Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon / Edition 1by Michael O'Brien
Pub. Date: 03/02/2010
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Early in 1815, Louisa Catherine Adams and her young son left St. Petersburg in a heavy Russian carriage and set out on a difficult journey to meet her husband, John Quincy Adams, in Paris. She traveled through the snows of Eastern Europe, across the battlefields of Germany, and into a France then experiencing the tumultuous events of Napoleon's return from Elba.
Early in 1815, Louisa Catherine Adams and her young son left St. Petersburg in a heavy Russian carriage and set out on a difficult journey to meet her husband, John Quincy Adams, in Paris. She traveled through the snows of Eastern Europe, across the battlefields of Germany, and into a France then experiencing the tumultuous events of Napoleon's return from Elba. The prize-winning historian Michael O'Brien reconstructs for the first time Louisa Adams's extraordinary passage. An evocative history of the experience of travel in the days of carriages and kings, Mrs. Adams in Winter offers a moving portrait of a lady, her difficult marriage, and her conflicted sense of what it meant to be a woman caught between worlds.
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.32(d)
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations viii
1 Saint Petersburg 3
2 From Saint Petersburg to Riga 44
3 From Riga to Berlin 96
4 From Berlin to Eisenach 138
5 From Eisenach to Frankfurt 191
6 From Frankfurt to Paris 262
Appendix: Places 297
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I looked forward to reading this book as I am interested in learning about Louisa Adams and the story of her 1815 winter journey from St. Petersburg to Paris. About 20% is a fascinating story. The remainder of the book consists of unrelated diversions, people who were not directly connected to her trip, or places that she did not visit in 1815. I waded through the story trying to find direct relationships to her actual experiences. They were few and far between. It would have been more enjoyable to read more about Louisa after she completed her trip, and less about Napoleonic Europe in general. I realize that the author did not have more than 50 pages of Louisa's original journal, and I was disappointed that the 295 pages were not more severely edited. The large map was most helpful, but the smaller maps were not. The picture of the Berline carriage was totally different from the description in the text.
This it touted as an account of the Trip but it seems that not that much is really known about the trip and what is know isn't really that interesting. The author goes back and forth in Mrs. Adams life, making it hard to keep track of what happened when. Lots of conjecture as to where she might or might not have stopped, what personage a particular locality might have brought to mind, even what she may or may not have eaten. Only occasionally interesting, mostly boring.