Betsy and the Emperor
(Simon Pulse, April 2, 2009)
"Think, my dear -- just think what it will be like, to be known as the girl who freed the great Napoleon Bonaparte!"Fourteen-year-old English girl Betsy Balcombe and her family have a most unusual house guest: Napoleon Bonaparte, former emperor of France and the most feared man on earth. Once lord and master to eighty-two million souls, now in 1815, Napoleon is a captive of the British people. Stripped of his empire and robbed of his young family and freedom, he is confined to the forbidding, rat-infested island of St. Helena, where a cruel jailer and more than two thousand British troops guard his every move.The one bright star in Napoleon's black sky is Betsy, a blazingly rebellious teenager whose family is reluctantly housing the notorious prisoner. Betsy is the only foreigner Napoleon's ever met who is not impressed by him and doesn't tremble at the sight of him -- and Napoleon is more than intrigued. After fits and starts, a most remarkable friendship develops between Betsy and the emperor -- a friendship that transcends age and politics. As Betsy develops from a gangly, tomboyish girl to a blossoming young woman, this unexpected and wonderful alliance survives inevitable gossip and growing pains, giving Betsy the courage to pursue her dreams -- and Napoleon the courage to face his dark future. It also inspires Betsy to hatch a daring and dangerous plan on Napoleon's behalf, a scheme that could threaten both of their lives and shake entire empires to their foundations. Based on true events, Staton Rabin's story blends humor, adventure, and poignant drama, vividly revealing new insights into the heart and mind of one of the most towering, fascinating historical figures of our time -- and tells a tale of hope and bravery that will inspire readers to their own heights of courage.