The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R.

  • by Carole DeSanti
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Love and war converge in this lush, epic story of a young woman’s struggle with life and love during and after the Second Empire (1852 - 1871), an era that was absinthe-soaked, fueled by railway money and prostitution, and transformed by cataclysmic social upheaval.
Eugénie R., born in foie gras country, follows the man she loves to Paris but soon finds herself marooned. An outcast, she charts the treacherous waters of sexual commerce on a journey through artists’ ateliers and pawnshops, zinc bars and luxurious bordellos.
Giving birth to a daughter she is forced to abandon, Eugénie spends the next 10 years fighting to get her back, falling in love along the way with an artist, a woman, and a revolutionary. Then, as the gates of the city close on the eve of the Siege of Paris, Eugénie comes face to face with her past. Drawn into a net of desire and need, promises and lies, she must make a choice and find her way to a life that she can call her own.
The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. is a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the art of self-creation.

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What the Critics Say

“I lost myself wholeheartedly in [Eugénie’s] story and would have followed her down any narrow alley into any candlelit room just to know what happened, to stay back there and to delay coming home.” (Sarah Blake, New York Times best-selling author )
“DeSanti’s debut novel paints an unflinching portrait of love and loss against a landscape of Parisian decadence.” (Deborah Harkness, New York Times best-selling author)
The Unruly Passions is both sweeping in scope and painstaking in detail.…Makes for wonderful, suspenseful reading.” (Karen Joy Fowler, author of the The Jane Austen Book Club)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wow! This is Not My Typical Genre-Hard to Read But

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. This is deep, strong, heartbreaking novel set in Paris during and after the Second Empire. It takes a commitment and took me several tries to get into it. Once I was in I was in...however a lot of it was 'historical' recounts (the author's perception NOT true to history), especially near the end. I was more invested in Eugénie R. and her circle than the history going on around her. It read more like a history book than novel....Eugénie R. got lost.

Love and war converge in this lush, epic story of a young woman’s struggle with life and love during and after the Second Empire (1852 - 1871), an era that was absinthe-soaked, fueled by railway money and prostitution, and transformed by cataclysmic social upheaval.

Eugénie R., born in foie gras country, follows the man she loves to Paris but soon finds herself marooned. An outcast, she charts the treacherous waters of sexual commerce on a journey through artists’ ateliers and pawnshops, zinc bars and luxurious bordellos.

Giving birth to a daughter she is forced to abandon, Eugénie spends the next 10 years fighting to get her back, falling in love along the way with an artist, a woman, and a revolutionary. Then, as the gates of the city close on the eve of the Siege of Paris, Eugénie comes face to face with her past. Drawn into a net of desire and need, promises and lies, she must make a choice and find her way to a life that she can call her own.

The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. is a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the art of self-creation.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R.?

The scene where Eugénie R. must decide what to do about her baby.


What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

She was wonderful - her accents were spot on and one could tell the characters from each other. She was perfect for this book.


Any additional comments?

Some sexual situations

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- DK "No spoilers! Love HOT, sexy books w/a plot. No vampires, paranormal, teens 4 me. I also review in exchange for books-lots of fun surprises!"

Seduced and abandoned - and boring!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who wants long descriptions and little plot.


What do you think your next listen will be?

The Name of the Wind. The author, Patrick Rothfuss, knows how to tell a story.


What does Kate Reading bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I really like her voice.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It seems to have been historically accurate. But, the action jumps forward in time somewhat jerkily.


Any additional comments?

I did not like the ending. In fact, because the very end is a timeline of the period 1848-1871 in France, read without being set off by a title from the rest of the book, I had to rewind several times to try to figure out how the book (I guess I mean the story) actually ended. After much overblown description, phrase piled upon phrase, thought upon thought, image upon image, the book ends rather abruptly, without a real sense of what happened to the title character. I was left thinking, what the heck just happened!

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- Helen D. "Committed to Reading"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-27-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.