It seems mildly cruel to recommend books that are out of print, but I’m about to do just that. One of the favorite books of my teens was Anne-Marie Selinko’s Desiree, the tale of Napoleon’s first love, whom he ditched for Josephine. Fear not! Desiree found a far less egomanaical (not to mention taller) chevalier in another revolutionary luminary, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte.
That the Pink series is what it is owes a great deal to this book and the hold it exercised over my imagination back in those formative Middle School days.
There was one problem. Desiree was out of print. On a trip to Paris, I managed to get my hands on a French copy. I felt extremely smug about it until I sat down to read it and made the shocking discovery that the French copy was, well, in French. It might have been more accurate, but it just wasn’t the same. I wanted my Desiree back, the one with the ratty dark blue covers and the inauthentically English-speaking heroine.
It finally dawned on me, this past month, that this is what online used booksellers are for. I am now the proud owner of a second-hand copy of Desiree (in English!) that looks just like the one in the school library.
And, yes, it IS just as wonderful as I remember it being.
Which beloved old books would you recommend?