Monday, 25 June 2018

The Game of Hope


Author: Sandra Gulland
Genre: Historical Fiction, Teen
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Viking Books (Penguin Random House Canada)
First Published: June 26, 2018
First Line: "I saw a man approaching."

Book Description from GoodReadsFor Napoleon's stepdaughter, nothing is simple - especially love.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense at the outset as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror.

Where will Hortense's future lie? it may not be in her power to decide.

Inspired by Hortense's real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of life long ago, this is the story of a girl destined by fate to play a role she didn't choose.


My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: The Game of Hope is a historical fiction novel for Teens that focuses on the life of Hortense de Beauharnais, Napoleon Bonaparte's 15-year-old stepdaughter. The story is set in 1798 in France, not long after the horrors during the Reign of Terror.


This was a quiet, slowly paced book that focuses on Hortense's life. It's a coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to deal with the after effects of The Terror and her unique family life, while still dealing with the normal struggles of teenage girls of that era.
The Game of Hope had an interesting focus and premise and readers should enjoy getting to see a different side to Napoleon as a family man as he rises to power. But I was hoping for more historical detail. Readers learn about the history from the sidelines and only through Hortense' point of view as she goes about her daily life. Gulland provides a broad sense of post-Revolution France, but I had to draw on previous books (namely Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran) for a clearer picture of the devastation and horror of the time. Without a clearer picture of the era outside of Hortense' small world, I don't know if teens will truly grasp how horrific the Terror was for French citizens.

This is a good introduction of French history for teen girls featuring a protagonist their own age who lived a unique life as part of the Boneparte family and continues to deal with the after effects of the French Revolution.

Disclaimer: This Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

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