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"In a league of its own...writing is beautiful and poignant.”— Allison Pataki, NYT Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction "Moving compassion, humor and wit. Highly recommended!”— Sandra Gulland, Author of The Josephine B. Trilogy With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte's real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe's most powe "In a league of its own...writing is beautiful and poignant.”— Allison Pataki, NYT Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction "Moving compassion, humor and wit. Highly recommended!”— Sandra Gulland, Author of The Josephine B. Trilogy With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte's real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe's most powerful man after he's lost everything. A forgotten woman of history--Napoleon's last love, the audacious Albine de Montholon--narrates their tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal. After the defeated Emperor Napoleon goes into exile on tiny St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic, he and his lover, Albine de Montholon, plot to escape and rescue his young son. Banding together African slaves, British sympathizers, a Jewish merchant, a Corsican rogue, and French followers, they confront British opposition--as well as treachery within their own ranks--with sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but always desperate action. When Napoleon and Albine break faith with one another, ambition and Albine's husband threaten their reconciliation. To succeed, Napoleon must learn whom to trust. To survive, Albine must decide whom to betray. Two hundred years after Napoleon's death, this elegant, richly researched novel reveals a relationship history conceals.


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"In a league of its own...writing is beautiful and poignant.”— Allison Pataki, NYT Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction "Moving compassion, humor and wit. Highly recommended!”— Sandra Gulland, Author of The Josephine B. Trilogy With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte's real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe's most powe "In a league of its own...writing is beautiful and poignant.”— Allison Pataki, NYT Best-selling Author of Historical Fiction "Moving compassion, humor and wit. Highly recommended!”— Sandra Gulland, Author of The Josephine B. Trilogy With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte's real attempt to write a novel, Finding Napoleon offers a fresh take on Europe's most powerful man after he's lost everything. A forgotten woman of history--Napoleon's last love, the audacious Albine de Montholon--narrates their tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal. After the defeated Emperor Napoleon goes into exile on tiny St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic, he and his lover, Albine de Montholon, plot to escape and rescue his young son. Banding together African slaves, British sympathizers, a Jewish merchant, a Corsican rogue, and French followers, they confront British opposition--as well as treachery within their own ranks--with sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but always desperate action. When Napoleon and Albine break faith with one another, ambition and Albine's husband threaten their reconciliation. To succeed, Napoleon must learn whom to trust. To survive, Albine must decide whom to betray. Two hundred years after Napoleon's death, this elegant, richly researched novel reveals a relationship history conceals.

30 review for Finding Napoleon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    3.5 stars France, 1769. After losing everything, defeated Napoleon flees to the British shore and pleads with the British politicians to take him in. Instead, they exile him to a remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. On the same ship, there are a few people who remain loyal to Bonaparte. Among them Charles de Montholon with his wife Albine, who becomes Napoleon’s lover. Once on the island, Napoleon is under watchful eye of the British guards as he escaped from the island of Elba in th 3.5 stars France, 1769. After losing everything, defeated Napoleon flees to the British shore and pleads with the British politicians to take him in. Instead, they exile him to a remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. On the same ship, there are a few people who remain loyal to Bonaparte. Among them Charles de Montholon with his wife Albine, who becomes Napoleon’s lover. Once on the island, Napoleon is under watchful eye of the British guards as he escaped from the island of Elba in the past. They want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. He does plot another escape and he needs help. Thus, he befriends certain island’s inhabitants to help him in his endeavor. Once on the island, the pace of the story slows. There are descriptions and dialogue that don’t move the story forward. The premise of the story is interesting. I’ve read other novels about Napoleon and was looking forward to reading this story as this one is uniquely set on the island after his defeat. And the plotting is interesting; I just wished it had a faster pace. The idea of integrating Napoleon’s attempt at writing a novel is interesting too. However, it disrupts the flow. The narrative between Napoleon and Albine is smooth, but once the third narrative of the story written by Napoleon is introduced the flow feels choppy. The story starts strong and I felt connected to the characters initially, but I lost that connection once on the island. If you like stories that take time with descriptions, then you may still find this book engaging. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Napoleon. Now there's a name that comes with some preconceptions. It's difficult to get around the power of history and legend to get a glimpse at the complicated human behind it all, but FINDING NAPOLEON manages it—and manages it beautifully. The book follows Napoleon and his entourage through his final years in exile on the island of St. Helena, a period I had heard about in passing but really knew very little about. There are thwarted escape attempts and intrigue, including an attempted slave Napoleon. Now there's a name that comes with some preconceptions. It's difficult to get around the power of history and legend to get a glimpse at the complicated human behind it all, but FINDING NAPOLEON manages it—and manages it beautifully. The book follows Napoleon and his entourage through his final years in exile on the island of St. Helena, a period I had heard about in passing but really knew very little about. There are thwarted escape attempts and intrigue, including an attempted slave revolt, which I enjoyed enormously. But the real triumph of FINDING NAPOLEON is the creation of Napoleon himself as a complete man: tired, proud, ornery, regretful, determined, resigned. The author brings him to life masterfully. We don't excuse his excesses or missteps, but we start to think we can understand them. The book also makes beautiful use of the conceit of a novel the historical Napoleon started writing in his twenties. It's fascinating to see Napoleon engaging in his own myth-making, while at the same time trying to make sense of his own history as he arrives at the end of his life. As a less-important note, I am now obsessed with the character of Cipriani and will need to do my own side research into this quirky and suspicious man. Historical fiction fans and Napoleonic enthusiasts will love FINDING NAPOLEON. I did!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg is an excellent historical fiction novel that depicts the last few years of Napoleon’s life in exile on St. Helena, his little-known and rumored last love Albine de Montholon, and an extension of a partial manuscript that was written by the man himself (Clisson). This novel is beyond thought-provoking, unique, and honestly stunning. It is ingenious the way the author was able to take fact, fiction, and create a novel within a novel to bring us an impressive Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg is an excellent historical fiction novel that depicts the last few years of Napoleon’s life in exile on St. Helena, his little-known and rumored last love Albine de Montholon, and an extension of a partial manuscript that was written by the man himself (Clisson). This novel is beyond thought-provoking, unique, and honestly stunning. It is ingenious the way the author was able to take fact, fiction, and create a novel within a novel to bring us an impressive piece of work. I only know a few things about Napoleon. I have read books depicting his first loves, but I have never read anything quite like this. It is a wonderful story that kept me enthralled throughout. The author clearly has a passion for the subject and has done her research. What shows is a love-infused gift to the reader that has fiction, historic facts, ill-fated romance, passion, intrigue, and finality. I enjoyed reading the Author’s Note at the end to give me ideas in what was real, what was elaborated on, and what was added in which to create a stunning narrative. 5/5 stars Thank you EW and She Writes Press for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/6/21.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chelsie

    This was a fascinating novel. I did not know much about Napoleon before reading this book, and although it is historical fiction, I learned a lot. I also really loved how the author wrote about St. Helena Island. It doesn’t sound as bad as what Napoleon had felt about it, although I guess it would be different if you were extradited to a place, versus going for pleasure. Napoleon is extradited to St. Helena Island, which is located in the South Atlantic, thousands of miles from any other land. It This was a fascinating novel. I did not know much about Napoleon before reading this book, and although it is historical fiction, I learned a lot. I also really loved how the author wrote about St. Helena Island. It doesn’t sound as bad as what Napoleon had felt about it, although I guess it would be different if you were extradited to a place, versus going for pleasure. Napoleon is extradited to St. Helena Island, which is located in the South Atlantic, thousands of miles from any other land. It took weeks by ship to get there. Napoleon and an entourage that went with him all unload and soon took over the island. He was quickly found a place to live, and it was changed to accommodate his wishes for the time being. Meanwhile, he is writing his romance novel that he had started, that no one knew about and often thinks about how to back to the mainland and to get his son back. After this, it seems his life in a way fell apart. There are rumors he took on a mistress which caused heartache and pain in that he was never sure if he could trust her or not, but his heart had fell for her. He often was not sure who of his entourage he should trust and was worried about being poisoned or done in by someone. He seemed to be a bit of a self loather, but yet was consumed on how to get back to his son and mother. It was kind of sad, how he had to live out the rest of his life, although he brought it upon himself. I really enjoyed reading this novel, and would be interested in reading more about Napoleon’s younger years. He seemed to be a man of feelings, but also a man of war for what was right. I really enjoyed reading about the various people of St. Helena’s island and about the island itself. Thank you to She Writes Press for the free novel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Finding Napoleon is a fictionalized account of the final days of Napoleons second reign and subsequent exile, until his death. In addition to expanding on what is widely known or believed regarding his affairs and relationships, it takes an in depth look at what life on Sainte Helena was like. It also included the story of Clisson, a novel Napoleon had started to write but never actually finished. I really enjoyed this book and it makes me want to study Napoleon more, including his first wife Jos Finding Napoleon is a fictionalized account of the final days of Napoleons second reign and subsequent exile, until his death. In addition to expanding on what is widely known or believed regarding his affairs and relationships, it takes an in depth look at what life on Sainte Helena was like. It also included the story of Clisson, a novel Napoleon had started to write but never actually finished. I really enjoyed this book and it makes me want to study Napoleon more, including his first wife Josephine and especially his son. I really liked that although this book has been fictionalized, it’s not outrageously so. The point of view given by Albine, Napoleons final mistress, is complex in how easy it is to hate her; she’s a liar, a thief, and generally is only looking out for herself. With that in mind, I really liked reading her chapters and understanding what made her the way she was. This book also hit home the fact of, when you’re on top of the world, everyone has their knives pointing up at you. There is no way to discern the traitors from your friends and at that point, you just have to guess and hope you chose correctly. Even if you’re Napoleon Bonaparte, the lesson is true all the same. My favorite quote from the book is about the slavery in use on Saint Helena; at least in the book, it is one of Napoleon’s everlasting regrets. After being gifted a straw hat made by a slave, Napoleon says “No price can be placed on a slave’s labor freely given” regardless of whether Napoleon actually said this or not, this quote resonated with me. Overall, I really liked the historical aspects of the book while still involving romance and action. The book was easy to read and enjoy. Around the middle of the book, the pacing really slows down, however. ARC was provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Margaret Rodenberg brings us a story of Emperor Napoleon’s defeat and his exile on the Island of Helena in what is still, consider to this day, one of the most remote Island on earth. Finding Napoleon is about his final years and his plot to escape the Island and rescue his son. While on the Island, trust in the people surrounding him is quite the skill to say the least. In the beginning, I felt as if the characters were moving parts in a play. Told where to stand, what to say and when to say it. Margaret Rodenberg brings us a story of Emperor Napoleon’s defeat and his exile on the Island of Helena in what is still, consider to this day, one of the most remote Island on earth. Finding Napoleon is about his final years and his plot to escape the Island and rescue his son. While on the Island, trust in the people surrounding him is quite the skill to say the least. In the beginning, I felt as if the characters were moving parts in a play. Told where to stand, what to say and when to say it. I’m not sure that makes much sense but, in better words, I felt very little for them and that very well may be the point. Napoleon was using them and they were using him. We aren’t meant to have warm and fuzzy feelings for these people. They weren’t exactly pillars of society in terms of being moral and honest people. In my opinion, they were opportunist. As for the people of the Island, Tobyson, Hercules and Betsy were good people and despite Napoleon’s faults, they held him in high regard. While Napoloen’s love affair with Albine wasn’t particularly “romantic”, I felt the author’s portrayal of their relationship realistic. That said, I still haven’t completely decided how I feel about Albine or her relations with Napoleon for that matter. Afterall, she was a married woman and I don’t say this with naivety. I’m well aware of the culture during that time. Maybe she felt she had to do what she did for survival. Albine is a complex woman and people considered her a liar and a loose woman. Though many of the very people who said those things about her, were no better. In the end, she made good on a promise to Napoleon and I had to admire her for that. I would like to believe that leaving that Island and her changed circumstances in life, made her a better person in the end. I feel Rosenberg depicted Napoleon’s ego as how I have always imagined it to be. Napoleon is intelligent and he very well knows it. He is always scheming and, in my opinion, using people for his own purpose and pleasures. He was a master manipulator. Despite his thirst for his own glory or survival-if you will-I found his interest in the world and how things worked intriguing to read about. He is a good listener and you do see a softer side to him in this story but I remain-rightfully so- suspicious of his motives. I’ve read many novels about Napoleon but very little of his time on St. Helena or the end of his life in-depth such as this one. Nor was I familiar with the fact he began to write a story that was unfinished. That was exciting to learn and it intrigued me enough to read this book and wanting to know the author’s take on the history. I can’t help but wonder what his life would have been life if he had chosen a different path. He could have possibly done so much good with his intellect and charismatic personality. You are reading two different stories with Finding Napoleon and how Rosenberg beautifully weaves Napoleon’s writing efforts into the time line and expanding on the story, is close to brilliant. I appreciate the author’s obvious fascination with Napoleon. He is definitely a hot topic for discussion and this fact certainly shows in this book. I recommend Finding Napoleon to readers who are already familiar with Napoleon’s life before his stay on the Island. Stephanie Hopkins

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scott J Pearson

    The life of Napoleon Bonaparte provides historical writers with one of the deepest wells of inspiration to dwell upon. His life, beginning as a poor child on the island of Corsica, once extended the French Empire to the far reaches of Europe. Yet it eventually collapsed, and he was sent into exile… twice. Paradoxically, he is associated with liberte, egalite, et fraternite, yet maintained slavery in Haiti for reasons of financial expedience. His love-life is equally storied. Modern writers eithe The life of Napoleon Bonaparte provides historical writers with one of the deepest wells of inspiration to dwell upon. His life, beginning as a poor child on the island of Corsica, once extended the French Empire to the far reaches of Europe. Yet it eventually collapsed, and he was sent into exile… twice. Paradoxically, he is associated with liberte, egalite, et fraternite, yet maintained slavery in Haiti for reasons of financial expedience. His love-life is equally storied. Modern writers either admire or despise him. Perhaps, his greatness is such that he ought to be both admired and despised in the same breath. Rodenberg’s novel seeks to make sense of the last setting of Napoleon’s life – the island of St. Helena in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She weaves together the historical facts into an entertaining, if not somewhat believable, tale. She ties in passionate love, the lust for more power, the hope of escape, enmity for the British, and the desire for a dynasty. In Rodenberg’s telling, Napoleon falls for Albine, a French ex-patriot who was as ruthless and cunning as the Emperor himself. Her life was swept up with the romance of multiple men. She eventually bore a daughter named Josephine Napoleon Bonaparte who was believed to be Napoleon’s and who died due to a difficult sea-borne voyage to Europe. Of course, Napoleon famously died on St. Helena, constrained from gaining imperial rule again. The story itself is worthwhile. I would have liked for it to delve more into psychology, however. Napoleon’s mind had many cross-currents, but I felt that Rodenberg’s story just skimmed the surface. She did not probe into his internal makeup much. Granted, he was a man of action, not contemplation. Albine’s psyche was explored more, but the characters in this novel still come out as somewhat flat. The author does a good job at fitting the narrative to a semblance of historical facts. Yet alas, I left the novel not feeling as though I had really gotten to know the characters much at all, only their dramas. Like Napoleon’s life, this story has many dimensions that can appeal to a variety of audiences. Those interested in history will like learning about the arcane details of Napoleon’s last days; romance readers will find much fodder to dwell upon; feminists might like the resilient and egalitarian character of Albine; those with political interests will like the backdrop of international politics. I suspect this book, a new release at the time of my writing, will find a wide audience – and deservedly so. The dramatic telling of Napoleon’s last days contains many storylines worthy of exploration. Rodenberg’s work unfolds these with imagination and flair.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "Finding Napoleon" is the story of Napoleon Bonaparte as he is defeated and exiled to the small island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic. While he is able to take some of his allies to include his mistress, Albine, and her husband, he is torn from his beloved son, who remains with his cruel wife, Marie Louise. This is a good book infused with a lot of historical detail, a treat for my fellow history lovers. Before reading this book, I was not really familiar with Napoleon's time on St. Helena. "Finding Napoleon" is the story of Napoleon Bonaparte as he is defeated and exiled to the small island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic. While he is able to take some of his allies to include his mistress, Albine, and her husband, he is torn from his beloved son, who remains with his cruel wife, Marie Louise. This is a good book infused with a lot of historical detail, a treat for my fellow history lovers. Before reading this book, I was not really familiar with Napoleon's time on St. Helena. I had read of him getting exiled but I don't believe I had read anything about what his time was like there. In fact, until I read this book, I don't think I had ever looked at where St. Helena was on the map and just how far from home Napoleon was. Once on St. Helena, Napoleon is under the ever watchful eye of the British soldiers who want to prevent another escape like Napoleon carried out on Elba. Napoleon is down but not out and is constantly plotting ways to make his escape and get back to the life he knew and the son he loves. St. Helena comes with its own cast of characters that Napoleon and Albine interact with. I particularly loved Betsy, a young teen who fancies having Napoleon as a friend, and Tobyson, a young boy who always seems to be with Betsy and represents the tension between keeping slaves and allowing for more free men on the island. Although they are secondary characters, every scene with Betsy and/or Tobyson were some of my favorites. They add a lot of light to the book. The book is partially narrated by Albine, which was a really interesting choice. The switching narration between third person and first person when Albine is narrating worked really well and breathed a lot of interest into the book. Another thing that I didn't realize until reading this book is that Napoleon wrote his own fictional book. I loved the inclusion of the "Clisson" passages in the book. You get to see another facet of Napoleon through his writing, which helps to bring some humanity to this larger than life man. The writing of the book is really good. I loved the way the author wrote both the primary and secondary characters and wove them into the narrative. The book has some great bits of world building, particularly once Napoleon arrives on St. Helena. You can imagine what it looks like and what it smells like. The detail is really rich and wonderful. I really enjoyed this debut novel and can't wait to see what Rodenberg writes next!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mariya T (msbookworld)

    I really enjoyed this book. As a history buff I’ve found Napoleon’s life and achievements fascinating, because of their impact on European history. In “Finding Napoleon” we meet a Napoleon, who is in reduced circumstances after the Battle of Waterloo, but who has not truly conceded defeat. In exile on St. Helena, he is accompanied by a select few including Albine de Montholon. Albine is the wife of one of his generals and an aristocratic survivor of the French revolution, who becomes Napoleon’s I really enjoyed this book. As a history buff I’ve found Napoleon’s life and achievements fascinating, because of their impact on European history. In “Finding Napoleon” we meet a Napoleon, who is in reduced circumstances after the Battle of Waterloo, but who has not truly conceded defeat. In exile on St. Helena, he is accompanied by a select few including Albine de Montholon. Albine is the wife of one of his generals and an aristocratic survivor of the French revolution, who becomes Napoleon’s last mistress. While reading this book I found that Margaret Rodenberg did a great job of seamlessly combining the novel begun by a young Napoleon with his time in exile. The novel helps us get a glimpse into the mind of this contradictory man and allows us to better understand his relationship to Albine. Throughout the course of the novel I found myself sympathizing with these characters even though neither are what one would consider to be good people. Albine is very much the product fo the French Revolution. Having narrowly escaped execution, she is left with a severe case of PTSD and a desire for safety that she can never seem to obtain. Throughout the story she is caught between her husband and Napoleon. She loves them both in her own way and both men seek to use her for their own purposes. Though her choices are questionable, I feel bad for this woman who had experiences so many horrors in her life and found herself with few choices. Then there is Napoleon himself. As his novel shows, Napoleon is also a product of revolution. First in Corsica and then in France. Yet while both revolutions espoused radical change neither were ultimately able to fully bring them about. It is little wonder then that while Napoleon sought to overturn the world order he also floundered in the attempt, as exemplified by his actions in Haiti. Meanwhile, his relationship with women seems to be colored by his relationship with his mother. While it may sound Freudian, Albine, Eugenie and his beloved Josephine remind me of how Napoleon describes his mother. All three women use their bodies for advancement and are faithless. Napoleon seems to reject all three, but at the same time is helplessly drawn to them. Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5. The plot is engaging and the author does a great job of getting the reader to sympathize with the main characters. I found the ending very poignant and a perfect way to end this story. If you enjoy reading about history then I think this is definitely the book for you. For more reviews like this check out my blog at reviewsbym.com

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alison Southward

    I enjoyed this book - I found it interesting to read a story of the period from Napoleon's point of view and that it was set at the time of his exile to St Helena. I found 'Finding Napoleon' to be an accomplished piece of writing. The story was told by different narrators changing smoothly from Albine, Napoleon's mistress, to that of Napoleon himself throughout the story, which was also cleverly interwoven with the novel that Napoleon had started to write when he was younger. The movement between I enjoyed this book - I found it interesting to read a story of the period from Napoleon's point of view and that it was set at the time of his exile to St Helena. I found 'Finding Napoleon' to be an accomplished piece of writing. The story was told by different narrators changing smoothly from Albine, Napoleon's mistress, to that of Napoleon himself throughout the story, which was also cleverly interwoven with the novel that Napoleon had started to write when he was younger. The movement between narrators was easy to follow thanks to the clear chapter headings and the different voices of the narrators were written with confidence. The story begins with a prologue, 'written' by Albine. The direct address to the readers gave Albine her 'voice' and introduced us to the format of the novel; it also, rather neatly, connected the novel to it's conclusion, although that does not become clear until you reach the end of the book. The first few chapters deal with the aftermath of defeat. Leaving France, Napoleon and Albine are each full of plans for their future, each dreaming of being reunited with their sons, little dreaming of the exile which would be imposed upon the Emperor and which Albine would chose to share. Once St Helena is reached, both Napoleon and Albine each learn to adapt to their circumstances, trying to maintain control, and even making the best, of any situation to ensure they are in the best possible position to escape. Gradually, for Napoleon, the possibilities to escape fail or diminish and his failing health, means the final outcome cannot be avoided. However, the book does not end with Napoleon; I was extremely pleased to be able to read on and continue Albine's story and also that of Napoleon's (fictional) devoted servant, Tobyson, who eleven years later is able to take on Napoleon's mission to make contact with his son and nephew back in Europe, bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion. As well as the satisfying ending to the book, the author provides the reader with a thorough Author's Note giving historical facts and details about the characters involved, which I was very grateful for, and found fascinating. I received a free, no obligation, copy of this book from The History Quill Book Club, and can thoroughly recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jazz

    This book is a well researched, incredibly creative, remarkable and tragic story of the final days of the man whose name rules history. Unlike the most highlighted years of his life, the conflicting politics under his rule, this book introduces us to an older Napoleon in exile sans title, power and followers. Far away in the remote island in the company of a handful of people who called themselves his followers, he reflected on his life, battles, losses and betrayals. He planned and plotted many This book is a well researched, incredibly creative, remarkable and tragic story of the final days of the man whose name rules history. Unlike the most highlighted years of his life, the conflicting politics under his rule, this book introduces us to an older Napoleon in exile sans title, power and followers. Far away in the remote island in the company of a handful of people who called themselves his followers, he reflected on his life, battles, losses and betrayals. He planned and plotted many failed escapes with the help of locals including African slaves, a merchant and his long time friend Francesco Cipriani. I loved the part where Napoleon accepted a straw hat from a slave and understood its priceless value.  Here we learn of his final love affair with Albine de Montholon, faded in the pages of history. As we move through Napoleon's thoughts we can sketch Albine as selfish, a liar, and a thief. But when we read her chapters we understand the dimensions between which her motives and actions stretched. Albine understood the Emperor better and loved him with respect. However, they had different worlds to enter outside of the cage of St. Helena. If only circumstances were different there love could have been unconditional. But in a revolutionary world, constancy is a challenge, and betrayals are helpless actions. Overall, I loved the story telling, all the characters, actions, love and the historical events intertwined with fiction. Rodenberg has immaculately weaved the incomplete pieces of Napoleon's novel, filling gaps and creating an epic story resonating with the disposition of the Emperor, thus, bringing the man behind the title to life. Finding Napoleon catches the man behind the fearless Emperor - lonely, skeptical and helpless. It envisions an understanding of his character and the passions that drove him to his actions. I would definitely recommend this book to all Historical Fiction lovers and those looking for a great piece of literature. Thank you Netgalley and She writes press for this amazing arc.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawna

    Before reading this I did not know much about Napoleon Bonaparte. I love a good historical fiction novel that brings you into a story with richly drawn characters and enough history that you learn something. While this book is beautifully written it is a chore to get through. This novel is slow moving and I found myself dreading it. It follows Napoleon during his final days as Emperor and his second exile on St. Helena until his death. A few “trusted” confidants join him on the island, including Before reading this I did not know much about Napoleon Bonaparte. I love a good historical fiction novel that brings you into a story with richly drawn characters and enough history that you learn something. While this book is beautifully written it is a chore to get through. This novel is slow moving and I found myself dreading it. It follows Napoleon during his final days as Emperor and his second exile on St. Helena until his death. A few “trusted” confidants join him on the island, including Albine de Monthlon and her husband. Napoleon and Albine begin a love affair, but it’s not as advertised. It’s basically two people with no other options while trapped on an island together. Albine is a quick witted but desperate woman who has been handed a bad hand in life. She truly cares for the Emperor and dreams of him retaining his greatness with her by his side. One major obstacle is Albine’s husband who is playing both sides in a deadly game of espionage. Between the alternating chapters of Napoleon’s and Albine’s points of view is Napoleon’s long lost manuscript, Clisson, which is loosely based on Napoleon’s own life. While these chapters were more entertaining than the Napoleon and Albine chapters they were still filled with unlikeable characters. The problem with this novel is the characters themselves. Not one of them is likable. They are all horrible, narcissistic people who are only looking out for themselves. I feel the author did the best she could with the material she had at her disposal. The novel is well researched and the writing is poignant, but the subject matter was just not for me. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bostrom

    Oh my. This book. Born from a secret manuscript. At age 26, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote the scant twenty pages—and kept "Clisson" hidden all his life, even carrying the seedling story with him into his final exile on the island of St. Helena. When author Margaret Rodenberg learned of the story’s existence in 1999, she began a passionate research journey that carried her through decades and across tens of thousands of miles. Her goal: to flesh out the infant narrative about a young Napoleon and overla Oh my. This book. Born from a secret manuscript. At age 26, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote the scant twenty pages—and kept "Clisson" hidden all his life, even carrying the seedling story with him into his final exile on the island of St. Helena. When author Margaret Rodenberg learned of the story’s existence in 1999, she began a passionate research journey that carried her through decades and across tens of thousands of miles. Her goal: to flesh out the infant narrative about a young Napoleon and overlap it with an intimate, imagined retelling of the deposed emperor’s final years. And wow, does she ever do it well. Start to finish, the book is fascinating. Memorable. The characterization is superb, the well-paced storyline infused with betrayal, intrigue, tender love, and bawdy realities. With true artistry, the author gave me access not only to the brilliant mind and heart of Napoleon, but also to his resilient, wounded mistress Albine and his devoted protégée Tobyson, along with the settings that restricted, expanded, and shaped them all. The story sent me scrambling to learn more—despite the fact that I have never had more than a yawning interest in Napoleon. The author accomplishes what every historical novelist surely hopes to do, as she not only transports her readers into a past age, but awakens the lungs and limbs, thoughts and souls of her characters so profoundly that they live and breathe within inches of those readers. I read an advance digital copy of this book with an opportunity to give it an independent review. I’ve since pre-ordered a hard copy. When it releases on April 6, I want this book on my shelf.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Luc

    It would be hard to argue that to write a novel about a mythical and ambivalent historical figure such as Napoleon, would be no easy feat in any respect, yet Margaret Rodenberg has brilliantly risen to the challenge and successfully managed to give a us a magnificent historical novel about a defeated statesman at the end of his life. A delightful and captivating read from start to finish, the story follows the emperor's life on the island of St Helena and all the political shenanigans surroundin It would be hard to argue that to write a novel about a mythical and ambivalent historical figure such as Napoleon, would be no easy feat in any respect, yet Margaret Rodenberg has brilliantly risen to the challenge and successfully managed to give a us a magnificent historical novel about a defeated statesman at the end of his life. A delightful and captivating read from start to finish, the story follows the emperor's life on the island of St Helena and all the political shenanigans surrounding his court in exile. Deftly narrated by Albine de Montholon, Napoleon's lover, this magnificent and fascinating historical tapestry is full of intrigues, sadness and very accurate details about the demise of the glorious imperial adventure. As we are getting ready overhere in France to commemorate the 200th anniversary of our former emperor’s death in British custody, (despite his mixed legacy and if the dreadful virus allows it) many books are getting published about the Empire's twilight years. But Ms. Rodenberg's very accomplished fictional account of Napoleon's later years has been the first one I have had the pleasure to read in English. It's perfect and it should be enjoyed without moderation. C'est sublime👏👏 Many thanks to Netgalley and She Writes Press for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful novel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marija

    Rodenberg’s novel offers an interpretation of Napoleon’s final years—from his loss at the Battle of Waterloo to his final days of exile at St. Helena. The book is effectively a remembrance of things past, as Napoleon reflects upon his fragmentary novella Clisson et Eugénie. Discussions of prosperity and success, family, friendship and loyalties among brothers in arms, loves and betrayals abound. There’s upset, hope for change, understanding and a final acceptance. The scenes involving Napoleon a Rodenberg’s novel offers an interpretation of Napoleon’s final years—from his loss at the Battle of Waterloo to his final days of exile at St. Helena. The book is effectively a remembrance of things past, as Napoleon reflects upon his fragmentary novella Clisson et Eugénie. Discussions of prosperity and success, family, friendship and loyalties among brothers in arms, loves and betrayals abound. There’s upset, hope for change, understanding and a final acceptance. The scenes involving Napoleon and his novella are counterbalanced by the story of Albine de Montholon, Napoleon’s mistress. Like one of Balzac’s later heroines, Albine is a woman of ambition, chasing money and recognition through deception. Some of her wily deeds are tempered by a maternal drive; however, her drive for survival keeps that underlying hardness ever present. Readers who’ve studied French history and know the story of Napoleon and his relationships may find some inconsistencies in this fictional interpretation, however. For instance, there’s no mention of Albine’s other daughter, or her other two sons (she had three). Also, the story’s progression may confuse some readers, as years may pass from one chapter section to the next. The sections told from Napoleon and Albine’s points of view don’t include introductory dates, unlike the sections detailing Napoleon’s novella.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lori Larsen

    A well-thought out and researched novel portraying the life of Napoleon after his second exile to the island of St. Helena. Rodenberg does a magnificent job of weaving a story of an older Napoleon reflecting on his life and being enlightened to his triumphs, his mistakes, and his losses— with his writing of a novel that he carried with him since he was in his 20s. The real novel, incomplete at Napoleon’s death, is woven throughout the story as Napoleon works on it’s completion primarily with the A well-thought out and researched novel portraying the life of Napoleon after his second exile to the island of St. Helena. Rodenberg does a magnificent job of weaving a story of an older Napoleon reflecting on his life and being enlightened to his triumphs, his mistakes, and his losses— with his writing of a novel that he carried with him since he was in his 20s. The real novel, incomplete at Napoleon’s death, is woven throughout the story as Napoleon works on it’s completion primarily with the help of his love, Albine de Montholon, a young girl named Betsy, and the young slave that became a son to him over the years, Tobyson. The author has filled in the blanks of Napoleon’s story, using research, and keeps the transitions between his words and hers virtually seamless. There are so many interesting characters that share life on the island and the story makes you want to learn more. Always make sure to read the Authors Note— lots of great information and backstory there. It was very interesting to read about the research, the real and fictional characters and aspects of the book, and the history. Thanks to NetGalley and She Write Press for this ARC. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Drawn from real characters and events, this Historical Fiction novel is about Napoleon at different stages in his life, much at St. Helena. I always wonder how characters were/could be like in different relationships Catching personal glimpses is fascinating. The author imagines how things could have transpired through different characters' perspectives, mostly those of Napoleon and Albine as well as integrating the Clisson story, the unfinished novella by Napoleon of which I knew very little. S Drawn from real characters and events, this Historical Fiction novel is about Napoleon at different stages in his life, much at St. Helena. I always wonder how characters were/could be like in different relationships Catching personal glimpses is fascinating. The author imagines how things could have transpired through different characters' perspectives, mostly those of Napoleon and Albine as well as integrating the Clisson story, the unfinished novella by Napoleon of which I knew very little. Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is. Albine was Napoleon's last love but to me the romance lacks depth so feels a bit flat. The historical aspects are my favourite part of the book and obviously well researched. What didn't work for me was that the story didn't seem to push forward. I liked it but sadly didn't love it, especially Albine's choices. But that's just me. My sincere thank you to She Writes Press and NetGalley for the eARC!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Reeca Elliott

    Napoleon has been defeated and he is on the run. He and his lover, Albine, plus a few more of his trusted entourage, are exiled on a tiny island. This does not stop Napoleon from plotting and planning to escape, save his son, and become emperor again. But treachery is all around and Napoleon must decide where to turn and whom to trust! I have not read very many books about Napoleon or books set in this time period. So this was a unique read for me. This is very well researched but the writing fel Napoleon has been defeated and he is on the run. He and his lover, Albine, plus a few more of his trusted entourage, are exiled on a tiny island. This does not stop Napoleon from plotting and planning to escape, save his son, and become emperor again. But treachery is all around and Napoleon must decide where to turn and whom to trust! I have not read very many books about Napoleon or books set in this time period. So this was a unique read for me. This is very well researched but the writing fell a little short for me. It almost was a little too basic. But, don’t let this stop you! It is a different story and I enjoyed it! This story has a wonderful setting and fabulous twists and turns. Need a unique historical fiction book with a fabulous cover….THIS IS IT! I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    RjS

    I thought this book was fascinating and very well-researched. (I love books with Author’s Notes at the end!) I enjoyed the conceit of ‘the novel within the novel’ and found both of them intriguing. I didn’t find the interweaving of the two narratives distracting. I believe it was a very clever device as it enabled the author to create a more rounded picture of Napoléon - not just the older exile but also the enthusiastic young man, just starting on his life. The story was eventful but also thoug I thought this book was fascinating and very well-researched. (I love books with Author’s Notes at the end!) I enjoyed the conceit of ‘the novel within the novel’ and found both of them intriguing. I didn’t find the interweaving of the two narratives distracting. I believe it was a very clever device as it enabled the author to create a more rounded picture of Napoléon - not just the older exile but also the enthusiastic young man, just starting on his life. The story was eventful but also thoughtful as Napoleon reflects on his life and the people he has known. He has always been a bit of a hero to me and this book reinforced my positive opinion of him as a person. The author obviously also feels the same way as I do about the Eaglet - such a sad story. Five stars for sure. This truly was a labour of love and I’d like to thank the author for writing it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Finding Napoleon is about his last mistress Albine de Montholon. The book is mostly narrated by Albine, but obviously when she isn't around Napoleon must narrate his parts. There is also sections of the actual novella that Napoleon wrote, Clisson and Eugenie. I seem to be in the minority on this book, it was just okay for me, I never did feel pulled in and there were actually times I didn't really even want to continue reading. It felt formulated and predictable, and I never felt emotional about Finding Napoleon is about his last mistress Albine de Montholon. The book is mostly narrated by Albine, but obviously when she isn't around Napoleon must narrate his parts. There is also sections of the actual novella that Napoleon wrote, Clisson and Eugenie. I seem to be in the minority on this book, it was just okay for me, I never did feel pulled in and there were actually times I didn't really even want to continue reading. It felt formulated and predictable, and I never felt emotional about the characters. Not every book is for everyone, but I do hope others truly enjoy it, read what you love. Thank you #NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to give my voluntary and honest opinion on #FindingNapoleon.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Roberts

    Flipping between the perspectives of Napoleon Bonaparte & Albine de Montholon during his exile on the island of Saint Helena. This book takes on the final years of Napoleon's life after he's lost it all including plots to escape, betrayal & passion. For such a famous name I know next to nothing about Napoleon Bonaparte and Finding Napoleon sent me down the Google rabbit hole to know more. I loved the Clisson story that is also woven into this book. That the author took a real tale Napoleon had w Flipping between the perspectives of Napoleon Bonaparte & Albine de Montholon during his exile on the island of Saint Helena. This book takes on the final years of Napoleon's life after he's lost it all including plots to escape, betrayal & passion. For such a famous name I know next to nothing about Napoleon Bonaparte and Finding Napoleon sent me down the Google rabbit hole to know more. I loved the Clisson story that is also woven into this book. That the author took a real tale Napoleon had written and made it her own was so clever. I think it would have been interesting to have more perspective from the other characters besides Napoleon & Albine. The book at times also felt a little long but the authors note at the end tied everything together for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric Grounds

    I received a free copy of this book via The History Quill Book Club. T have always been interested in Napoleon because I went to school in Fontainebleau, where I joined the Club Napoleon in order to study and understand more about this incredible man. Margaret Rodenberg has delivered a very fine, alternative image of the Emperor as a human being. Historically, she is on the button, but even the imaginary characters have a feel of reality. I learned things that I didn't know (and double checked th I received a free copy of this book via The History Quill Book Club. T have always been interested in Napoleon because I went to school in Fontainebleau, where I joined the Club Napoleon in order to study and understand more about this incredible man. Margaret Rodenberg has delivered a very fine, alternative image of the Emperor as a human being. Historically, she is on the button, but even the imaginary characters have a feel of reality. I learned things that I didn't know (and double checked them for accuracy). A most enjoyable read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    KayG

    An interesting account of Napoleon’s later years, with stories of his complicated life, his lovers, and his family. His adventures included sea voyages, as well as life in different lands. As a young man, Napoleon wrote a novel, and author took a most inventive approach in including the surviving parts of this novel along with her own additions. This ebook was given to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Andrews

    This is an engaging well-written novel that held my interest from start to finish. I am not a Napoleonic reader or scholar. Aside from enjoying the story and the characters, the history is fascinating. I fact-checked a number of things and it is spot-on. Margaret Rodenberg is an excellent writer whose novels are enjoyable and rewarding reads. I highly recommend this novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Imaginative and well-told, this is very good historical fiction told by an author displaying her talent for character and story. It felt like the author did her research, and helps the reader feel like they're there at times. Most historical fiction fans will probably enjoy this. I really appreciate the ARC for review!! Imaginative and well-told, this is very good historical fiction told by an author displaying her talent for character and story. It felt like the author did her research, and helps the reader feel like they're there at times. Most historical fiction fans will probably enjoy this. I really appreciate the ARC for review!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mike Torreano

    I just loved this book! Margaret Rodenberg has written a wonderful story about Napoleon's last days in exile. Her characters captivated me as they wound around each other to create a lovely place to escape to. The author's lyrical writing style swept me along with unexpected twists and turns that spiraled to a heartfelt climax. Highly recommended! I just loved this book! Margaret Rodenberg has written a wonderful story about Napoleon's last days in exile. Her characters captivated me as they wound around each other to create a lovely place to escape to. The author's lyrical writing style swept me along with unexpected twists and turns that spiraled to a heartfelt climax. Highly recommended!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marilee Aufdenkamp

    I learned so much about Napoleon from Ms. Rodenberg's outstanding work. Not so much about his military prowess but about who he was as a man. A satisfying read for lovers of historical fiction. Highly recommended. I learned so much about Napoleon from Ms. Rodenberg's outstanding work. Not so much about his military prowess but about who he was as a man. A satisfying read for lovers of historical fiction. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    J Jones

    A well-researched and written novel, about a man with a fascinating life. This interpretation of Napoleon’s story was very believable with fiction weaving itself cleverly amongst true events. A fabulous read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Camarillo

    A fascinating fresh take on history full of love and betrayal. Ms. Rosenberg did rigorous research and brought her characters into real flash and bone. Plus a heroine who is Napoleon’s equal. Highly recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pattie

    Enjoyed this account of Napoleon''s last days. Enjoyed this account of Napoleon''s last days.

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