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Blog Tour: The Girl Who Fought Napoleon by Linda Lafferty: A Book Review

The Girl Who Fought Napoleon
Author: Linda Lafferty
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Pages: 442
Source: This book was given to me by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: In a sweeping story straight out of Russian history, Tsar Alexander I and a courageous girl named Nadezhda Durova join forces against Napoleon.

     It’s 1803, and an adolescent Nadya is determined not to follow in her overbearing Ukrainian mother’s footsteps. She’s a horsewoman, not a housewife. When Tsar Paul is assassinated in St. Petersburg and a reluctant and naive Alexander is crowned emperor, Nadya runs away from home and joins the Russian cavalry in the war against Napoleon. Disguised as a boy and riding her spirited stallion, Alcides, Nadya rises in the ranks, even as her father begs the tsar to find his daughter and send her home.

     Both Nadya and Alexander defy expectations—she as a heroic fighter and he as a spiritual seeker—while the battles of Austerlitz, Friedland, Borodino, and Smolensk rage on.

     In a captivating tale that brings Durova’s memoirs to life, from bloody battlefields to glittering palaces, two rebels dare to break free of their expected roles and discover themselves in the process. 

     My Review: The Girl Who Fought Napoleon tells the story of Nadezhda Durova. She is a young woman who does not want to to be conformed to the expectations of young women. She defies her society and disguises herself as a boy to join the Russian cavalry. There, she eventually fights the infamous emperor, Napoleon. The novel tells two stories that are both intertwined, the story of Nadezhda and Tsar Alexander. Both of these characters are determined not to conform to the expectations of society.

     I really like the story of Nadezhda. She is a very colorful character. She had a hard childhood and vowed to not be like her mother, who is forced to live a life of unhappiness. Because of this, Nadezhda is determined to make her own happiness. She wants to live her life through her choices and doing what she loves. Thus, Nadezhda is a character that readers will love because Nadezhda wants to live her life by being herself.

     As for Tsar Alexander, I did not really like him as much. He seems to be very selfish and narcissistic. While he is determined to live life as he pleases, he does not seem to care that his actions have hurt others. He does not care about the consequences of his actions. Thus, while I like Nadezhda, I did not like Alexander. I really did not like reading his parts of the story.

     Overall, this book is about two people who are determined to escape their bonds of society. The message of the book is to pursue your dreams. I do think this book was meticulously researched and I loved the setting of the Russian Romanov court. This novel is filled with scandals, court intrigue, and war. However, I would have loved The Girl Who Fought Napoleon more if it was solely focused on Nadezhda’s story and left Alexander's story out. I would also have liked it more if there were no time jumps back and forth because I found the story harder to follow. I also found the ending to be a bit disappointing because it seemed like it came out of nowhere. Still, I recommend this book for those who would like read about the fascinating life of an obscure historical figure and the Romanovs.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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