#BookReview: Empress Charlotte: The Princess and the Archduke by Fabien Nury & Mattieu Bonhomme

Historical Graphic Novel

Empress Charlotte #1

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At sixteen, Princess Charlotte falls in love with an Austrian archduke, Maximilian of the House of Habsburg. Soon enough, she finds herself enmeshed in the cruel and unpredictable world of international diplomacy as her marriage founders. Increasingly shrewd, naïveté and idealism replaced by practicality and skepticism, Charlotte will help ensure that she and Maximilian are sent to Mexico to reign as emperor and empress…

The only daughter of Leopold I, Charlotte of Belgium, grows up in the protective shelter of her father’s court. Sweet and idealistic, Charlotte is ill-prepared for the intrigues of Europe’s power players, a fact that become readily apparent soon after her marriage to Archduke Maximillian. Forced to sink or swim among the Austrian Hapsburgs, Charlotte is must learn to play the game by their rules or consign herself to life as an isolated political pawn.

Charlotte’s is a story that begs to be told and I loved how Nury and Bonhomme approached it. The book has a lot of emotional depth and I found the political dialogue neatly presented in the context of the heroine’s experiences. Charlotte’s character arc is beautifully rendered, Prince Philippe and Felix Eloin make superb supporting characters, and I was thoroughly impressed by the characterizations of the Count of Bombelles and Empress Elisabeth.

The artwork is a little old-fashioned for my tastes, but I enjoyed the time I spent with this book and can’t wait to see the rest of the story play out.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: October 7, 2018

“There's nothing to say... I don't want my family to find out. Not my father, not Philippe... nobody.”