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General & world history
The Second Empress is set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, with Emperor Napoleon as the new head of state. Written in narrative from three different points of view, readers will experience the trials and tribulations of the French court through the eyes of Marie-Louise, the second Empress, Pauline, the Emperor's ambitious sister, and Paul, the Haitian servant.
The plot begins with 18 year old Marie-Louise, daughter of the King of Austria, learning that the French Emperor was demanding to marry her. Caught between having to protect his country and his daughter, the Austrian King presents Marie-Louise with the terrible decision of either refusing Napoleon and going to war or leaving the man she loves in order to save her country.
Bound by duty and honour, Marie-Louise agrees to marry Emperor Napoleon, and so heads to France. At Napoleon's court, Marie-Louise is bombarded by lavish parties and much more so by all the rivals for Napoleon's affection. Some of these included his first wife Josephine, and his sister Pauline.
Pauline has a singular ambition, to rule alongside her brother Napoleon. Her fierce loyalty to her brother has her convinced that he will one day rise to be a modern-day Pharaoh. In her determination to make this a reality, Pauline makes every effort to undermine Marie-Louise, and convince her brother to divorce her.
Paul, Pauline's Haitian servant provides a third perspective to the story. Watching from the sidelines, he observes the clash between Pauline and Marie-Louise, two of the most powerful women in court. He is caught between his admiration for Pauline and his concern for Marie-Louise.
Meanwhile, Napoleon's empire is becoming increasingly unstable. He desperately needs an heir, and the threat of war in his country seems imminent. When war does arrive, Marie-Louise's family is threatened. The Empress is caught in making difficult choices which will determine her position in history.
The Second Empress was published in 2013 by Quercus.
About Michelle Moran
Michelle is an author, teacher, and avid traveller, who hails from Southern California. She has authored numerous novels including titles like Nefertiti, Cleopatra's Daughter, The Heretic Queen, and Madame Tussaud. Moran received her Master's degree from Claremont Graduate University. During her summers, she spent much of her time traveling and volunteering on archaeological digs. These served as inspiration for her historical fiction novels. Many of her novels have been translated to over twenty languages. Moran's Madame Tussaud, was turned into a mini series in 2011. Michelle recently got married in India.