“A novel of conflicting and intertwined stories, desires, and loyalties, Finding Napoleon offers an intriguing new look at one of the most famous men in history.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books
With its delightful adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte’s real attempt to write romantic fiction, Finding Napoleon: A Novel offers a fresh take on Europe’s most powerful man after he’s lost everything—except his last love. A forgotten woman of history—the audacious Countess Albine—helps narrate their tale of intrigue, desire, and betrayal.
After the defeated Emperor Napoleon goes into exile on tiny St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic, he and his lover, Albine de Montholon, plot to escape and rescue his young son. Banding together enslaved Africans, British sympathizers, a Jewish merchant, a Corsican rogue, and French followers, they confront British opposition—as well as treachery within their own ranks—with sometimes subtle, sometimes bold, but always desperate action.
Amid his passions and intrigues, Napoleon finishes his real novel Clisson that he started writing as a young man. Now it's a father's message to the young son whom his enemies took from him, but how can they get it to the boy?
When Napoleon and Albine break faith with one another, ambition and Albine’s husband threaten their reconciliation. To succeed, Napoleon must learn whom to trust. To survive, Albine must decide whom to betray. This elegant, richly researched novel reveals the Napoleon history conceals and the Countess Albine history has forgotten.
2022 NYC Big Book Awards Distinguished Favorite in Historical Fiction
2021 Top Shelf Magazine Awards First Place Winner in Literary Fiction
2021 IPPY Awards Gold Winner in Best First Book – Fiction
2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Best New Fiction
2021 American Fiction Awards Finalist in Best New Fiction and Historical Fiction
2021 Readers' Favorite Book Awards Honorable Mention in Fiction – Historical (Personage)
2021 Sarton Award Finalist in Historical Fiction
“A we’ll-written take brings to life the twilight years of a captivating historical figure.” —Kirkus
“In this romantic and earthy novel, Rodenberg has given us a fully fleshed-out Napoleon in his many facets—father, lover, friend, and warrior.” —The Literary Hill
“Rodenberg inventively uses Bonaparte’s own unfinished novel to tell the story of the despot’s rise to power, which she juxtaposes against the story of his last love affair. Told creatively and with excellent research!” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of America's First Daughter and The Women of Chateau Lafayette
“No one is more qualified to tell this sweeping tale than Margaret Rodenberg—her research is in a league of its own, and her writing is beautiful and poignant.” —Allison Pataki, New York Times best-selling author of The Queen’s Fortune
“…a fascinating look at Napoleon as a writer of romance, a tender father, and a mature lover examining happier times amid the trials of his life in St. Helena—a side to him not often explored, and one I found completely enrapturing. His forgotten lover, Albine de Montholon, adds an intriguing dimension. Rodenberg’s sense of revolutionary culture and period detail sparkle and her storytelling is truly absorbing. A winner!” —Heather Webb, coauthor of Ribbons of Scarlet and author of Becoming Josephine
“From the first words, Finding Napoleon enchanted me. Exceptionally well researched, the writing is vibrant, the details evocative. The story of Napoleon’s final years is conveyed with moving compassion, humor, and wit. I love Margaret Rodenberg’s writing and I look forward to reading more by her. Highly recommended!” —Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B. Trilogy and The Game of Hope
“Vive l’Empereur! In Finding Napoleon, the Bonaparte endgame becomes a new beginning—and a rousing, delightfully peopled adventure. Margaret Rodenberg’s superior scholarship, exquisite scene-setting, and crackling storytelling mark her as a historical novelist to watch.” —Louis Bayard, New York Times notable author of Courting Mr. Lincoln
“Margaret Rodenberg has an outstanding knowledge of and empathy for the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, especially his time in exile on St. Helena. And unlike many, she has actually visited that remote island and seen the actual conditions of his captivity. In Finding Napoleon, she combines that knowledge and empathy with her exceptional ability to weave her imaginative story of Napoleon and Albine de Montholon. In so doing, she leaves readers greatly entertained and, I hope, wanting to read more about one of history’s most fascinating personalities. I highly recommend this fine book by an outstanding author.” —J. David Markham, president of the International Napoleonic Society; Knight, Order of the French Academic Palms; and author of Napoleon for Dummies and Napoleon and Dr. Verling on St. Helena
“A tale within a tale, Finding Napoleon creates three vivid characters—Napoleon in exile, Napoleon becoming a young military hero, and Albine de Montholon, his last and little-known love. Through superb writing, Margaret Rodenberg brings history to life while offering insights into the passions that drove this man to greatness. Highly recommended.” —M.K. Tod, author of Paris in Ruins and Time and Regret
“In her haunting historical novel Finding Napoleon, Margaret Rodenberg bookends the Emperor’s life. She enlarges upon his own semi-autobiographical novel, giving us insight into his early days, contrasting them with the contracted, duplicitous court that accompanied him into captivity on St. Helena after Waterloo. And yet it is through unexpected friendships forged on the island, his tumultuous final love affair with Albine de Montholon, and a longing for the son he’s lost that we truly do find Napoleon during these his last days. Highly recommended.” —Michelle Cameron, author of Beyond the Ghetto Gates
Margaret Rodenberg’s passion for French history began when she lived in France as a young teen with her US Navy family. An avid traveler who has visited over sixty countries, she has journeyed more than 30,000 miles to conduct Napoleonic research, including to St. Helena Island in the remote South Atlantic where Finding Napoleon takes place. She’s a former businesswoman, an award-winning writer, and a proud director of the Napoleonic Historical Society, a non-profit that promotes knowledge of the Napoleonic era. Finding Napoleon is her first novel. She lives near Washington, DC. She's as happy in a kayak and she is in a museum.
Independently published with She Writes Press