I was sent a free copy of Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. All opinions are my own.
About Champagne Widows:
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.
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.
“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 to learn a craft still dominated by men.” ~ Penny Gadd-Coster, Executive Director 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
“Champagne Widows is an inspired story based on the real-life Grande Dame of Champagne, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, who built her famous champagne empire amidst the turbulence of 19th century France. Barbe-Nicole is my kind of heroine: a woman with passion, courage, family loyalty, and a killer business sense.
Rebecca Rosenberg’s sensual details make every scene of this intimate novel come alive. A true reading pleasure!” ~ Martha Conway, best-selling author of The Underground River and The Physician’s Daughter
“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
“An epic story featuring love, family, and the sustaining power of courage. Champagne Widows takes the reader back in time for an intimate look at the building of the iconic brand Veuve Clicquot.
In the aftermath of Napoleon’s rise to power, Barbe-Nicole and her husband Francois share a vision of creating a champagne that will astound the world. Despite war, death, blockades, and failed harvests, Barbe-Nicole ultimately succeeds.” ~ M.K. Tod, author of Paris In Ruins and award-winning blog A Writer of History
“Raise a glass to Veuve Clicquot and all the women from history to the present, who have broken the mold and overcome obstacles to succeed in all-male professions. Just as a champagne bottle pops bringing delectable flavors and delicious aromas, Rebecca Rosenberg delights the senses with her engrossing novel.
She treats the reader to a perfect blend of history and story – with lots of champagne! Sit back and savor the tale of Veuve Clicquot. ” ~ Linda Rosen, author of Sisters of the Vine
“Rebecca Rosenberg has penned a spectacular saga about the first “Champagne widow” of France, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. With her gift, known as Le Nez (the nose), Barbe-Nicole can “smell the stink of a lie or the perfume of a pure heart. Or the heartbreaking smell of what could have been.”
Along with her expertise, she possesses courage and vision, overcoming incredible odds during the time of the Napoleonic Code, which left widows without property rights—in Barbe-Nicole’s case, her Champagne business.
Seamlessly interwoven with historical letters from Napoleon, the book sweeps the reader into the early nineteenth-century world. But it’s her imaginative tale of Veuve Clicquot’s personal life that captured me and wouldn’t let go until the end, leaving me wanting more!” ~ Susan Cushman, author of John and Mary Margaret
“An independent woman of indomitable strength, determined to find her way in a man’s world. Champagne Widows is vintage storytelling.” ~ Jean M. Roberts, author of The Heron
“Rebecca Rosenberg transforms history into literary art. Her prose sparkles, bringing centuries-old characters to life with wit, heart and bon mots. Treat yourself to Champagne Widows, and marvel at Rosenberg’s gift for making every sense sing.” ~ Carol Van Den Hende, award-winning author of Goodbye, Orchid
“Like the best wines, Rosenberg’s Champagne Widows will entice you with its complexity as it balances the story of a widow’s determination to produce the world’s greatest champagne in the face of Napoleon’s path of destruction.
If you love France, historical fiction, underdog stories, strong women, or wine, then pop a cork to celebrate this perfect blend of a novel.” ~ Mary Helen Sheriff, author of Boop and Eve’s Road Trip
About the Author:
California 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.
For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Amazon, BookBub, Facebook,
I, like many other people I am sure, had heard of Veuve Clicquot champagne but knew absolutely nothing about its origins – other than it came from France. How about you? Do you know the story of the company? Have you ever tasted it? I have not had the pleasure. I have had sips of a big competitor with the initials M et C. But I am sure that is another story altogether.
What I can say about Champagne Widow is that it is a story of perseverance. Barbe-Nicole is born into a champagne producing family and discovers as a teenager that she has been born with a great gift, although sometimes it feels like a curse – Le Nez.
The Nose. She has a hyper developed sense of smell and can tell just by sniffing if the grapes are good and what varietals will mix to create a delightfully perfect wine.
But times are not good for wine growers; the weather has been problematic and there is the small problem of Napoleon. He comes, he goes, he comes, he reigns, he goes, he comes OY! Will he ever go away? Well, we do know the answer to that but for the sake of the story let’s pretend we don’t know for he does play a role in the tale.
Barbe-Nicole is always at the center of the story along with the champagne as she is as vital to it as it is to her. Her drive and perseverance are what keep the dream of the house of Clicquot alive during very trying times from drought to disease to war this is a story of one woman’s passion for champagne.
I was truly enthralled with the story of how Veuve Clicquot came to be what it is. It was not an easy road for the company nor the woman who gave it her name. Ms. Rosenberg quite deftly weaves in the craft of winemaking into her story so you don’t feel overwhelmed with information but rather want to learn more.
It’s truly a story that shows if you have a dream you shouldn’t give up no matter what. When you have a quality product time is on your side.
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