From acclaimed biographer Flora Fraser, the brilliant life of Napoleon s favorite sister.
Celebrated for her looks, notorious for her passions, immortalized by Antonio Canova s statue and always deeply loyal to her brother, Pauline Bonaparte Borghese is a fascinating figure.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, she was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in Europe. She shocked the continent with the boldness of her love affairs, her opulent wardrobe and jewels, and, most famously, her decision to pose nearly nude for Canova s sculpture, which has been replicated in countless ways through the years. But just as remarkable as Pauline s private life was her fidelity to the emperor (if not to her husbands). She was witness to Napoleon s great victories in Italy, and she was often with him and her rival for his loyalty, the Empress Josephine, at Malmaison. When he was exiled to Elba, Pauline was the only sibling to follow him there, and after Waterloo she begged to be allowed to join him at Saint Helena.
No biographer has gone so deeply into the sources or so closely examined one of the seminal relationships of the man who shaped modern Europe. In Venus of Empire, Flora Fraser casts new light on the Napoleonic era while crafting a dynamic, vivid portrait of a mesmerizing woman.
A page-turning read ... entertaining - Economist
Juicy portrait of Napoleon s most flamboyant and favoured sibling - International Herald Tribune
With her fine historical sense, she gives Pauline s extraordinary story a rich background - Sunday Times
It s a flamboyant story and Flora Fraser, no stranger to dizzy titles females, marshals all her resources to make it work ... it would make a wonderful film - Daily Express
Fraser cleverly contrasts Pauline s callous offloading of successive lovers ... the success of a biography of an un-improving subject like this is whether or not we miss them at its close ... Pauline, with or without marmoreal buttocks, was clearly irresistible company - Literary Review
Fraser tells her story, of course, with elegance, colour and style - Country Life
Well-researched book - Terry Sutton, Dover Express & Folkestone Herald
Lively and enjoyable biography ... it s impossible not to be swept along by her story - Mail on Sunday