Tag Archives: St Helena

Miscellany Saint Helena The Man

Dove Named After Napoleon Bonaparte’s Niece

Zenaide Doves cuddling up on my back deck, named after Napoleon's niece

As mentioned in my previous post, Napoleon’s nephew, Charles Lucien Bonaparte was a prominent ornithologist. He was also married to his cousin, Zénaïde, who was Joseph Bonaparte’s daughter. The first to scientifically identify the American mourning or turtle dove, Charles named the affectionate bird the Zenaida macroura

Joseph Bonaparte's daughters (Napoleon's nieces), painted by Jacques Louis DavidIn this lovely painting, Jacques Louis David depicts Zénaïde Bonaparte with her younger sister, Charlotte. After Napoleon’s final abdication in 1815, the girls and their mother fled to Belgium. Here the young ladies are shown reading a letter from their father, Joseph, who had escaped to America. Their mother was too afraid to cross the ocean, but in 1821, nineteen-year-old Charlotte travelled alone to her father’s estate outside of Philadelphia.  Amazingly, Dr John Stockoë, a former British Navy surgeon who had treated Napoleon on St Helena, was on the same ship.

A year later, after Zénaïde married her cousin Charles, she and her new spouse joined her father and sister in the United States. Charlotte stayed in Pennsylvania for about three years; Zénaïde for almost six.

Their father, Joseph, lived in the United States for almost twenty years, always hoping—some say scheming—for the restoration of the Napoleonic empire. But, after fleeing in 1815, he never set foot in France again.

Writing Links

A Great Literary Agent for Finding Napoleon

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed with a terrific and talented literary agent, Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh, to represent my Napoleon novel. Russ, who bills himself as the only person he “knows of who grew up wanting to be a literary agent,” represents an amazing group of authors, including many New York Times Bestsellers.

Russell Galen, Literary Agent extraordinaireI started out searching for an agent with experience in historical fiction. I ended up with much more.  Russ’s list goes on and on beginning with his early career success with The Mists of Avalon, a tale of King Arthur’s court told from the women’s perspective, that has sold over twenty million copies.  It continues with Diana Gabaldon’s remarkable Outlander series, James Rollins’ thrillers, and Cory Doctorow’s science fiction. And as much as I love his fiction selections, I’m equally attracted to his many non-fiction books on Nature and science topics.

As I told Russ in our initial conversation, I think we’ll be compatible partners because if I were a literary agent, I’d want my list to look just like the one he developed. I’m incredibly pleased that he chose to represent me. So wish Russ (and me) success in placing my manuscript with a great publisher.

Saint Helena The Man Writing Links

Anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Death

Longwood Reception Room Where Napoleon Died 

On May 5, 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died in this room in exile on St Helena Island.

Two years ago, on May 5, 2011, I was in Cape Town, South Africa, on my way to St Helena to do research for my novel.

Margaret at Groot Constantia May 5, 2011 Toasting the EmperorTo commemorate the anniversary of the Emperor’s death, my husband and I visited Groot Constantia, the still-operational vineyard that supplied the Emperor’s wine during his exile. This evening we’ll drink a toast with some of his favorite Grand Constance wine that we brought back to the United States with us.

The Emperor has been dead for 192 years, yet he has been a constant companion to me as I write my novel from his point of view. So, today, a part of me mourns his death while another part of me says Come on. Really?

If you’re not a writer, if you don’t cry over sad books, if you’re not a Napoleon enthusiast, that may sound odd to you. Chalk it up to the wonders of human imagination.

Corsica Miscellany Saint Helena The Man

Napoleon on Camelback in the Musée Fesch

After seeing the photo of me riding an elephant, one of this blog’s readers asked if Napoleon had ridden a camel during his Egyptian Campaign (1798). Yes, Melanie! Here’s a photo I took of a small bronze statue of the Man himself on camelback. It’s displayed in the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, Corsica, Napoleon’s hometown.

The Musée Fesch is named after Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch, who was his mother’s half-brother. A great collector of art and artifacts, the wily Cardinal acquired considerable wealth during Napoleon’s reign.

After Napoleon’s fall, he retired to Rome with his sister, Madame Mère, as Letizia Bonaparte was known. There the two fell under the spell of an Austrian clairvoyant. The woman convinced them that angels had rescued Napoleon from exile in St Helena and were holding him in safety until time came for him to rise into power again. I’ve often wondered if the clairvoyant was an Austrian spy charged with keeping Napoleon’s mother and uncle from promoting plots for Napoleon’s escape from St Helena.

All of which proves (at least to me) that there is almost no end to the interesting stories about Napoleon and his family.

Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Margaret Rodenberg