IMPERIAL VENUS: A Biography of Pauline Bonaparte by Len Ortzen

IMPERIAL VENUS: A Biography of Pauline Bonaparte

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A piddling biography of a frivolous pleasure-loving woman -- Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's favorite sister and one of the gaudy ornaments of imperial France. A beautiful and passionate creature, Pauline had spunk; of all of Napoleon's siblings she was most able to talk back to him, prevail on him to pay her extravagant bills and to forgive her indiscreet affairs. Pauline married twice, once to the ""petit Leclerc,"" one of Napoleon's officers who died of a fever in Haiti, the second time to the wealthy Italian Prince Borghese. She enjoyed many lovers though Ortzen is at pains to defend her from those anti-Imperial publicists who saw her as a promiscuous vixen. Her chief delight was hosting splendid, elegant receptions and balls for her brother and fashionable salons for the Parisian elite. Ortzen is captivated by her diamonds, her ablutions in specially prepared milk baths, and her showpiece, a Negro footman whom she dressed as a Turk and took with her everywhere. Her fortunes, not unexpectedly, paralleled those of her mighty brother to whom she remained sincerely devoted in adversity, selling her jewels to finance his last desperate campaigns. A slight, gossipy boudoir history.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1974
Publisher: Stein & Day