"Think, my dear -- just think what it will be like, to be known as the girl who freed the great Napoleon Bonaparte!"
Fourteen-year-old English girl Betsy Balcombe and her family have a most unusual house guest: Napoleon Bonaparte, former emperor of France and the most feared man on earth. Once lord and master to eighty-two million souls, now in 1815, Napoleon is a captive of the British people. Stripped of his empire and robbed of his young family and freedom, he is confined to the forbidding, rat-infested island of St. Helena, where a cruel jailer and more than two thousand British troops guard his every move.
The one bright star in Napoleon's black sky is Betsy, a blazingly rebellious teenager whose family is reluctantly housing the notorious prisoner. Betsy is the only foreigner Napoleon's ever met who is not impressed by him and doesn't tremble at the sight of him -- and Napoleon is more than intrigued.
After fits and starts, a most remarkable friendship develops between Betsy and the emperor -- a friendship that transcends age and politics. As Betsy develops from a gangly, tomboyish girl to a blossoming young woman, this unexpected and wonderful alliance survives inevitable gossip and growing pains, giving Betsy the courage to pursue her dreams -- and Napoleon the courage to face his dark future. It also inspires Betsy to hatch a daring and dangerous plan on Napoleon's behalf, a scheme that could threaten both of their lives and shake entire empires to their foundations.
Based on true events, Staton Rabin's story blends humor, adventure, and poignant drama, vividly revealing new insights into the heart and mind of one of the most towering, fascinating historical figures of our time -- and tells a tale of hope and bravery that will inspire readers to their own heights of courage.
Rabin (Casey Over There) takes the inspiration for her entertaining if far-fetched account of Napoleon Bonaparte's final years from the life of a real British 14-year-old, Betsy Balcombe. The story begins in the fall of 1815, as the defeated French emperor lands on St. Helena, an island off the African coast or, as Betsy puts it, a "miserable wart on the face of the deep." Technically a prisoner of war, "Boney" is housed temporarily on the Balcombe estate, where he and Betsy strike up a nearly instantaneous friendship. Betsy is more Hollywood heroine than girl of her time she escapes her bedroom by climbing down a vine, and doesn't blush when Bonaparte "hold court from his bath." (She notes his resemblance to "steamed potato dumplings.") The portrait of Bonaparte borders on hagiography. He may have struck terror on the continent, but in exile he tells jokes and loans the family jewels to Betsy for a party. The man even psychoanalyzes his own complex (middle child, teased at school for his Corsican accent and, well, the height thing). The author dresses the set with Haitian slaves, yam farmers and a few mentions of King George and the Duke of Wellington, but this is not meant to be an aid for studying French political history. A light read for those who like their lessons served with a large dollop of froth. Ages 10-14.
This book is wonderfully fun and entertaining, while providing you with informative historical fiction. Plus, it gives you a glimpse of the mind of Emperor Napolean the Great, one of the most colorful and fascinating characters in history. I will certainly read this book again and again and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read.
This book was excellent this book could even teach u somefrench