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Betsy and the Emperor

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About the Author

Staton Rabin has a BFA in Film from New York University. In addition to writing for children, she is a screenplay analyst for Script Magazine and a story analyst for New Line Cinema. She lives in Irvington, New York, and is working on a new novel for this age range.


"Rabin takes the inspiration for her entertaining if farfetched account of Napoleon Bonaparte's final years from the life of a real British 14-year-old, Betsy Balcombe," wrote PW. "A light read for those who like their lessons served with a large dollop of froth." Ages 10-14. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 5-9-Betsy Balcombe has just returned to her remote island home of St. Helena from boarding school in London. At 14, she is a headstrong, adventure-seeking young lady. She gamely faces the challenge of playing host to Napoleon Bonaparte, who is exiled on the forbidding island after his capture at Waterloo. The only member of her family who is not timid around the former emperor of France, Betsy strikes up an unlikely friendship with "Boney" that surprises both of them. Rabin presents an interesting and intimate look at the life of one of history's most famous men. The relationship between Betsy and Napoleon is well captured and satisfying, and the historical details are well researched. However, some of the plot seems improbable, such as when Betsy watches her brothers' tutor die in a horrible accident that is partly her fault, only to be dancing and flirting at a ball a few days later. Still, this daredevil protagonist engages in many thrilling escapades, from a hot-air balloon flight to a horserace. An author's note fills in some of the details about the real Betsy Balcombe.-Anna M. Nelson, Seabrook Library, NH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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