Sandra Gulland’s Game of Hope is strong YA historical fiction

THE GAME OF HOPE, by Sandra Gulland, Viking Books for Young Readers, June 26, 2018, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)

Sandra Gulland’s The Game of Hope is one of the books that I read during my mom’s hospitalization. After finishing it, it landed in a pile that got lost behind other things. Upon cleaning my office — an amazing feat in and of itself — I found the pile and realized I had a lot of reviewing to get to.

The Game of Hope is inspired by the real-life autobiography of Napoleon’s stepdaughter Hortense de Beauharnais.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother’s dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense at the outset as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror. Where will Hortense’s future lie? It may not be in her power to decide. —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers

The Game of Hope is a fascinating read. Though fictionalized, it is based on reality. We often read of those who opposed Napoleon, but here we see him from the inside. We see how those closest to him walked a fine line tinged with fear.

Hortense is a likeable character and Gulland’s writing is easy and pacing spot on for a lighter read. If you enjoy historical fiction, The Game of Hope is a good choice.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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