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Désirée

ISBN: 9781402244025

By: Annemarie Selinko

Published: 10/05/2010

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.

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Description

“An epic love story…irresistible reading.”
—Chicago Tribune

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 is a fascinating panorama, from the blood-and-sawdust reek of Robespierre’s guillotine to the final collapse of the Hundred Days.”
—New York Times

What Readers Are Saying

“An absolutely marvelous story about a courageous woman in a difficult time who made difficult choices… one of the best books I have ever read.”

“Désirée seems to come alive when I read, and I become her. This book is so romantic, so colorful and full of adventure.”

“This book has meant so much to so many women.”

“History has never before been as human as it is here, told through the pages of Désirée’s (fictitious) diary.”

About the Author

Annemarie Selinko

Annemarie Selinko was born in Vienna in 1914. She was a successful journalist and novelist. In 1938 she moved to Copenhagen, and subsequently lived in Stockholm, Paris and London, before returning to Copenhagen. She died in Copenhagen in 1986.

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Table of Contents

Part One
The Daughter of a Silk Merchant of Marseilles

Marseilles, at the beginning of Germinal, Year II
(The end of March, 1794, by Mama’s old-fashioned reckoning)            3
Twenty-four hours later                                                                       10
Marseilles, at the beginning of Prairial
(The lovely month of May, says Mama, is almost over)                    28
Marseilles, middle of Thermidor
(Beginning of August, Mama says)                                                   46
Marseilles, end of Fructidor
(Middle of September)                                                                     58
Paris, twelve months later—Fructidor, Year III                                    68
Paris, twenty-four hours—no, an eternity—later                                  76
Marseilles, three weeks later                                                                 89
Rome, three days after Christmas in the Year V
(Here in Italy they still use the pre-Revolutionary calendar: December 27, 1797)                                                                        92
Paris, end of Germinal, Year VI
(Except in our Republic, where everyone calls it April, 1798)            105
Paris, four weeks later                                                                         117

Part Two
Marshal Bernadotte’s Lady

Sceaux, near Paris, autumn of Year VI (1798)                                    129
Sceaux, near Paris, New Year’s Eve
(The last year of the eighteenth century begins)                             142
Sceaux, near Paris, 17 Messidor, Year VII
(To Mama, probably July 4, 1799)                                                 151
Sceaux, near Paris, a week later                                                          152
Paris, 18 Brumaire of the Year VII
(In other countries: November 9, 1799 Our Republic has a new Constitution)                                                                      164
Paris, March 21, 1804
(Only the Magistrates stick to the Republican calendar, and write today: 1 Germinal of the Year XII)                               178
Paris, May 20, 1804
(1 Prairial of the Year XII)                                                             197
Paris, 9 Frimaire of the Year XII
(By the Church calendar: November 30, 1804)                              207
Paris, at night after Napoleon’s coronation
December 2, 1804                                                                         217
Paris, two weeks after the Emperor’s coronation                                233
In a stagecoach between Hanover in Germany and Paris,
September, 1805
(The Emperor has forbidden our Republican calendar My late mama would be pleased—she never could get used to it)              244
Paris, June 4, 1806                                                                              256
Summer, 1807, in a travelling coach somewhere in Europe                261
In our new home in the rue d’Anjou in Paris  July, 1809                   275
Villa la Grange, near Paris  Autumn, 1809                                          284
Paris, December 16, 1809                                                                   292
Paris, end of June, 1810                                                                      303

Part Three
Our Lady of Peace

Paris, September, 1810                                                                       311
Paris, September 30, 1810                                                                  338
Helsingör in Denmark, the night of December 21 to
December 22, 1810                                                                        342
Hälsingborg, December 22, 1810
(Today I arrived in Sweden)                                                          347
In the Royal Palace, Stockholm
End of the interminable winter of 1811                                         351
Castle Drottningholm in Sweden
Beginning of June, 1811                                                                362
Paris, January 1, 1812                                                                         369
Paris, April, 1812                                                                                378
Paris, middle of September, 1812                                                       382
Paris, two weeks later                                                                         389
Paris, December 16, 1812                                                                   394
Paris, December 19, 1812                                                                   402
Paris, end of January, 1813                                                                 411
Paris, February, 1813                                                                          415
Paris, beginning of April, 1813                                                           421
Paris, summer, 1813                                                                           428
Paris, November, 1813                                                                       432
Paris, last week in March, 1814                                                          442
Paris, March 30, 1814                                                                         446
Paris, March 31, 1814                                                                         454
Paris, April, 1814                                                                                456
Paris, middle of April, 1814                                                                477
Paris, early May, 1814                                                                        491
Paris, Whitmonday, May 30, 1814
Late in the evening                                                                        498
Paris, late autumn, 1814                                                                     504
Paris, March 5, 1815                                                                          510
Paris, March 20, 1815                                                                         515
Paris, June 18, 1815                                                                            518
Paris, June 23, 1815                                                                            522
Paris, during the night of June 29–30, 1815                                       525

Part Four
The Queen of Sweden

Paris, February, 1818                                                                          543
Paris, June, 1821                                                                                 549
In a hotel room in Aix-la-Chapelle, June, 1822                                  552
In the Royal Palace, Stockholm
Spring, 1823                                                                                  561
Drottningholm Castle in Sweden
August 16, 1823                                                                             566
Royal Palace in Stockholm
February, 1829                                                                               570
Royal Palace in Stockholm
May, 1829                                                                                      575
My coronation day (August 21, 1829)                                                582
Author’s Note                                                                                    589
Reading Group Guide                                                                        591
About the Author                                                                               595

Excerpt

Marseilles, at the beginning of Germinal, Year II (The end of March, 1794, by Mama’s old-fashioned reckoning)

A woman can usually get what she wants from a man if she has a well-develop...

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Reviews





History is brought alive through the eyes of a woman caught in the middle of it.

Readers will be highly entertained by one of the most comprehensive and detailed novels of Fran...

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Specs

Format: Paperback

Dimensions
Length: 9 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 20.00 oz
Page Count: 608 pages

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