Over the past 130 years, Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte has inspired countless books, movies, articles, and fictionalized accounts. None captures the full measure of her fascinating life. The product of thirty years of study, Helen Jean Burn's life of Betsy Bonaparte surpasses its predecessors in scope, depth, and soul. Born in Baltimore to a wealthy family in 1785, Elizabeth Patterson shook local and Parisian society when she wed Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the Emperor Napoleon. Insisting on a better future for his brother, the emperor annulled the marriage, but not before it produced a son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte. Betsy's failed quest to win royal status for her son and grandsons consumed the remainder of her seventy-four years, decades that transformed her from the glamorous "belle of Baltimore" into a shrewd and successful businesswoman determined to protect her family.
Helen Jean Burn spent most of her working life in television, and as head writer for Maryland Public Television, she specialized in historical documentaries. She is the author of two books: Savannah, a historical novel, and Better than the Birds, Smarter than the Bees: No Nonsense Answers to Honest Questions about Sex and Growing Up. She has also published work in such magazines as Redbook, McCall's, and Good Housekeeping.
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