love who goes on to be the Queen of Sweden? The librarian refused to let me check it out as "it was too advanced" for my age and proceeded to ...more
Kristina McMorris
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An enthralling story that also taught me an enormous amount about figures and pieces of history I had no idea about -- the best kind of historical fiction! I was thrilled to provide a quote:

Allison Pataki is a masterful historical author at the top of her game. From the very first lyrical lines of The Queens Fortune, I was wholly swept into the entrancing world of Desiree Clary Bernadotte. Painstaking research and page-turning prose placed me directly at the side of this remarkable yet
The Library Lady
Okay, I TRIED to give this the benefit of the doubt, because I'd like to be kind. And perhaps the chutzpah of the author self rating her book a 5 was warranted, because it was that good a book. Never mind that a wonderful classic book had been written about Desiree Clary before. Hell, most of the authors out there right now don't seem to have read a book published before 2010, if that late, in the genre they write. Maybe, just maybe, I'd love it.

Sorry, Allison Pataki, no sale.

About 40 years ago,
Mellie Antoinette
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Desiree Bernadotte lived a fascinating life...or at least the men in her life did. One star down.

This was beautifully written, well researched and ultimately easily readable (up 3 stars)BUT! Desiree herself never takes center stage, a fact that is mentioned by Pataki in the Historical Notes. Plus, get the f* over Napoleon already! My gosh, can we not make any decision besides being a sheep!! 🐑

The fourth star is for that gorgeous 5 star cover. I wouldve liked to see more of Sweden. Idve liked
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I was absolutely mesmerized by the historical figure Desiree Clary Bernadotte. I cant wait to share her story with you in February 2020! ...more
At first, I wasn't certain if this was a historical novel or a romance. Actually it is a bit of both. I knew nothing about French history other than 'A Tale of Two Cities' but a friend of mine from France had told me that certainly wasn't the only revolution in France's history. Of course, I knew of Napoleon, and Josephine, but not much about either.
This book surveys the years 1789 to 1860, a turbulent time in France. At it's center an ambitious young man who wanted to rule the world. His focus
Erika Robuck
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Allison Pataki has done it again.

I chose this book to take on an upcoming trip, but finished it before I left.

THE QUEEN'S FORTUNE is epic historical fiction at its finest. It takes well known history, but deepens and broadens it to encompass undiscovered gems and connections. Like fans of THE CROWN, readers will tack between story and search engine, seeking images and articles on the key players. The greatest tension is wishing to savor the story while racing to finish, and that exists
This book one of those stories that sate my thoughts and transports me to the past, when a young Corsican was breaking hearts and climbing the ranks of the French army, soon to be Emperor of France.

The narrator is Désirée Clary, a one-time fiancée of Bonaparte. Désirée begins her story as a young girl of privilege, daughter of a wealthy silk merchant, to Queen consort of Sweden and Norway. Because Clary despised life at court, she is not an up-front-in-your-face figure in history. Make no
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book immensely. Judging by the synopsis, I first thought that there was more invention than truth to this story. I was amazed to learn that I was wrong. Desiree Clary's journey from a fatherless 16 year old girl in France to becoming the Queen of Sweden and all of the events in between was a fascinating tale.

There was more politics in this book than I cared for, but at the same time, learning more about France and the Revolution couldn't hurt. Overall a great read.

Thanks to
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Queens Fortune by Allison Pataki is an amazing, epic, and thrilling historical fiction piece that tells the story of the very interesting woman, Desiree Clary Bernadotte.

I have to admit upfront that whe I know qyuite a bit of Russian and English history, I know less about French history. Ms Pataki is very talented in that she was able to weave together an amazing story of a woman that was involved with so many important moments in history, yet was under the radar for a majority of them. I
I'm conflicted about how to rate this book. I'm going with 3 stars because, although the writing was very good, it just wasn't a 'page turner" for me. The story really bogged down in places, so much so that I wound up putting the book down to read a different book at least twice. I appreciated learning a lot about the Napoleonic era, which is something that wasn't covered in depth in my education. (I now know why there is an Avenue de Wagram in Paris!) But there were a lot of gaps in ...more
Author Allison Pataki has done it again.
Telling the story of Desiree Clary, who almost became Napoleon Bonaparte's wife before being spurned by him in favor of Josephine de Beauharnais. She later marries his confidant and star general and the two men become rivals. A blurb describes this book as "meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined" - which perfectly describes the wonderful weaving of fact and fiction in this story, the sign of the best historical fiction writers. Pataki's style is
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
'As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and its fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.

A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister Julie marries his brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleons futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying
Tonstant Weader
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
The Queens Fortune is the sixth historical novel by Allison Pataki and the second I have enjoyed. This tells the story of Desiree Clary, the silk merchants daughter who rose to be the Queen of Sweden. Desiree was a charming and beautiful young woman who caught the eye of Napoleon. His brother courted and married her older sister and she became engaged to Napoleon, but when he went off to Paris, he unceremoniously dumped her for Josephine, the love of his life.

She married one of his generals,
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2020; Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine

When a PR agent reached out to me asking if I would like to read this novel, I said sure, without knowing much about the author or novel. I knew it was set during Napoleon's reign in France but wasn't about Josephine. I wasn't even sure at the time, if Desiree was a true historical ficgure. I don't know much about Napoleon other than what I learned in History courses. I thought I would read this novel pretty quickly, despite the
Nicole Varner
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 star historical fiction at its finest. I have read all
of Patakis novels and love they way she seamlessly weaves compelling, historical female figures together with historical events. This was no exception- I absolutely loved this book.
I was completely drawn in by Desirees story, a relatively unknown female character from the period of the French Revolution. She was Napoleons first love- a love that weaves its way through the entire story, tying multiple time periods, generations and monarchies
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-again
WOW. I really enjoyed this book. This is historical fiction. It is a story of Desiree and Napoleon. Right from the start you are rooting for Desiree. It felt like it all could have been real.
Desiree was Napoleons first fiancée. This book takes you through here entire life what she had to endure but also the love that she was able to find. It is so interesting to see the character growth of her and her sister though all the tough times they and the rest of her family had to go through. I will
Diane Standish
Thanks to #ballantinebooks and #netgalley for the opportunity to read #thequeensfortune
The author tells the story of Desiree Clary, who was Napoleon's first love. I never read anything about her, and this was a fascinating tale about her life. Her sister marries Napoleon's brother, and so she remains close to Napoleon as he rises in power. She witnesses his marriage to Josephine and actually becomes a friend to her. Desiree marries Bernadotte, and has a son. He becomes an adversary to Napoleon
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for the first half, two stars for the second half - three stars for the average. This has gotten glowing reviews so far, but I found that it was just okay. I suppose I'm growing tired of authors who focus on a little-known queen and try to cram her entire life into a historical fiction book of 400 pages or so.

Pataki's book is about Desiree Clary, who would eventually become queen of Sweden and before that was engaged to Napoleon. I really liked the first part of the book, which
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always enjoyed both learning about and reading about the French Revolution time period. As a result, Desiree Clary is not an unknown to me. This is the second book I've read about her, and I'll admit that I didn't think it could live up the Annemarie Selinko's Desiree book at first but it really did end up being just as good of a read. The characterizations were excellent as were the historical aspects. The writing style flowed nicely. Desiree was strong willed and an excellent character to ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I received early access to this book (scheduled for publication Feb 11, 2020) in exchange for writing an impartial review. I have read nearly all of Allison Patakis books and am a huge fan. This one however let me down. Its not bad; just not up to the standard Ive come to expect from this author.Three and a half stars is more accurate.

What you have here is a truly fascinating character in Desiree Clary, a little known historical figure who survived Frances Reign of Terror, was briefly engaged to
Mel V
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Who is Desiree Clary Bernadotte? Sadly, Ive never heard of her, but Im so glad that I had the opportunity to read this account of her life. We are introduced to her when she is sixteen and her beloved France is in the midst of a revolution. She meets Napoleon Bonaparte, enters into a courtship with him and becomes his fiancée. But things go south when, climbing the military ladder, Napoleon moves to Paris, leaving Desiree behind until he can secure his career in the army. In Paris, he meets ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own
Set during the French Revolution, Desiree Clary experiences a chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the military prodigy that has quite the personality. When Desirees sister Julie marries Napoleons brother, Desirees and Napoleons lives are forever linked. Desiree and Napoleon engage in a secret engagement of their own, only for Desirees heart to be broken after discovering Napoleon had failed to tell her that he had found a new lover, Josephine de Beauharnais.

While heartbroken, Desiree
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