Désirée by Annemarie Selinko

bookshelves: hardback, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, published-1953, spring-2014, tbr-busting-2014, sweden, napoleonic, france, revolution, epistolatory-diary-blog

Read from February 22 to March 10, 2014

 

Translated by Arnold Bender and E W Dickes. Bender and Dickes, eh?

My edition was published by the Reprint Society Ltd., by arrangement with William Heinemann Ltd. 1954.

The pages are tissue thin and the print is super small; the dust jacket is in good nick considering it is two years older than I am. Page count of my edition is 510.

TO THE MEMORY OF MY SISTER
LISOLETTE
HER JOYOUS SPIRIT
HER GREATNESS OF HEART

Opening: PART I
THE DAUGHTER OF A SILK MERCHANT OF MARSEILLES

MARSEILLES, at the beginning of Germinal, Year II (the end of March 1794 by Mama’s old-fashioned reckoning.)

I think a woman can get her way better with a man if she has a well-rounded figure. So I’ve decided to stuff four handkerchiefs into the front of my dress tomorrow; then I shall look really grown up. Actually I am grown up already, but nobody knows that, and I don’t altogether look it.

From the frontispiece by Nancy Mitford:

In 1823 Désirée went to Sweden for good and was crowned queen, though always keeping in the background of public life.

It took perserverance to get through the diary of a fourteen year old yet Selinko did a good job of character progression and we wound up with a sensible woman. Needless to say I found the Swedish connection very interesting. Whilst I could not recommend this to anyone, it was good to get it off the TBR Mountain.

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