The love between Veuve Clicquot and her husband, Francois. Then, she falls in love with her salesman, Louis Bohne, who asks to marry him. But according to Napoleon Code if she marries, ownership of the winery goes to him. Then, there is Napoleon and Josephine, one of the most famous and enduring love stories on earth. Then why did he divorce her? Find out in CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, $5 off kindle today.
Did you ever hear the shocking and heartbreaking love story of Napoleon and Josephine?
Theirs was the most passionate, confusing, tender, manipulative, and damning love I ever heard of, and I loved sharing it in my new novel CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. Napoleon was obsessed with Josephine, 6 years his elder, a Martinique, and a divorcee with children. He wrote her letters daily from the war fields, begging her to come to him. He wrote to her to his dying day.
Then why did he divorce her and marry someone he never met?
I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures have left my senses no rest.
Sweet, incomparable Joséphine, what a strange effect you have on my heart. Are you angry? Do I see you sad? Are you worried? My soul breaks with grief, and there is no rest for your lover; but how much the more when I yield to this passion that rules me and drink a burning flame from your lips and your heart? Oh! This night has shown me that your portrait is not you!
You leave at midday; in three hours I shall see you.
Meanwhile, my sweet love, a thousand kisses; but do not give me any, for they set my blood on fire.
November 21, 1796
I am going to bed with my heart full of your adorable image… I cannot wait to give you proofs of my ardent love… How happy I would be if I could assist you at your undressing, the little firm white breast, the adorable face, the hair tied in a scarf à la créole. You know that I will never forget the little visits, you know, the little black forest… I kiss it a thousand times and wait impatiently for the moment I will be in it. To live within Joséphine is to live in the Elysian fields. Kisses on your mouth, your eyes, your breast, everywhere, everywhere.
But, then he hears news of Josephine, and writes:
I don’t love you anymore; on the contrary, I hate you. You are a vile, mean, beastly slut. You don’t write me at all; you don’t love your husband; you know how happy your letters make him, and you don’t write him six lines of nonsense…
Soon, I hope, I will be holding you in my arms; then I will cover you with a million hot kisses, burning like the equator.
eBook Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Lion Heart Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Triple-gold-medal-winning author Rebecca Rosenberg serves up a triumphant tale of talent and ambition, love and loss, betrayal and redemption, and accepting yourself and others for who they are.Champagne, France, 1800
Twenty-year-old Barbe-Nicole has inherited Le Nez (an uncanny sense of smell that makes her picky, persnickety, and particularly perceptive) from her great-grandfather, a renowned champagne maker.
Her parents, however, see Le Nez as a curse and try to marry her off to an unsuspecting suitor. But Barbe-Nicole is determined to use Le Nez to make great champagne. When she learns her childhood sweetheart, François Clicquot, wants to start a winery, she rejects her parents’ suitors and marries François despite his mental illness.
The Widow Known as Veuve Clicquot
Soon, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot must cope with her husband’s death. Becoming a widow known as Veuve Clicquot, she grapples with a new overbearing partner, the difficulties of making champagne and the Napoleon Codes preventing women from owning a business. All this while her father takes a military uniform contract from Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who wages six wars against European monarchs, crippling Veuve Clicquot’s ability to sell her champagne.
Using Le Nez, Veuve Clicquot struggles through unbearable hardships and challenges Napoleon himself. When she falls in love with her sales manager, Louis Bohne, who asks her to marry, she must choose between losing her winery to her husband, as dictated by Napoleon Code or losing Louis. In the ultimate showdown, Veuve Clicquot risks imprisonment and even death as she defies Napoleon.
California native Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where she and her husband founded the largest lavender product company in America. A long-time student of Jack London’s work and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian, Rosenberg is a graduate of the Stanford Writing Certificate Program. Her books include: GOLD DIGGER, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, The Secret Life of Mrs. London, Lavender Fields of America, and the Champagne Widows series.
Enter to win a paperback copy or eBook of Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg!
The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on October 29th. 10 winners will receive a prize pack including a signed copy of Champagne Widows, champagne earrings, champagne jellybeans, champagne bubbles, and a champagne bath bomb! You must be 18 or older to enter.
“For anyone who loves champagne, a must-read novel about Veuve Clicquot.” ~ Judithe Little, best-selling author of The Chanel Sisters”These first known women of Champagne/Sparkling winemaking may not have even realized how strong they were until they had to learn and do it all to survive for themselves and their wineries! Reading Champagne Widows makes it even more of an honor tolearn a craft still dominated by men.” ~ Penny Gadd-Coster, ExecutiveDirector of Winemaking, Rack & Riddle
“The sun-drenched vineyards of France, a real-life heroine who against all odds refuses to give up her dreams… and champagne. What’s not to love? And that’s just what Rebecca Rosenberg delivers in Champagne Widows. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot was a woman ahead of her time, a fascinating blend of ingenuity, heart, and sheer tenacity, with a nose for wine and a head for business. A 19th century widow who built an empire as war raged all around her. Note: This richly woven tale is best savored slowly, though with all delicious things, it won’t be easy.” ~ Barbara Davis, best-selling author of The Last of the Moon Girls.
“Champagne Widows is a witty, accomplished novel, featuring a tough and charming heroine of the first order. One can’t help but root for Barbe-Nicole, an astute businesswoman who brilliantly holds her own against none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. Although the events unfold two centuries ago, the story feels so modern, the characters could be your friends and neighbors. As easy to love as a glass of Veuve Clicquot, this may be Rebecca Rosenberg’s best book yet.” ~ Michelle Richmond, best-selling author of The Marriage Pact.
“Award-winning author, Rebecca Rosenberg returns with another Historical Fiction jewel in CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. Meet the women who succeeded in creating world class champagne in a time men ruled business and society. Lovers of history, romance, and French culture will relish the multi-layered plot and cast of characters including the ultimate French icon, Napoleon Bonaparte.” ~ Johnnie Bernhard, award-winning author of Sisters of the Undertow
What a wonderful work of historical fiction! We are immediately transported back to the Napoleonic wars, and meet Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, the gifted “Le Nez” who can smell the hidden essence of the grapes she grows. Her sense of smell is so powerful that she sometimes thinks she can smell “..the stink of a lie, or the perfume of a pure heart.” She dreams of using this uncanny sense of smell to make champagne. We watch as Barbe Nicole refuses to give up the right to marry the man she loves, Francois Clicquot, and begins their wine business. The bloody path of Napoleon is recounted by Francois, a former soldier, who is haunted by atrocities he was forced to commit in war.
Barbe-Nicole becomes a young widow, the “Veuve Clicquot,” tragically losing Francois to illness. She continues to try to grow their wine business, employing many widows along the way. Her father is in a business contract with Napoleon himself, and Barbe Nicole is forced to deal with the Emperor while trying to protect her father, who is in fact a royalist. At the same time, she is trying to retain control of her winery. This inspiring story of the first “champagne widow” and owner of the champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is woven throughout with history of the Napoleonic wars. The portrayal of Napoleon himself is fascinating. The grit and determination of Clicquot to keep her lands and grow her business, even in the midst of war, is an inspiring look at the timeless and continuing fight of women for their rights. I especially enjoyed the cunning of “Le Nez” and her ability to continually thwart the plans that others made for her life. This spirit of independence possessed by Cliquot and others paved the way for the rights of women today.
Rebecca Rosenberg has made the past come to life. Barbe-Nicole’s determination sparkles as brightly as her champagne, and Napoleon is plagued by the devil that drives him to further and more shocking atrocities. Those interested in Napoleon, the Champagne Widows, or the history of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin will enjoy this book.
I received a free copy of this book via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (HFVBT). My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Today I’m excited to share with you a wonderful and candid interview with Gail Meath, author of Agustina de Aragón, which is set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s. It will be released tomorrow. My review and the book trailer are below.
Bonnie: Hi Gail. It is so great to finally meet you. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself:
Gail: I’m from upstate NY by Lake Ontario. I grew up here. I have two grown children and two grandchildren, ages 9 and 6. I started writing in high school and discovered that I was a really good writer. I wasn’t a very good student except when there was an essay question. Whether I knew the answer or not, I could flub my way through any essay question and get a good grade. I was really proud of that as a kid.
Bonnie: How did you get into writing historical fiction?
Gail: I started writing and doing historical research mainly as therapy. My first marriage was not good and I was unhappy. I dove into historical research and writing as a way to escape. I could go to these faraway places through my writing and write about strong female characters because I did not feel strong myself at the time. I was married 23 years. I wrote my first seven novels during that marriage, and then stopped writing for ten years. It was after my second marriage, and with strong encouragement from my husband, that I decided to publish my first seven novels. Before that I had never shared them with anyone. And recently I wrote my newest book, Agustina de Aragón, the first novel I had written in ten years.
Bonnie: Could you give the readers a short synopsis of Agustina de Aragón?
Gail: Agustina was a peasant girl in Barcelona, Spain, whose father was a bladesmith. She was very interested in the beginnings of the war between Napoleon-led France and Britain. She hung around the military base, not to find a husband as some girls did, but to find out more about the war. As she gained more knowledge of the military, she began to feel the Spanish soldiers were inadequate. She met Juan Roca, also a soldier, and they fell in love. When Napoleon invaded Spain, Agustina and Roca both got very involved in the resistance, and Agustina herself rallied the soldiers to fight. She was a remarkable woman who became a soldier in her own right and literally turned the war around.
Bonnie: Your well-researched novels have led me to think that you must have been a history teacher or a historian at some point. Am I right?
Gail: No, I am an accountant. I have an accounting degree and my own business, but I am winding the business down and will focus even more on writing. I feel my organizational skills developed in the accounting business have really helped my research. I keep detailed files for all my books, and that comes from my business background. But I always loved to write, and it came easily to me. My father was an artist. I was never artistically talented in that way, but I found joy and purpose in writing. He always said to find your passion, and writing is my passion.
Bonnie: Your books that I have read, Countess Jacqueline and Agustina de Aragón, are about very strong women from real life who had roles that were not typical of their times. They are also women who are not as well known as other historical figures. Are these themes you want to continue in subsequent books?
Gail: Yes. For me to write, it has to be something that I can also learn and will hold my interest. I look for lesser known historical figures who I can research, and the research is a very important part of my process. I also want to talk about the heroes. My heroes are strong, but not macho. They are confident, but not arrogant. They are partners, but not dominant over the heroines. This is something that is very important to me, and also comes out of being in a bad first marriage.
Bonnie: What are you working on now?
Gail: I’m writing a murder mystery which is more lighthearted and kind of fun, and set in 1920s New York. I have also started a Civil War novel. The murder mystery will be published next.
Bonnie: What does your writing day look like:?
Gail: I mainly write on a desktop computer, but I will take a laptop outside by the pool. I usually write and research all day, starting at 5 a.m. However, I take plenty of breaks to see my grandchildren, who live right around the corner.
Bonnie: Do you have any hobbies when you’re not writing or researching?
Gail: I’m a HUGE New York Yankees fan and have a room full of their paraphernalia.
Bonnie: Who are your favorite players?
Gail: My favorite Yankees players are Andy Petit and Derek Jeter. My absolute favorite pitcher of all time wasn’t a Yankee for long. Randy Johnson (the Big Unit, he was called), pitched from 1988-2009, mostly for the Seattle Mariners, but he was a Yankee briefly at the end of his career.
Bonnie: Do you have any advice for new and aspiring writers?
Gail: I would advise anyone who wants to write to get going. Don’t make any excuses and write every day. Also, do not be afraid to share your writing with the world. I never showed anyone my first seven books for years. I kept them to myself and I regret that.
Bonnie: Gail, that is great advice, and it was something I needed to hear as an aspiring writer. It was so great to talk to you. I really enjoyed Agustina de Aragón, and I can’t wait to read your next book.
Gail Meath brings a legend to life in this beautiful historical romance/thriller based on the life of Agustina Raimunda Maria Saragossa, or Agustina de Aragón, also known as “The Spanish Joan of Arc.” We learn the true story of Agustina’s heroic acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, her life as a soldier and prisoner, and her romance with her beloved Juan Roca. Set in Barcelona and then Zaragosa, and other points in Spain, we meet Agustina as a girl and then follow her into womanhood, motherhood, and war.
The author’s meticulous research into the life and customs of early 1800s Spain is obvious, as Agustina’s world comes alive. The reader will feel as if they are there, visiting the marketplace and working alongside Agustina in her father’s bladesmith shop. The love story between Agustina and Roca is very well done, and their passion and dedication to each other are painted across every page.
When danger arrives in the form of the Napoleon-led French Army, we can see the bloody battles and the savagery of the enemy, as well as the bravery of the Spanish people, as they fight off onslaught after onslaught. The terrible price of war is shown again and again, and the reader will weep along with Agustina as she faces unspeakable loss. The author’s knowledge of the topic is impressive, and I learned so much about Napoleon’s attacks on and eventual takeover of Spain. Although Agustina is famous for her acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, she was also a mother, soldier, and prisoner of war, and it all comes alive in this novel. The ending is absolutely intriguing, and not to be missed.
I require two things from historical fiction. The first is that I be transported to the time and place being described. There is no question I felt transported to marketplaces, battlefields, and even prison in this fantastic novel. The second is that I learn something, and this book introduced me to Agustina herself, and then taught me much about the Napoleonic wars.
Agustina De Aragón introduces us to a compelling real-life legend, takes us into her world, and shows us the realities of war. It is a must read for fans of strong female characters. If you have never heard of Agustina, this book will introduce you in an unforgettable way.
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