A sweeping and inspiring novel about the almost-forgotten woman who captivated Napoleon and changed the course of history-from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi. As a beautiful socialite in the south of France, Desiree Clary must leave her privileged life behind when the Revolution roils the countryside and it falls on her to save her family from the guillotine. She finds an unlikely friend in the ambitious young military prodigy Napoleon Bonaparte. And when her devoted sister Julie marries Napoleon's brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon enter into their own passionate, dizzying courtship-one that leads to a secret engagement and an exchange of vows. Yet no one could prepare Desiree for the chaos and heartbreak that await her, and as Desiree makes plans to join Napoleon in the capital, he stuns her by taking up with the rising star of Parisian society, the Creole enchantress Josephine de Beauharnais. Desiree is called to the glittering halls of the French capital and plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling clique, quickly entangled in a complicated relationship with Napoleon, the Bonapartes, and his new wife and empress. Her fate takes another stunning turn when she falls for Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. But when these two men become political rivals and military foes, Desiree must choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation. From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris to the snow-strewn city of Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of an empire rising and falling, navigating a constellation of larger-than-life political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Transforming from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts-and her heart. Allison Pataki's meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history-a woman who not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns. When Desiree is offered the throne of Sweden, will it be the end of her life and those she loves most, or, will it be the beginning of a dynasty to outlast all of the giants around her?
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