Title: The Game of Hope
Author: Sandra Gulland
Publisher: Viking Books
Publish Date: June 26, 2018
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Paris, 1798. Hortense
de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for
aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the
tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose
music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's
dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her
beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte,
soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense
as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was
guillotined during the Terror.
Where will Hortense's future lie? For Napoleon regards all his family as pawns to be used in his rise."
My Two Cents:
"The Game of Hope" is the story of Hortense, who is mostly concerned with managing her friendships and getting through school. This is made a lot more difficult by her stepfather, Napoleon Bonaparte. Hortense goes to school with his sister, which makes having her own life even more difficult than it would be. Her every move is watched. While Hortense's mother, Josephine, is utterly devoted to Napoleon, Hortense regrets him taking the place of her beloved father. This was a great take on a story that I haven't heard before!
This book was a venture into the realm of YA by Sandra Gulland! I think she found a great in for younger readers to introduce them to the world of Napoleon and Josephine. Although most of the book is focused on Hortense's school life and her thoughts about what she is going through in her letters to her brother, Gulland does give a little taste of the palace intrigue surrounding Napoleon and his family and the way that Napoleon is able to ingratiate himself in France in such a way to rise to the highest heights.
This book was slow paced in some parts but I really liked seeing how Hortense deals with normal, every day school girl drama as well as some much deeper drama as Napoleon climbs to power. Overall, I liked the story and liked seeing Napoleon and Josephine in a different light than I have read about them in before.