Back in May, I ran a couple of posts introducing some of the real historical people who pop up in The Garden Intrigue. It’s always rather nice to be able to put a face to a name. Since May was rather a long time ago, I’ve compiled those two entries here.
Here are some of the (real) folks you’ll meet in The Garden Intrigue:
Emma’s cousin is just at the end of his tenure as Envoy to France and ready to return to his Hudson home, Arryl. While in France, Livingston has teamed up with an inventor named Robert Fulton to experiment with the idea of a ship run by steam.
Emma has known the American-born inventor ever since he created a stir in Paris in 1800 with the first ever panorama– they even named a street after him: the Rue des Panoramas. Fulton has been of invaluable assistance to Emma, helping to come up with ingenious engineering solutions to the drainage issues on Emma’s (deceased) husband’s estate. Not to mention that he’s pretty useful when it comes to making special effects for a masque.
Emma’s best friend since their days at Mme Campan’s school for young ladies, Hortense is the daughter of Josephine Bonaparte by her first marriage. Hortense is locked into a loveless marriage with Napoleon’s younger brother Louis. (For more about Hortense, see my prior post, here.)
Napoleon’s youngest sister has cordially detested Hortense ever since their school days at Mme C’s– and she detests Emma by extension. She’s a prime mover in the attempt to get Bonaparte to discard his wife and take a younger model. The Bonapartes and the Beauharnais do not get along.
Her real name may have been Rose, but when Bonaparte started calling her Josephine, why object? Easy going and good-natured, Bonaparte’s Creole wife has a potent charm and a taste for expensive things. She’s also several years older than her husband (although they both lied about their ages on their marriage certificate) and under attack for her inability to provide an heir.
You saw this one coming, right? In the summer of 1804, Napoleon has just had himself voted Emperor of the French– but he’s miffed because none of his admirals like his plans for the invasion of England.
We also have a bunch of folks who don’t put in direct appearances, but who are mentioned frequently, such as:
American Envoy to France from 1794 to 1796, Monroe brings his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, and his daughter Eliza to France with him, enrolling her in Mme Campan’s school– as well as his wife’s (fictional) niece, Emma Morris. Poor man. He never imagined that his niece would create an international scandal by running off from Mme Campan’s and eloping with a Frenchman.
A former lady in waiting to Marie Antoinette, her school in St. Germain-en-Laye becomes the It place for the daughters of the new regime. Her pupils included Hortense de Beauharnais, Caroline Bonaparte, Eliza Monroe, and Aglaé Louise Auguié (future wife of Marshall Ney).
Napoleon’s younger brother was about as thrilled to be married off to Josephine’s daughter Hortense as Hortense was to be married to him. The match is pushed by Napoleon and Josephine, with the deal that Hortense’s and Louis’ kids will be Napoleon’s heirs. Depressive and moody, Louis suspects his sunny-natured wife of all sorts of iniquities. It doesn’t help that right before the marriage, his brother Lucien imparted the malicious rumor that Hortense was having an affair with her own stepfather. In short, Louis is miserable and does his best to make Hortense miserable, too. In 1804, they have one child and another on the way.
Napoleon Charles Bonaparte
Pictured here with his mother in 1806, Hortense’s oldest son is only one and a half in the summer of 1804, when Garden Intrigue takes place. Possibly heir to Bonaparte, the poor, wee thing is a sickly child, causing Hortense a great deal of worry. (Our characters don’t know this at the time, but he dies in 1807, at the age of four.) It doesn’t help that Caroline Murat’s son, Achille, is a healthy little rabble-rouser. (For Hortense’s long-standing feud with Napoleon’s younger sister, Caroline, see last week’s Teaser Tuesday.)
Not to be confused with the guy who was stabbed in his bath (i.e. Marat), Murat was a dashing army officer who caught the eye of Napoleon’s teenage sister, Caroline, who insisted they be allowed to marry, despite her older brother’s reservations. Murat has a taste for flamboyant clothing and an eye for the ladies. (Although “lady” might not be quite the right word.) We’ve see him in the Pink books before. He’s been around griping about Caroline in Pink I and dallying with an actress during his stint as Governor of Paris in The Orchid Affair. In summer of 1804, he’s just been made a Marshall of France. He also happens to be buddy buddy with our good friend, Georges Marston.
Hortense’s older brother is pretty much the opposite of Murat in every way. Josephine’s son by her first marriage is well-liked in Bonaparte’s court, good-natured and hard-working. Along with Bonaparte’s relatives, he’s raised to the style of Imperial Highness in the summer of 1804. More importantly, he’s been a sort of surrogate brother to Emma during her years in France.
More Garden fun coming up soon! Is there anything in particular you’d like to know about? Just drop me a comment and let me know!