The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Viking Books for Young Readers
Hardcover & eBook; 384 Pages
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom 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 as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror.
Where will Hortense’s future lie?
Inspired by Hortense’s real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn’t choose.
My Review: The Game of Hope focuses on the teen years of Napoleon’s step-daughter, Hortense. While Napoleon and her mother are away, Hortense attends a boarding school whose mistress once served Marie Antoinette. Hortense has to deal with friendship, rumors about her mother’s love affair, accepting her father’s death, and accepting Napoleon as her step-father. Most of all, Hortense wonders what her future will be and what role she will play in the emerging of the Napoleonic era.
I really thought this book was a cute, charming, young adult novel. I really like how the author made Hortense into a real teen. While it is set in the early Napoleonic era, there are many issues that will resonate with the teenagers of today. Hortense has to deal with school, friendships, family, and boys. Thus, Hortense was a very identifiable and realistic character. I also liked how Hortense had her flaws. She can be judgmental, stubborn, and selfish at times. However, she is a determined and independent woman. She wants to follow her dream, which is to compose. Hortense also finds encouragement and support in unlikely places. Thus, Hortense learns to rely on and trust others.
Overall, this is a coming-of-age story that deals with self-identify, acceptance, and loss. I thought all of the historical figures were well-rounded, especially Napoleon. He is portrayed as a man that loves and supports his step-daughter. The novel was written with meticulous historical detail. There were a few paranormal elements in The Game of Hope that I thought were unnecessary. Still, there was never a dull moment, and it left me wanting more. I wish that the author would write one more sequel because I did not want this novel to end. Hortense was such a fascinating character, and I hope that she will be a subject in future works! The Game of Hope is a feast for fans of Michelle Moran, Carolyn Meyer, and Katherine Longshore!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Praise for The Game of Hope“Gulland, who’s clearly done her research, includes plenty of documented moments and people from Hortense’s life, which cultivates a rich sense of atmosphere . . . Teen fans of historical fiction fascinated by the period will find plenty to appreciate here.” — Booklist
“Gulland has built a career writing historical fiction for adults … . Her pitch-perfect balance of lush period details and character-driven narrative shines again in The Game of Hope. — Quill & Quire
“[The Game of Hope] captures the essence of the period. It is not just a story about a girl; it is about the time; it is about the people whose lives she touched and about the changes spurned from the revolution. That is what makes it so grand and captivating.” — Cyn’s Workshop Review
“Sandra Gulland’s writing is enchanting and beautiful.” — Krimsuun Pages
About the AuthorSandra Gulland is an American-born Canadian novelist specializing in historical fiction. She is the author of the internationally bestselling trilogy of adult books based on the life of Josephine de Beauharnais Bonaparte, as well as two novels set at the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Her books have been published in sixteen countries, translated into thirteen languages, and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
Sandra Gulland’s novels include The Josephine B. Trilogy, The Shadow Queen, Mistress of the Sun, and The Game of Hope.
GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Game of Hope to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
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Game of Hope