Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Desiree by Annemarie Selinko

October 28th, 2010 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Received for review

Publication date: Reissued October 1, 2010

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Description from

To be young, in France, and in love: fourteen year old Desiree can’t believe her good fortune. Her fiance, a dashing and ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte, is poised for battlefield success, and no longer will she be just a French merchant’s daughter. She could not have known the twisting path her role in history would take, nearly breaking her vibrant heart but sweeping her to a life rich in passion and desire.

A love story, but so much more, Désirée explores the landscape of a young heart torn in two, giving readers a compelling true story of an ordinary girl whose unlikely brush with history leads to a throne no one would have expected.

An epic bestseller that has earned both critical acclaim and mass adoration, Désirée is at once a novel of the rise and fall of empires, the blush and fade of love, and the heart and soul of a woman.

This book is a reprint of the book that was originally published back in the 1950s.  It follows the story of Desiree from when she is a young girl who meets and falls in love with Napoleon Bonaparte and along her journey as she watches Napoleon’s rise and fall from power to her being crowned Queen of Sweden and Norway.  I have only read one other book involving Napoleon and that was just in passing so at first it was disconcerting and interesting to see the different take on what Napoleon and his family were like.  While some parts were fascinating and I could not put the book down I found other parts slow and the book dragged along.  It’s quite the heavy book at about 600 pages long but towards the end I did not want to stop reading.  Initially I disliked Desiree but as time goes on I began to feel sorry for her and the lot she was cast in life.

Selinko writes in the end that while most of the book is based on actual history, she did take some liberties to change things to how she felt history might have really been carried out.  So if you are interested in the time of the French Revolution, Napoleon’s reign and the time following Napoleon’s defeat this is certainly a good book to pick up.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction

2 Responses

  1. iubookgirl

    I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. You’re right about it being a hefty read. I was kind of shocked when I got it and realized it was that long! I found myself wondering how much was fact and how much was fiction when I finished. I didn’t do a lot of research, but found out the Bernadotte dynasty still holds the throne in Sweden!

    My review is here.

  2. dsuzuki

    How cool that the Bernadotte’s are still on the thrown. I was wondering the same thing about historical accuracy and meant to look this up. Going to go check out your review.

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