In the Shadow of the Empress

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474609890

Price: £25

ON SALE: 16th September 2021

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

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Out of the thrilling and tempestuous eighteenth century comes the sweeping family saga of beautiful Maria Theresa, a sovereign of extraordinary strength and vision, the only woman ever to inherit and rule the vast Habsburg empire in her own name, and three of her remarkable daughters: lovely, talented Maria Christina, governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands; spirited Maria Carolina, the resolute queen of Naples; and the youngest, Marie Antoinette, the glamorous, tragic queen of France, perhaps the most famous princess in history.

Unfolding against an irresistible backdrop of brilliant courts from Vienna to Versailles, embracing the exotic lure of Naples and Sicily, this epic history of Maria Theresa and her daughters is a tour de force of desire, adventure, ambition, treachery, sorrow, and glory.

Each of these women’s lives was packed with passion and heart-stopping suspense. Maria Theresa inherited her father’s thrones at the age of twenty-three and was immediately attacked on all sides by foreign powers confident that a woman would to be too weak to defend herself. Maria Christina, a gifted artist, who alone among her sisters succeeded in marrying for love, would face the same dangers that destroyed the monarchy in France. Resourceful Maria Carolina would usher in the golden age of Naples only to then face the deadly whirlwind of Napoleon. And, finally, Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen whose stylish excesses and captivating notoriety have masked the truth about her husband and herself for two hundred and fifty years.

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Adding wry humor to her lucid narrative, Goldstone clarifies the era's complex politics and pinpoints how these commanding women helped give shape to modern Europe. This mesmerizing history isn't to be missed.
Publishers Weekly
Nancy Goldstone has the amazing ability of taking on huge subjects-in her latest work, she concerns herself with the life of Empress Maria Theresa and three of her sixteen children, her favorite, the archduchess Maria Christina, Maria Carolina, queen of Naples, and the tragic and famous Queen Marie Antoinette-and turning very complicated stories into a thrilling and coherent narrative. Her deep knowledge of the period, her clear-eyed empathy for her subjects and her effortless style makes for a riveting, entertaining and enlightening book.
Anka Muhlstein, author of The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels
In the Shadow of the Empress is engrossing historical storytelling, filled with suspense, tantalizing mysteries, intimate family drama, and details of terror, cruelty, courage, and passion, set in the revolutionary cauldron of eighteenth-century Europe.
Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World
In the Shadow of the Empress is a virtuoso performance, Goldstone at the peak of her creative abilities... the depth of her research and the acuity of her insights are outstanding.
Gerard DeGroot, The Times
Nancy Goldstone's volume...has much to recommend it...What she does deliver is a highly readable narrative, with plenty of good anecdotes drawn from contemporary memoirs and lively pen-portraits.
Elegantly written... The author deftly interweaves the ups and downs of Maria Theresa's running contest with Frederick the Great with the vicissitudes of her life as Europe's most prolific procreator... a lively account... rich storytelling.
Wall Street Journal