Champagne Widows by Rebecca RosenbergeBook Publication Date: October 1, 2021 Lion Heart Publishing Genre: Historical Fiction Triple-gold-medal-winning author Rebecca Rosenberg serves up a triumphant tale of talent and ambition, love and loss, betrayal and redemption, and accepting yourself and others for who they are. Champagne, France, 1800 Twenty-year-old Barbe-Nicole has inherited Le Nez (an uncanny sense of smell that makes her picky, persnickety, and particularly perceptive) from her great-grandfather, a renowned champagne maker. Her parents, however, see Le Nez as a curse and try to marry her off to an unsuspecting suitor. But Barbe-Nicole is determined to use Le Nez to make great champagne. When she learns her childhood sweetheart, François Clicquot, wants to start a winery, she rejects her parents’ suitors and marries François despite his mental illness.
The Widow Known as Veuve Clicquot Soon, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot must cope with her husband’s death. Becoming a widow known as Veuve Clicquot, she grapples with a new overbearing partner, the difficulties of making champagne and the Napoleon Codes preventing women from owning a business. All this while her father takes a military uniform contract from Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who wages six wars against European monarchs, crippling Veuve Clicquot’s ability to sell her champagne.
Challenging Napoleon Using Le Nez, Veuve Clicquot struggles through unbearable hardships and challenges Napoleon himself. When she falls in love with her sales manager, Louis Bohne, who asks her to marry, she must choose between losing her winery to her husband, as dictated by Napoleon Code or losing Louis. In the ultimate showdown, Veuve Clicquot risks imprisonment and even death as she defies Napoleon.
About the AuthorCalifornia native Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where she and her husband founded the largest lavender product company in America. A long-time student of Jack London’s work and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian, Rosenberg is a graduate of the Stanford Writing Certificate Program. Her books include: GOLD DIGGER, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, The Secret Life of Mrs. London, Lavender Fields of America, and the Champagne Widows series.
GiveawayEnter to win a paperback copy or eBook of Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg! The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on October 29th. 10 winners will receive a prize pack including a signed copy of Champagne Widows, champagne earrings, champagne jellybeans, champagne bubbles, and a champagne bath bomb! You must be 18 or older to enter. Champagne Widows
“For anyone who loves champagne, a must-read novel about Veuve Clicquot.”
~ Judithe Little, best-selling author of The Chanel Sisters”These first known women of Champagne/Sparkling winemaking may not have even realized how strong they were until they had to learn and do it all to survive for themselves and their wineries! Reading Champagne Widows makes it even more of an honor tolearn a craft still dominated by men.” ~ Penny Gadd-Coster, ExecutiveDirector of Winemaking, Rack & Riddle
“The sun-drenched vineyards of France, a real-life heroine who against all odds refuses to give up her dreams… and champagne. What’s not to love? And that’s just what Rebecca Rosenberg delivers in Champagne Widows. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot was a woman ahead of her time, a fascinating blend of ingenuity, heart, and sheer tenacity, with a nose for wine and a head for business. A 19th century widow who built an empire as war raged all around her. Note: This richly woven tale is best savored slowly, though with all delicious things, it won’t be easy.” ~ Barbara Davis, best-selling author of The Last of the Moon Girls.
“Champagne Widows is a witty, accomplished novel, featuring a tough and charming heroine of the first order. One can’t help but root for Barbe-Nicole, an astute businesswoman who brilliantly holds her own against none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. Although the events unfold two centuries ago, the story feels so modern, the characters could be your friends and neighbors. As easy to love as a glass of Veuve Clicquot, this may be Rebecca Rosenberg’s best book yet.” ~ Michelle Richmond, best-selling author of The Marriage Pact.
“Award-winning author, Rebecca Rosenberg returns with another Historical Fiction jewel in CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. Meet the women who succeeded in creating world class champagne in a time men ruled business and society. Lovers of history, romance, and French culture will relish the multi-layered plot and cast of characters including the ultimate French icon, Napoleon Bonaparte.” ~ Johnnie Bernhard, award-winning author of Sisters of the Undertow
What a wonderful work of historical fiction! We are immediately transported back to the Napoleonic wars, and meet Barbe Nicole Ponsardin, the gifted “Le Nez” who can smell the hidden essence of the grapes she grows. Her sense of smell is so powerful that she sometimes thinks she can smell “..the stink of a lie, or the perfume of a pure heart.” She dreams of using this uncanny sense of smell to make champagne. We watch as Barbe Nicole refuses to give up the right to marry the man she loves, Francois Clicquot, and begins their wine business. The bloody path of Napoleon is recounted by Francois, a former soldier, who is haunted by atrocities he was forced to commit in war.
Barbe-Nicole becomes a young widow, the “Veuve Clicquot,” tragically losing Francois to illness. She continues to try to grow their wine business, employing many widows along the way. Her father is in a business contract with Napoleon himself, and Barbe Nicole is forced to deal with the Emperor while trying to protect her father, who is in fact a royalist. At the same time, she is trying to retain control of her winery. This inspiring story of the first “champagne widow” and owner of the champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is woven throughout with history of the Napoleonic wars. The portrayal of Napoleon himself is fascinating. The grit and determination of Clicquot to keep her lands and grow her business, even in the midst of war, is an inspiring look at the timeless and continuing fight of women for their rights. I especially enjoyed the cunning of “Le Nez” and her ability to continually thwart the plans that others made for her life. This spirit of independence possessed by Cliquot and others paved the way for the rights of women today.
Rebecca Rosenberg has made the past come to life. Barbe-Nicole’s determination sparkles as brightly as her champagne, and Napoleon is plagued by the devil that drives him to further and more shocking atrocities. Those interested in Napoleon, the Champagne Widows, or the history of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin will enjoy this book.
I received a free copy of this book via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (HFVBT). My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.