Meet author Diane Scott Lewis
today at the Book Boost!
today at the Book Boost!
Here's what she had to say...
Napoleon falls in love and escapes his final exile?
Could the ex-Emperor of the French have accomplished such an audacious act, while British warships circled the remote island of St. Helena, and armed guards swarmed around his humble residence? If a clever and compassionate woman rallied his soul, earned his heart, would he have embarked on such a dangerous mission for freedom? I explore these possibilities in my historical novel, Elysium.
I even found a non-fiction book that insisted that he had escaped: Revelations Concerning Napoleon’s Escape From St. Helena, by Pierre Paul Ebeyer. Windmill Pub. Co., New Orleans, 1947. A rather bizarre, but interesting read.
And, had an assassin been sent to the island to ensure Napoleon never returned to power? Such a prospect was investigated in The Murder of Napoleon by Ben Weider and David Hapgood, 1983. I also address this intriguing aspect in Elysium.
My fictional heroine, Amélie Perrault, delves into healing herbs and is determined to be more important in her emperor’s entourage than just the chef’s daughter. When one of Napoleon’s valets hears her beautiful singing voice, he suggests she sing for the emperor. Cultivating her garden, she sings like the siren Calypso calling Odysseus to shore. At last catching his attention, she uses her herbal tinctures to strengthen the emperor and, eventually, save him from an assassin’s poison. Yet she finds herself falling in love with him.
Napoleon is jaded where love is concerned. He wishes to preserve his imperial dignity—his faithfulness to the Hapsburg wife who deserted him back in Europe—while the world watches his persecution. Amélie, however, touches his heart with her intelligent advice and selfless devotion. She is the little bud who scents so many of his moments, but now she’s turning into a desirable woman. He must resist her allure.
When political maneuvers fail to release him from the island, he turns to his last chance.
A Note from the Book Boost: Diane, thanks for joining us today. I like how you've "literally" changed history here. What a great concept and this looks like extraordinarily fascinating work here. Please tell us more about your book.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte is exiled to remote Saint Helena. Amélie Perrault, the daughter of Napoleon’s head chef, is determined through healing herbs to rise in importance and is fascinated with the fallen French Emperor. After her beautiful singing voice catches Napoleon’s attention, she is drawn into his clash with their British jailers, court intrigues and a burgeoning sexual attraction.
Napoleon is soured on love. Since political maneuvers fail to release him, he desires freedom no matter the risk. Amélie suspects someone in their entourage is poisoning the emperor. Now she must uncover the culprit and join in Napoleon’s last great battle plan, a dangerous escape.
Napoleon sighed. “Over what ridiculous infraction is Governor Lowe to torture me now?” He yanked on his bell chord. “Marchand! Fill my bath.”
“It isn’t the governor, Your Majesty.” Grand Marshall Bertrand stepped in and bowed. His brown hair had thinned on top, his pasty scalp showing through like a goose egg in a nest. “I have a letter, or I should say, a proclamation from the British ministry. Lowe just had it delivered to me.”
“Well, what is it?” Napoleon’s shoulders stiffened. It wasn’t good news, or Bertrand wouldn’t be staring at his scuffed boots. He heard splashes as footmen poured buckets of water into his tub in the other room and closed his eyes, anxious to soak away these torments.
“Lord Holland held a debate in Parliament over your harsh treatment here. We had high hopes for this, if you remember, Sire?” Bertrand’s head about sunk into his shoulders.
“Of course I remember.” Lady Holland had met him as First Consul during the peace of Amiens and admired him. “And? And? Tell me.” Napoleon rubbed his hands through his hair. Could you still kill the messenger who brought bad news?
“Unfortunately, Lord Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, has prevailed, preventing any change in policy toward you, Sire.” Bertrand straightened and looked at him with sheepish eyes. He held out the paper, wavering in his fingers.
“They think they’ve heard the last of me, these men who once negotiated with me as the sovereign of France.” Napoleon snatched the paper and read through it. He then flung the letter into the fire, where it curled and blackened like his hopes. “Bertrand, we will write a rebuttal to Bathurst’s speech. We must keep matters stirred up at all times!”
Napoleon couldn’t wait for Amherst, or any of the British. His strategy, no matter the risk, definitely changed now. That Irish merchant captain promised to assist him.
Why did he feel the sudden sadness at having to leave Amélie behind? He never let women interfere with his wishes.
Napoleon kicked a log in the fireplace and the air in front of him shimmered with sparks.