By Dianne Kowal Kirtley’61
Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, Inc., 2013
While conducting research on her husband’s family lineage, Dianne Kowal Kirtley came across letters written by her husband’s great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Mailliard, whose parents were personal secretaries to Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother.
The handwritten letters inspired her to write this historical novel, which follows Charlotte’s trajectory from age 14, when she goes from leading a life of privilege in Paris and Florence, and being a schoolmate of the Bonaparte’s nephews, to the Illinois frontier, circa 1841, after her family decides to emigrate to the United States.
Kirtley taught English, journalism, and creative writing at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Ill., for 25 years.