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The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It | [Tilar Mazzeo]

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life for the first time the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming---after her husband's death---the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured.
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Publisher's Summary

Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes glamour, style, and luxury. But who was this young widow - the Veuve Clicquot - whose champagne sparkled at the courts of France, Britain, and Russia, and how did she rise to celebrity and fortune?

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life for the first time the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming - after her husband's death - the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world's first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

Although the Widow Clicquot is still a legend in her native France, her story has never been told in all its richness - until now. Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, The Widow Clicquot provides a glimpse into the life of a woman who arranged clandestine and perilous champagne deliveries to Russia one day and entertained Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte on another. She was a daring and determined entrepreneur, a bold risk taker, and an audacious and intelligent woman who took control of her own destiny when fate left her on the brink of financial ruin. Her legacy lives on today, not simply through the famous product that still bears her name, but now through Mazzeo's finely crafted book.

As much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered woman, The Widow Clicquot is utterly intoxicating.

©2009 Tilar J. Mazzeo; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Told in a light and graceful style that is just right for its subject.... [I]t's a fascinating trip, made even more so by Ms. Mazzeo's charming cameo appearances as a kind of tour guide....an intoxicating business biography." (The Wall Street Journal)
"If you like champagne, The Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo is definitely worth a drink." (Associated Press)

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  •  
    Anne Lawrence, KS, USA 04-29-09
    Anne Lawrence, KS, USA 04-29-09 Member Since 2004
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    "A painful listen"

    I am about to tear out my hair because this audiobook is so poorly written and narrated. The author's method of "imagining" what her characters "must have" seen, thought, and felt is very distracting and certainly undermines her credibility. Similarly, she goes over the same information many times...WHY?? The narrator, Susan Erickson, makes the experience of listening to the book even more painful by coming to a full stop before each French name or word and then s l o w l y pronouncing it phonetically. AWFUL! TERRIBLE!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Sebastopol, CA, USA 04-28-09
    Sam Sebastopol, CA, USA 04-28-09
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    "A charming story, fluffed with history"

    I had some grievances with this book; the author did not seem to have a refined, strong writing style and at times the author's wine knowledge is inaccurate and severely wanting. Some of the narrators French pronunciations caused me to cringe I enjoyed the fluid narration and found the story entertaining and engaging. I would not recommend this to a French wine connoisseur but it is worthy to amuse any who have moderate affections for wine and/or history. All in all; well worth a credit.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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