The vibrant, sprawling saga of Empress Maria Theresa—one of the most renowned women rulers in history—and three of her extraordinary daughters, including Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen of France.

Out of the thrilling and tempestuous eighteenth century comes the sweeping family saga of beautiful Maria Theresa, a sovereign of uncommon strength and vision, the only woman ever to inherit and rule the vast Habsburg Empire in her own name, and three of her remarkable daughters: lovely, talented Maria Christina, governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands; spirited Maria Carolina, the resolute queen of Naples; and the youngest, Marie Antoinette, the glamorous, tragic queen of France, and perhaps the most famous princess in history.
Unfolding against an irresistible backdrop of brilliant courts from Vienna to Versailles, embracing the exotic lure of Naples and Sicily, this epic history of Maria Theresa and her daughters is a tour de force of desire, adventure, ambition, treachery, sorrow, and glory.
Each of these women’s lives was packed with passion and heart-stopping suspense. Maria Theresa inherited her father’s thrones at the age of twenty-three and was immediately attacked on all sides by foreign powers confident that a woman would to be too weak to defend herself. Maria Christina, a gifted artist who alone among her sisters succeeded in marrying for love, would face the same dangers that destroyed the monarchy in France. Resourceful Maria Carolina would usher in the golden age of Naples only to face the deadly whirlwind of Napoleon. And, finally, Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen whose stylish excesses and captivating notoriety have masked the truth about her husband and herself for two hundred and fifty years.
Vividly written and deeply researched, In the Shadow of the Empress is the riveting story of four exceptional women who changed the course of history.

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Reader Reviews


Praise for In the Shadow of the Empress:

“Fascinating… Adding wry humor to her lucid narrative, Goldstone clarifies the era’s complex politics and pinpoints how these commanding women helped give shape to modern Europe. This mesmerizing history isn’t to be missed.”—Publisher Weekly (starred review)
“Nancy Goldstone has the amazing ability of taking on huge subjects—in her latest work, she concerns herself with the life of Empress Maria Theresa and three of her sixteen children, her favorite, the archduchess Maria Christina, Maria Carolina, queen of Naples, and the tragic and famous Queen Marie Antoinette—and turning very complicated stories into a thrilling and coherent narrative. Her deep knowledge of the period, her clear-eyed empathy for her subjects and her effortless style makes for a riveting, entertaining and enlightening book.”—Anka Muhlstein, author of The Pen and the Brush: How Passion for Art Shaped Nineteenth-Century French Novels

“Maria Theresa is a study in contrasts—extraordinary female power in a man’s world, the creation of a vibrant and warm family life from which daughters were farmed out to the highest-paying prince, and a bold leader brought to her knees by insecurity and fear. Goldstone pulls all the messy, human incongruities of a pugnacious late 18th century Europe together into a page-turner of a book that makes me feel like I know these people. (Oh, and the smallpox is the plot twist that keeps on giving.)”

Kara Cooney, author of When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt
In the Shadow of the Empress is engrossing historical storytelling, filled with suspense, tantalizing mysteries, intimate family drama, and details of terror, cruelty, courage, and passion, set in the revolutionary cauldron of eighteenth-century Europe.”—Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World
Praise for Daughters of the Winter Queen:

"Goldstone's forthright and often witty asides keep this complicated story bowling along at a terrific pace...Lively and well-researched, Daughters of the Winter Queen offers a timely introduction to a turbulent period in Britain's past relations with Europe."—Miranda Seymour, New York Times Book Review
"So enjoyable.... Goldstone is a popular historian whose writing is based on very serious research, with a gift for telling the most complicated tale in vivid, accessible prose."
Anka Muhlstein, New York Review of Books
"Goldstone's riveting history examines the famous rift between Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois, who were mother and daughter."
Isabella Biedenharn, Entertainment Weekly
"Goldstone (The Rival Queens) once again places a much-deserved spotlight on remarkable women from European history...A compulsively readable account of an otherwise unfamiliar royal family. Goldstone writes with knowledge, humor, and ease--a masterly storyteller who steers clear of overly academic language. Ideal for amateur Tudor historians who wish to be introduced to a lesser-known yet equally fascinating royal family."—Library Journal (starred review)
"Goldstone is a master juggler. She tells a good story, always with a delightfully light touch. In the process, extraordinary women are given the attention they deserve."—Gerard DeGroot, The Times of London
"Tudor fans will be lured in by this history set in Renaissance France."
Jocelyn McClurg, USA Today
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