The Mistress from Chandernagore
The child bride who achieved eminence in Napoleon’s empire
by A. B. de M. Hunter
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 18 Feb 2022
What is a poor teenage girl from the French settlement in India to do, betrayed by her husband, her family separated by war and given up by a patron whose duel marked the end of his India career? In this, the first biography of Mme Talleyrand, Alex Hunter explores the life of a figure of history that deserves to have her story told, not just in the footnotes.
In seeking a new life, Catherine must learn how to make it in a man’s world. She becomes attached to a young Englishman with troubles enough of his own. They escape to Paris and enjoy the salad days of Louis XVI’s cultured society until her lover’s career move once more leaves Catherine to her own devices. No longer a naïve teenager, she cultivates her society connections, careless of the gathering revolutionary storm. Unprepared for the bloody insurrection of 10th August 1792, she flees to England where she finds a freebooter prepared to help her, for a price, and is introduced to the nascent British secret service. Struggling to live independently, she meets a French emigré, the disgraced bishop Talleyrand, down on his luck, and resolves to help him. Little did she know that this crippled ‘Pegleg’ would one day become the new Republic’s Foreign Minister and in a position to repay her kindness, not least when she is arrested as a spy. Is it just mutually convenient respect or is there a deeper attraction growing?
Despite Josephine being Catherine’s ally, Napoleon objects to his key minister keeping Catherine as a mistress. Is Catherine to be abandoned yet again or can they be married?
As an ex-bishop, he would need a papal dispensation. As a former courier for the British, she could yet be exposed as a spy.
What will it take for the loving couple to secure public recognition that she is no longer the mistress from the Indies and he no longer the philanderer of the past?
A Note From the Publisher
The first biography of the future Mme Talleyrand, from scandal in India to advancement, and love, in Revolutionary and Imperial France
Written in a narrative style to better illustrate her several adventures.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
This is a biography of Madame Talleyrand, someone who has not been given enough attention in history. As a poor teenage girl from a French settlement in India, she was betrayed by her husband and separated from her family by war. Catherine becomes attached to a young Englishman and escapes to Paris to become part of Louis XVI's society. She builds her social connections and is ignorant of the growing French Revolution. When it finally comes to a head, she flees to England and is introduced to British Secret Service. Her live becomes entangled with Napoleon and she must fight for the love of her life and the life she desires. This book was insightful about a historical figure I had no prior knowledge of, and I found her story incredibly compelling.
Catherine is finally about to marry Charles Talleyrand, the French Foreign Minister under Napoleon. She has finally made it, but it has been a long battle for the poor girl from India.
At the start of this biography, Catherine, only 17, has been betrayed by her husband, but a beautiful opportunist, she is a survivor. She soon gets involved with a married man, but betrayed again, she makes her waay to England. Catherine eventually starts to mix in 'high' circles, but she has to fight to be respected, even spending some time in a French prison. Will Napoleon and the Pope give the former Bishop, Talleyrand permission to marry this ex-British spy?
This was hugely enjoyable if you like history, but a strange mixture of a novel and a biography, which is full of speculation. I would rather read a biography, but there isn't enough information about Catherine, unfortunately.
I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.