The Princess of Nowhere

( 4 )

Overview

Princess Pauline Borghese was one of the most fascinating women of her day. Now her story is unforgettably told by one of her descendants....

The sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, Pauline knows that her sole purpose has always been to make an advantageous marriage to further her ambitious brother's goals. But her joie de vivre cannot be contained—much to the dismay of her new husband, Prince Camillo Borghese. Pauline and Camillo's relationship is tempestuous at best, with Pauline ...

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The Princess of Nowhere

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Overview

Princess Pauline Borghese was one of the most fascinating women of her day. Now her story is unforgettably told by one of her descendants....

The sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, Pauline knows that her sole purpose has always been to make an advantageous marriage to further her ambitious brother's goals. But her joie de vivre cannot be contained—much to the dismay of her new husband, Prince Camillo Borghese. Pauline and Camillo's relationship is tempestuous at best, with Pauline constantly seeking the attention of other men—especially after a heartbreaking loss leaves her devastated, desperate for attention, and searching for answers. Yet despite everything, the love that brought Pauline and Camillo together, as imperfect as it might be, can never truly be stifled.

As seen through the eyes of the young woman who served as Pauline's lady-in-waiting and surrogate daughter, The Princess of Nowhere is an unforgettable tale of a remarkable life that was a study in the excesses of the time and of the power of a woman strong enough to defy expectations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister, was once hailed as the most beautiful woman in all of Europe. Married to the Italian Prince Camillo Borghese, a union as much of passion as of state, Pauline drove the jealous Camillo wild, and away for most of their marriage, with her infidelities and indiscretions. Their stormy love affair is seen through the eyes of Sophie, Pauline's surrogate daughter. Pauline and Camillo's tempestuous coupling is all the more interesting for its basis in fact, offering a thrilling romance with a Napoleonic backdrop. Borghese's first novel, writing about his ancestors, is a labor of love, and he resists the genre convention that passion leads to a lasting happy marriage. Pauline is a spitfire of a heroine--flawed, petulant, extremely unlikable, and mesmerizing. Throughout, the most compelling evolution is Sophie's as she, like the reader, moves from being enamored with Pauline to disenchanted, but incapable of leaving her. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Borghese, perhaps known for an appearance on The Bachelor, debuts with a novel inspired by his famous lineage. Prince Camillo Borghese has doubts about marrying the widow Pauline Bonaparte Leclerc when the match is proposed in Paris in 1803. Yet her stunning beauty plus the political advantage of marriage to Napoléon's sister allay his concerns. Pauline's uninhibited sexuality surprises and tantalizes but ultimately disgraces him. Her extravagance, hypochondria, and numerous affairs lead to clashes with Camillo; reconciliations lead to the bedroom. The one constant in Pauline's life is her ward, Sophie, who adores her and remains her companion after Camillo's patience is exhausted. During the couple's 15-year separation, Pauline stays with Napoléon in exile. Readers meet Pauline again as she is dying, when Sophie convinces Camillo to allow her to return. Although Napoléon never appears directly, his commands and prohibitions figure prominently in the plot, from appointing Camillo to military posts to forbidding Pauline to return to France. VERDICT Readers may not find the author's Borghese ancestors as fascinating as he does. However, historical fiction fans with an intense interest in Bonaparte lore will be intrigued by this account.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato
Kirkus Reviews

A sympathetic, even laudatory biography of the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

Porter (The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary", 2008) offers a favorable treatment of Katherine Parr (1512–1548), crediting her even with the glories of the Elizabethan Age. According to the author, she was attractive, clever and religious, and was a wonderful surrogate mother for Mary Tudor and a loving spouse four times (thrice widowed). Porter follows the scant material available on her subject and provides some fresh interpretations of her nature and behavior, writing that Katherine grew to love Henry, despite his profound physical odiousness, irascibility and roving eye. The author begins at a moment of discomfort for Katherine in 1547—the day of Henry's death, when the court was keeping the news from her and from the rest of the country. She was uncertain of her standing with the king and, perhaps, worried for her life. Then the narrative retreats for Parr family history. Katherine was born into her influential family sometime in 1512, but precious little is known of her girlhood. In her midteens, she married her first husband, who died a few years later. Her second husband, Baron Latimer, who was twice her age, got caught up in the Pilgrimage of Grace but escaped the fatal fate of some of his more zealous companions. After his death, Henry VIII, having beheaded Katherine Howard, married Parr and seemed happy. Porter believes that Parr annoyed him only when she found, through her publishing, some fame for herself.

A rich narrative, but generous to a fault.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061721618
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/7/2010
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 798,614
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Prince Lorenzo Borghese was born in Milan and moved to New York City in 1997. He is the owner and creator of Royal Treatment pet products and is one of the largest suppliers of Italian private label cosmetics. His famous paternal ancestors include Napoleon's sister Pauline Bonaparte Borghese, Pope Paul V, and Cardinal Scipione Borghese; the latter two had an enormous influence on Italian art and beautifying Rome in the 1600s and helped finish St. Peter's Basilica.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2011

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    WJAT TRASH

    I am very disappointed in this book. It is not a historical novel - it is a trashing of Pauline Bonaparte (not undeserved)and this man should be ashamed of himself. If he wanted to write an explicit sex novel, then he should have, but should have left history and his ancestors alone. It would have done him more credit.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    I liked this princess

    The Princess of Nowhere gives an account of Princess Paulina Borghese, sister to Napoleon. She married a prince, and lived in the lap of luxury. Paulina was impetuous, extravagant, full of life, and generally many things that didn't coincide with being a princess. The story also follows her young cousin Sophie, and her husband Camillo. They had a very tumultuous marriage, most of it caused by Paulina, but throughout the story I never disliked her. She was sort of an anti-heroine, but her personality was so strong that I couldn't help but root for her, just as Sophie always did. It was a great account of the times, and of the rise and fall of Napoleon through his sister's life. The characters were engaging, the scenes were easy to visualize, and the story was very moving. I loved it and would reccomend to all the historical fiction lovers out there, as well as anyone who enjoys a tragic love story.

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  • Posted November 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    this is a great biographical fiction story

    Sister to Napoleon, Paulina Bonaparte knows she is beautiful and though not a blueblood, she can out royal any princess with her demands. Napoleon uses his sibling to strengthen his foreign ties by arranging a marriage to Italian Prince Camillo Borghese. He wants her while she drives him crazy with her coquettish behavior. She teases him over his jealousy while seeking other men especially with him frequently away from their home. They are in love and at war with one another, but neither understands which emotion is more important until their world collapses under the weight of tragedy and regrets; as it is too late to mend.

    Told by Pauline's surrogate daughter Sophie who look back over four decades, this is a great biographical fiction story starring two passionate flawed individuals who fight, fuss, and fail. Refreshing as revelations prove too late to act upon, Sophie represents the delightful historical personage as she initially admired her guardian only to loath her ill tempered guardian. Prince Lorenzo Borghese writes a terrific take that grips the audience with a unique insightful look at the Napoleonic era through the raging relationship between his sister and brother-in-law.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted August 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The romance of history unfolds with eloquence in this book

    Being royal does not equate to happiness or less turmoil in your life. Being the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte most assuredly does not bring peace to your days but when you are a free thinking, sexually uninhibited, adventuresome person living that life anything is possible and this book so aptly shows.

    Mademoiselle Sophie Leclerc is the cousin of Napoleon's sister Princess Pauline. Pauline takes the homeless child in and lets her live as her surrogate daughter and ward while Sophie is a witness to the life of the opulent rich and over indulged. Sophie wants for nothing and feels such compassion and love for Pauline as only a child could even one as mature for her years as she is. Sophie watches as Pauline a young widow and mother dance both inside the rules and as well as fly very far outside of them in Napoleon's France. Sophie worships Pauline and wants her happiness but does not like the marital match that is made between Pauline and the Roman Prince Camillo Borghese. Yet Sophie knows she is a witness to this life and she will be there to live with Pauline and help her deal with the consequences of Pauline's choices.

    The marriage of the tall and athletic Camillo to the wealthy and beautiful Pauline is fraught with love, fights, jealousy, affairs, feigned illness, more fighting and allot of passionate making up. Pauline is the master at this game of manipulation and makes sure Camillo always knows that there are many men that worship her and he must work to keep her and Camillo responds to her every siren call. Sophie grows and witnesses the life these two intense and sensual people have created and at times both hates and envies what they have. She becomes a lady-in-waiting to Pauline and helps her through the horrific tragedy of life, death, love and despair never wavering from her loyalty to Pauline or for one moment feeling that this is not the right place to be.

    The Napoleonic era is one filled with such passion and intensity you at times find it difficult to believe it really historically happened. But it very much did happen and this history told through the eyes of a girl's childhood into adulthood is written with such clarity and honesty that you feel you are truly experiencing the time and place. Yes there is the opulence but also the one thing that is still true today - everyone seeks to find their love match. Pauline and Camillo fought and loved with one another from the moment they met but as the story explains they really were meant for each other and the love they had was real and did survive them their entire life. History can be cold and seem unreadable at times but this book shows you the feelings that are mixed in with war and tragedy reveal how two people hold themselves together even while apart by choice or destiny.

    Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer located at www.marygramlich.com

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