To be young, in France, and in love....
Fourteen-year-old Desiree can't believe her good fortune. Her fiance, the 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, Desiree explores the landscape of a young heart torn in two, giving listeners a compelling true story of an ordinary girl whose unlikely brush with history leads to a throne no one would have expected.
An epic best seller that has earned both critical acclaim and mass adoration, Desiree 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.
©1953 Annemarie Selinko (P)2012 Nicole Quinn
"An epic love story...irresistible reading." (Chicago Tribune)
"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)
“Presented as a series of diary entries over the course of her eventful life, Désirée's story not only sheds light on the life of a fascinating woman but also captures in haunting detail some of the century's most extraordinary personalities. Quinn admirably captures Désirée's unique voice at each stage of her life, from teenage petulance and crushing heartbreak to the confident tones of her eventual rise to royalty in the heyday of Napoleon's reign.” (AudioFile)
Through Desiree's eyes we get a glimpse into a fascinating era in history, meet thoroughly engaging characters (who actually lived) while being swept up by a story that is tumultuous, delightful and ultimately satisfying. The performance only enhances the brilliance of the text. It is full, rich and subtle. This should not be missed.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
Love this book. Being a Napoleonic fan I will read anything that has a connection but this book is excellent as it shows another side. Mostly the court life of Napoleon rather than the politics, battles or the man himself. Written as a diary style the story is fiction but based largely on fact. Désirée did exist, was Napoleon's first love and was a big part of his life if not directly. Her husband General/Marshal/Crown Prince Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte - King Charles XIV John; comes off looking rather good. Most of Napoleon's family not so. Even her sister Julie who married Joseph Bonaparte (Napoleon's oldest brother) is not all that well portrayed. Saying this, Desiree isn't portrayed being all knowing and the only 'smart cookie' in the house, she saids herself she is stupid at times. Nicole Quinn narrates this book and she does an excellent job changing from young girl to queen of Sweeden with the right amount of age and style as to not lose Désirée personality. Well worth the money, well worth the time spent listing to. Annemarie Selinko has created a wonderful peace of historical fiction that borders on creative non-fiction very nicely.
I've read this book many times over the past 45 years, and it is one of my favourites. When I saw that it had been recorded as an audio book, I was thrilled, and bought it immediately. However, I feel that the narration has let it down. The delivery is so stilted and pedantic, it was difficult to listen to and it took me some time to get used to it. The various European accents are excellent, but some of the characterisation seem almost ot be caricatures, very strange.
It won't stop me listening to it it again, though, but it will be in spite of the narration, not because of it.
I loved this book, it was rich with history and elements of the time period.
Although its a long listen, I found myself wanting more and more after the book ended. I wanted to listen to the rest of her life story.
I was a bit disappointed with Desiree and how she left her husband and went back to Paris. Considering this novel was based on true points in history of a real person, I cant really blame anyone for her character development.
The novel was dry at points and I found that it dwelled on certain moments in time, that were not relevant to the overall story.
Time period novels are my favourite and this is now among my top 3!
For anyone who like this novel, try listening to Philipa Gregory's novels.
I have not read the print version of this book, however I must say that this has been the most enjoyable audio book I have ever listened to.
Nicole Quinn does an excellent job of all of the performances, it was funny and emotional and she is so excellent at the different voices, you never had to guess who was speaking.
I highly recommend this book to men and women.
I have not read the book, but I was so entertained by the reading of it by Nicole Quinn I am looking forward to re listening!
I loved the depth and richness of all of the characters in this historical Novel. I was stunned by the beauty and depth of the characters.
. Nicole' Quinn's voice is a pleasure to listen to. Her characters all so delicious and delightful.
Desiree herself since the story is told through her diary
You will not be disappointed with this tale nor with the narrator.
Looking more for more books by Annemarie Selinko. This was a fabulous book! Narration was wonderfully done as well.
"Le français pronounced in anglais"
I've liked this book since I first read it in my teens. Sadly, the narrator does not seem to have the faintest notion of French, and her mis-pronunciations are grating on the ear. The Duc d'Enghien comes out as the Duc d'Enghine, and "le jour de gloire" becomes the "jour de glory". These are just two instances. I did listen to the whole book, but would welcome the chance of hearing it properly read.
"Favourite Story, but listen to the sample first!"
Let me start by saying that the story itself gets 5 stars from me - this has been one of my favourite books since I first read it aged about 15, (more years ago than I care to remember) and I think I learned more about this period in history from this book than from any other source.
I was delighted to see it on Audible so bought it with my next credit. Whilst I still very much enjoy the story, I find the narrator's voices/accents irritating, so much so that they detract from my enjoyment. I'm sure this is a personal thing, there will be many of you who don't find it so, but do listen to the sample first to see if you have the same problem. It is for this reason that I've only given it 3 stars - I'd give it two, but I'd hate anyone to think it's not a good story when it is!!
"Good story - shame about the narrator"
I prefer the book version of the story, only because the narration of this book tended to spoil the story. I appreciate at the beginning that Desiree was young, but the narrator became increasingly childlike throughout the book.
A different narrator would have made a better job, when she stopped the whiny accent of desiree and spoke more normally it became easier on the listener.
I have loved this book since I first read it and knowing it was based on real events (although the author has taken some liberties) just made it more interesting.
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