Monthly Archives: April 2014

Review: The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Another review today at The Lit Bitch.

The Lit Bitch

If you have managed to make it through fifth grade world history, you probably have heard the name Bonaparte at least once.

Most of us associate the Bonaparte name with the infamously small emperor with a big name: Napoleon Bonaparte.

But what of Napoleon’s younger brother? Is his a name one you can recall with certainty? Unlikely.

Jerome Bonaparte was supposed to make a diplomatic marriage according to Napoleon.

But when the ambitious Elizabeth “Betsy ” Patterson puts her mind to something, little can dissuade her.

Betsy was a prominent member of Baltimore society with ambitions and designs of her own. She dreamed that she would marry a man who would whisk her away to Europe and low an behold, Jerome Bonaparte is that man!

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TAMB reviewed at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

You can visit another stop on the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tout at Celtic Lady’s Reviews here.

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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, by Ruth Hull Chatlien, Showcases Betsy, American Wife of Napoleon’s Brother

Yesterday, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte was reviewed on Oh, for the Hook of a Book.

Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

The Ambitious Madame BonaparteThe Ambitious Madame Bonaparte , by Ruth Hull Chatlien, was a wonderfully enlightening read about a woman I knew little about, an American woman from Baltimore society that married Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother.  The title really does say it all, as Betsy Patterson, a young woman who always dreamed of marrying  into high society of Europe’s elite, doesn’t take any stops on her way of making a name for herself and enjoying life at French court.

However, even when most of it doesn’t work out to be pretty as a picture for her, we can admire her strength, motivation, perseverance, independence, and ingenuity. Betsy Bonaparte is thrilling to me. I admire a woman who goes after what she wants at all cost and doesn’t settle for what anyone tells her she should be content with. Of course, as this is based on a true story, I really admire the research…

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The “Writing Process” Blog Tour

I was asked to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour by C.P Lesley, a fellow writer of historical fiction I met in a Goodreads group. You can visit her blog here.

C. P. Lesley, a historian, is the author of The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel—her 21st-century take on the classic Baroness Orczy novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905)—and Legends of the Five Directions, a series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible.The Golden Lynx (Legends 1) is in print; The Winged Horse (Legends 2) will appear in June 2014. She is currently working on The Swan Princess (Legends 3).

Here are the questions I was asked to answer for the blog tour:

1) What am I working on?

My first novel, a historical novel called The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, was published in December. It’s based on the life of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, the American beauty who married Napoleon’s youngest brother Jerome. A few short weeks later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, we caught it at Stage 1, so I didn’t need chemo. However, going through radiation was debilitating enough, and it prevented me from jumping writing into working on my next novel. Now that I’ve finished my course of treatment, I’m back to researching that project, a historical novel based on the true story of a woman who was taken captive during one of the most brutal Indian wars in U.S. history.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a very difficult question, but I’ll make a stab at answering. For one thing, there don’t seem to be a lot of historical novelists writing about the United States in the early 19th century, which is when my first book is set. Second, I try very hard to make the background history both interesting and clear to the readers so they can understand the broader context of the specific events of the book. Finally, I’m not afraid to write about characters that some readers might dislike if they met each other in real life. I feel that one of my jobs as a novelist is to help the reader understand why people make the choices they do from their own internal perspective, whether I approve of those choices or not.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’m drawn to characters more than any particular time period or subject matter. I wrote about Betsy Bonaparte because she was a feisty woman who defied society’s expectations for her and, in the process, overcame enormous adversity. I’ve always been fascinated with characters who have a complex personality. I often fining myself writing about people who have been deeply hurt and about the ways they try to cope with that or recover from it.

4) How does your writing process work?

For me, it’s crucial to be able to listen to the story and let it tell me where it wants to go. I’m not the kind of writer who could ever churn out 50,000 words in a single month the way NaNoWriMo participants do. I can’t force the process because I need time to hear my characters; if I can’t hear their dialogue in my head and if I can’t hear the narrator describing the setting or the action, I’m not ready to write. Usually, I hear approximately half a chapter further along than the scene I’m currently writing. Whenever I do try to write beyond that point, then I find myself driving down a dark road without headlights. Invariably, I get lost.

Next week the blog tour will continue with posts by the following writers, whose blogs I all follow:

 

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Michelle is a native New Yorker who blogs at The Sunflower’s Scribbles on her projects, writing, reading, and whatever else strikes her fancy. She is currently working on a historical fiction novel.

 

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Krystal Jane writes paranormal and fantasy. She also blogs about writing and sometimes random things at the Narcissistic Rose.

 

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Author, Actor, and Artist, Marc Royston holds degrees in English, Theater, and Information Technology and the equivalent to a B.S. in Biology. In consequence to the Great Recession, Marc lost his home, his job, his retirement, all savings, and most of his belongings. Destitute, he has since lived with family and friends. Marc Royston is currently editing the first four volumes of Part One of his serialized novel, A Wizard’s Life. He has a blog of the same name.

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Another New Review

I’m pleased that The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte has been reviewed by Mel U at The Reading Life. If you’ve never run across Mel’s blog, I recommend it. His blog deals with the literary treatment of Reading Centered lives in the 21st Century and beyond–short stories, Katherine Mansfield, classics, post colonial Asian fiction, Irish short stories and quality modern fiction are some of his interests.

You can read his review of my novel here.

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Interview at Unabridged Chick

Ever wonder if my characters surprised me while I was writing the novel? Check out this interview to find out.

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April 4, 2014 · 11:21 am

Review at Broken Teepee

You can find a new review and a GIVEAWAY of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte at the blog Broken Teepee.

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April 4, 2014 · 11:17 am

Donating for Cancer Services

I have decided that in gratitude for surviving breast cancer, from now till Easter, I will donate 1/4 of the proceeds from my Amazon paperback sales of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte to the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, Illinois. They provide much-needed services—counseling, wellness services, classes, seminars—free to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. They’ve been a godsend to me. You can link to my Amazon page here.

 

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Interview with Ruth Hull Chatlien

Another interview today at Layered Pages.

Layered Pages

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

Book Description:

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.

Stephanie: Hello, Ruth! Welcome to Layered Pages and thank you for chatting with me today. What…

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Two for the Price of One

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is on another blog tour, and there are two reviews on offer today.

The first is at Unabridged Chick. You can read it here.

The second is at A Bookish Affair, and you can read it here.

Plus, there is an interview with me at Flashlight Commentary here.

What a great way to start a new month! (And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.)

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