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This is an interesting biography of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879). It has been sitting on my “to read pile” for some time.
Elizabeth married the younger brother of Napoleon. His name was Jerome and they had a son together. Napoleon ordered Jerome back to France and annulled the marriage. After Elizabeth was successful in making money by her own investments, she divorced Jerome in Baltimore. Berkin points out that if she stayed married to Jerome the monies would be his; but as a single woman she could control her own money. She never remarried.
The book was well written and meticulously researched. Berkin quoted frequently from letters received by Elizabeth as she had a habit of writing comments in the margins of the letters. Apparently, Elizabeth kept most of the correspondence she received. This habit must make historians happy. Berkin does a good job of painting a picture of life in Baltimore as well as in England and France in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The author also covers the legal rights of women in those years. I enjoyed learning about an American connection to the Bonaparte family. Carol Berkin is the Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College.
The book is almost nine and a half hours. Tara Hugo does an excellent job narrating the book. Hugo is an actress, singer and audiobook narrator.
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