The Second Empress is Second Best

The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's CourtThe Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court by Michelle Moran
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed a number of Moran’s books and The Second Empress was a tolerable piece of historical fiction. It has taken me a few days to work up to writing a review on the book because I have nothing to say about it— either good or bad.

The Second Empress is the account of Napoleon’s second wife. Most people think of Josephine when they the of the Emperor but he had another wife and a son! The story is not exclusively about his second wife… It is more about his sister compared to his second wife.

Three characters tell the story of The Second Empress. The shifting point of view helps the narrative and Moran is smart not to attempt story telling from Napoleon’s point of view.

From the historical perspective, the book seems rushed… It does address much of Napoleon’s rise or his fall– slight glossing over of Russia and his escape from Elba.

This is a quick read worthy of a snowy weekend or a lazy beach read… Nothing more. But, in that category it’s very solid!

I don’t think it’s Moran’s best work. I preferred her books on Cleopatra’s Daughter and Madame Tussaud. This was a little weak, but in terms of story telling seems on par with The Heretic Queen.

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