Monday, March 10, 2014

Interview with Ruth Hull Chatlien: THE AMBITIOUS MADAME BONAPARTE

Ambitious Madame Bonaparte banner 
Ambitious Madame Bonap

Ruth Hull Chatlien

Please welcome, Ruth Hull Chatlien!

1- Please tell us a bit about your research and what prompted you to write about Betsy?

My husband and I were fans of the Horatio Hornblower television series in the late 1990s. Then in the 2000s, we discovered an additional four episodes that had been produced much later. The last of those featured Jerome and Betsy Bonaparte. I had never before heard that Napoleon’s brother married an American. When I looked up the facts on the Internet, I discovered that Betsy’s real life was far more interesting than the snippet shown (and distorted) in the television show. I researched the novel by reading several biographies as well as books about Napoleon, Dolley Madison, the War of 1812, Baltimore architecture, period clothing,and an early excursion to Niagara Falls. I also took a research trip to Baltimore to visit historic homes, Fort McHenry, and the Maryland Historical Society.

2- Could you please share one fascinating or juicy thing about Betsy that is not necessarily in the book, but that us readers would love to know?

Betsy had a Parisian porcelain bourdaloue, a portable chamber pot, that she carried with her on long carriage rides. After Betsy’s death, her grandson’s wife donated it to the Maryland Historical Society, and the curators there didn’t know what it was. Assuming it was a large sauce boat, they put it on display as part of a table setting in a period dining room—until a porcelain expert explained its real purpose.

3- What major difference between Jerome and Napoleon would you say most struck you and why?

Jerome greatly admired Napoleon and wanted to be just like him, but as the spoiled baby of the family, he never acquired the discipline or work ethic that was necessary to become a great military leader or ruler. So Jerome took the easy way out and settled for the trappings of unearned glory. In fairness to Jerome, there’s one other difference I should note. He was a kinder man than his brother.

4- Please share with us any future projects you may be working on- Can we expect more on the Bonaparte family perhaps?

I haven’t ruled out writing another book about the Bonaparte family, but I’m not going to do so right away. I want to avoid being too closely tied to any one period or country. Instead, I see my “brand” as writing about strong women caught up in times of conflict. I’m currently researching another true story, this one about an American woman who was taken captive during one of the most brutal Indian wars in U.S. history. After that, I expect to return to a topic that is connected to France.

Author Ruth Hull Chatlien

on Tour
March 3-12, 2014

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

[historical fiction]
 Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Amika Press, Chicago
ISBN: 978-1937484163
484 pages
Available from 
Amika Press
, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.


As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.[provided by the author]
Ruth Hull ChatlienRuth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.
She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football.


Monday, March 3
Review at Words And Peace
Tuesday, March 4
Review at The Reading Life
Thursday, March 6
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Friday, March 7
Review + Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Sunday, March 9
Review + Giveaway at Just Reviews.
With extra information here.
Monday, March 10
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Tuesday, March 11
Review at Making My Mark
Interview at Enchanted by Josephine
Wednesday, March 12
Review at Chocolate & Croissants

Giveaway WINNER of Mapmaker's Daughter Announced...

The Lucky Winner of THE MAPMAKER'S DAUGHTER, by Laurel Corona



Monday, March 3, 2014


THE MAPMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Laurel Corona (March 4, 2014)
“A close look at the great costs and greater rewards of being true to who you really are. … A pivotal period of history and inspiration” —Margaret George, NYT bestselling author of Elizabeth I
“Sentences of startling, hard-won wisdom leap from the page and command our memories not to forget them.” —Susan Vreeland, NYT bestselling author of Luncheon of the Boating Party
"Amalia is the perfect character through which readers will experience these turbulent times ... Vividly detailed and beautifully written, this is a pleasure to read, a thoughtful, deeply engaging story of the power of faith to navigate history's rough terrain." – Booklist
"Well-researched, evocative, and a pleasure to read” —Mitchell James Kaplan, award-winning author of By Fire, By Water
A sweeping novel of 15th-century Spain explores the forgotten women of the Spanish Inquisition
In 1492, Amalia Riba sits in an empty room, waiting for soldiers to take her away. A converso forced to hide her religion from the outside world, She is the last in a long line of Jewish mapmakers, whose services to the court were so valuable that their religion had been tolerated by Muslims and Christians alike.
But times have changed. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquer Granada, the last holdout of Muslim rule in Spain, they issue an order expelling all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. As Amalia looks back on her eventful life, we witness history in the making—the bustling court of Henry the Navigator, great discoveries in science and art, the fall of Muslim Granada, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. And we watch as Amalia decides whether to relinquish what’s left of her true self, or risk her life preserving it.
Exploring an under-published period in history, The Mapmaker’s Daughter is a sweeping saga of faith, family and identity that shows how the past shapes our map of life.
Laurel Corona is the author of three historical novels, including Finding Emilie (Gallery Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Theodore S. Geisel Award for Book of the Year, San Diego Book Awards. She has taught at San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego, and San Diego City College, where she is a professor of English and Humanities.
Corona is a member of the Brandeis National Committee, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah. She has written over a dozen nonfiction Young Adult books for school library programs, primarily on Jewish topics. She lives in San Diego. Website:
GIVEAWAY of 1 Copy to one very lucky loyal follower of this blog!!
To Enter please leave a comment along with your email address.  For more chances post on any other social site of your choice and come back to post your link,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

INTERVIEW- GIVEAWAY with Marci Jefferson!!

Today I have the great pleasure of bringing to you 
Marci Jefferson
 The Breathtakingly Gorgeous and So VERY Talented, Author of 

 The Book goes on Sale Today- so absolutely perfect for this Valentine Week!

TO ENTER the GIVEAWAY and read this fascinating INTERVIEW, please see:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

France Book Tours Winner Announced




Saturday, January 11, 2014

GIVEAWAY Continues with BECOMING JOSEPHINE Spotlight...

How exciting for me to have read  BECOMING JOSEPHINE- as it is quite obvious that I have a fascination with this icon (you think?).

Today I am participating in FRANCE BOOK TOURS with a post of my own that includes some photos of when I visited Malmaison, and Petite Malmaison- where Josephine spent most of her time.  She so loved entertaining there and caring for her beautiful roses and other flowers.  The place is now being inhabited by a Count who was gracious enough to show me around the grounds and house.  He also gave me a brief lecture on Josephine's nursery...

The long road from Malmaison, to Petite Malmaison (it's quite the walk- be prepared!)

Here is a little passage to Josephine's private garden in Petite Malmaison (it's darling!!)
Unfortunately the grounds were quite a disappointment... enough so that I believe Josephine would be quite triste to see what has become of Europe's most treasured and unique nursery.  As well, the insides are not what I expected - very run down.  In any case, I was told that they were working on scheduling many conferences and events, possibly weddings there.  I suppose that would help by bringing in business in order to upkeep the place.  In any case, here's an original of Napoleon that hangs sad and lonely in the place:

Let me cheer us up with more photos...this time of the very much more elegant Malmaison!

Lastly, I thought you might enjoy this little family tree postcard I picked up at Malmaison as well.  It's the Bonaparte family tree...quite the happy-looking bunch, wouldn't you say (not!)...Poor Josephine.


which highlighted Josephine's life with Heather Webb's amazing book,

If you'd like to win a copy of the book- the GIVEAWAY CONTINUES!!!!

Please enter with a comment along with your email address.  
For extra chances post about this giveaway at as many social sites you'd like- just come back and post all links for extra chances.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Becoming Josephine GIVEAWAY Continues with Author Interview: Heather Webb

As part of FRANCE BOOK TOURS, I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Author, Heather Webb. 

              1- What prompted you to write about Joséphine?

The idea for this novel came to me in two parts. I taught a unit about the French Revolution in my high school French classes for several years, which sparked my interest in the time period. Yet despite my teaching, I knew little about Josephine and I “discovered” her later. Ultimately she was a minor player in a sea of France’s most famous and infamous people during the Revolution—at least until Robespierre fell and the Directoire took over the government.

When I began to feel the pull to write a book, I had a dream about Josephine. Strange, but true. From the very first biography I read, I was hooked. Her vivid childhood home, her adaptable nature and courageous spirit had me enthralled. Her rich life story set to the backdrop of the chaotic Revolution and the opulent Napoleonic Empire cinched the deal.

 2- From your research, what have you found most fascinating about Josephine that maybe not everyone is aware of?
There are so many things I love about Josephine—she was a patron of the arts, an enthusiastic botanist, a fashion icon, but the most captivating things about her were her adaptable nature and courageous spirit, as I mentioned before, and her generosity to everyone she knew. I also enjoyed reading about her tumultuous love affairs! As for a few fun facts, Josephine had rotted teeth from chewing on sugarcane as a child. I didn’t reference it much in the novel because as modern readers, I think we would have a hard time viewing her as beautiful, charming woman with teeth like that. Also, Josephine had more jewels than any of France’s queens, as she possessed all of the royal jewels and a smorgasbord of jewelry garnered from the spoils of Napoleon’s wars.

3-Which modern woman of today's time would you most compare to Josephine?

Wow, this is a tough question. I’m not sure I can think of one…maybe a hybrid of Michelle Obama and Madonna. Ha! Just the thought makes me laugh. Perhaps someone more like Angelina Jolie who is beautiful and adored and does a lot of good for people (yet she has a bit of a reputation as a sex kitten as well).

4- Please describe the kind of research that you did for your novel.

I researched for about eight months before I wrote a single word, and then I continued to research in dribs and drabs throughout the entire writing process. I tried to take a comprehensive approach—biographies of important characters, histories of the Revolution as well as those of Martinique, Napoleon’s reprinted letters, primary sources scanned in Google Books, documentaries. I studied art and literature movements from this period, china patterns, fashion, weapons. I could go on. Researchitis is a disease we historical fiction writers suffer from.

5- Do you have any advice for aspiring historical fiction novelists?

One: If you want to be traditionally published, study the trends. Walk through a bookstore and see what’s selling. Sometimes the fact that’s it’s never been done before is a bad thing—it means it won’t sell. Beware of that. You may want to reevaluate your goals. For the record, I didn’t do this before I began Becoming Josephine, but I have since.
Two: I read and research widely, which includes travel, but I am not a historian. I’m a novelist. I grow tired of the constant push and pull between “he/she’s accurate” or “he/she’s inaccurate”—all of the finger pointing historical novelists do to each other. My advice to aspiring writers is to enjoy researching and writing about your topic. Pay attention to detail, but remember that history is far more fluid than what the “experts” say and fiction even more so. What you want is to entertain readers, enflame their imaginations—their hearts! And inspire them to want to read more on a subject. If you’ve managed to do that, you’ve done your job. Readers can consult the many nonfiction books on a given topic until their heart’s content, if they so choose. In other words, don’t get bogged down in every fact and detail. In fact, you will have people tell you that you’re wrong about a particular point, even if you taken it straight from a primary source. It’s happened. 

6- Please tell us of any future projects you may be working on.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much at this time as it’s still top secret. What I can say is it’s a novel about art, love, and the line between obsession and madness set to the backdrop of Belle Époque Paris.
THANK YOU Heather!


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Thursday, Jan 2
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Friday, Jan 3
Review + Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Saturday, Jan 4
Review + Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Sunday, Jan 5
Review + Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Books A To Z
Monday, Jan 6
Review + Giveaway at
Wednesday, Jan 8
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Thursday, Jan 9
Review + Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Friday, Jan 10
Interview at Enchanted by Josephine
Review at Ciska’s Book Chest
Saturday, Jan 11
Special Spotlight at Enchanted by Josephine