The Queen’s Fortune
A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire
A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleon’s heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of history—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor’s Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi.
As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and it’s fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.
A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister Julie marries his brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon’s futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying courtship that leads to a secret engagement, they vow to meet in the capital once his career has been secured. But her newly laid plans with Napoleon turn to sudden heartbreak, thanks to the rising star of Parisian society, Josephine de Beauharnais. Once again, Desiree’s life is turned on its head.
Swept to the glittering halls of the French capital, Desiree is plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling class, becoming further entangled with Napoleon, his family, and the new Empress. But her fortunes shift once again when she meets Napoleon’s confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. As the two men in Desiree’s life become political rivals and military foes, the question that arises is: must she choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation and its Emperor?
From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris and Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of the rise and fall of an empire, navigating a constellation of political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Emerging from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts and her heart.
Allison Pataki’s meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire.
Praise for The Queen's Fortune
“This impeccably researched, expertly rendered historical from Pataki gloriously recreates the personal dramas surrounding Napoleon Bonaparte…Pataki’s skill in chronicling Napoleon’s transformation from an idealistic young soldier to a ruthless, callous leader drives the story, and her sumptuous scenes allow the reader to easily examine the political machinations and extreme luxury of the monarchy.”
– Publishers Weekly
“I absolutely loved The Queen’s Fortune, the fascinating, little-known story of Desiree Clary—the woman Napoleon left for Josephine—who ultimately triumphed and became queen of Sweden.”
– Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Roses and Lilac Girls
“In The Queen’s Fortune, Allison Pataki chronicles Desiree, the secret lover of Napoleon Bonaparte. When Napoleon chooses Josephine over her, the heartbroken Desiree finds herself entangled with Napoleon, Josephine and the new ruling class. Pataki deftly weaves a tangled web of passion, deception and intrigue, set against one of the most tumultuous periods in history, making for a heady cocktail which readers will devour.”
– Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
“History, romance, and the dangerous intrigue of revolution combine to make coming of age a high-stakes game in Allison Pataki’s richly reimagined account of a woman seeking not only to manage her circumstances but to triumph over them and rise to the throne of a country that will become her own. This was a piece of history I knew very little about. Pataki’s latest effort brings a fascinating time and place fully to life.”
– Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
“Allison Pataki is a masterful historical author at the top of her game. From the very first lyrical lines of The Queen’s Fortune, I was wholly swept into the entrancing world of Desiree Clary Bernadotte. Painstaking research and page-turning prose placed me directly at the side of this remarkable yet lesser-known figure, journeying from innocent girlhood to seasoned royalty, a survivor of guillotine threats, palace politics, and strains of the heart. I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end.”
– Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday and The Edge of Lost
“It’s not everyone who’s jilted by Napoleon and winds up queen of Sweden. Allison Pataki provides an intimate portrait of a tumultuous time—and of an ordinary woman who captivated two of the great men of her day and became the mother of a dynasty.”
– Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Country
“Allison Pataki brings the story of Napoleon’s first love, Desiree Clary, out from behind the shadow of Napoleon and Josephine’s love affair. With fascinating insight into the lives of Napoleon and the Clary sisters, Pataki weaves a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and family loyalty. Desiree’s story leads us from her origins as a merchant’s daughter in pre-Revolutionary France through the intrigues of the Napoleonic era, and ends with her becoming the ancestress of the Swedish royal family. We can learn so much from the wonderful strong voices of women in history, finally being heard and inspiring us today. The Queen’s Fortune is an enthralling tale, and one I thoroughly recommend.”
– Sarah, Duchess of York
“Allison Pataki weaves a glittering spell around the mythical affair between Napoleon and Desiree. This enterprising young woman rose to the heights of glamour as Napoleon carved his path to power. Pataki imbues their fateful story with the yearning of a country reeling in the aftermath of a savage war and with the fierce heart of an ambitious girl who must survive at any cost.”
– C. W. Gortner, bestselling author of The Romanov Empress