BY REBECCA ROSENBERG
eBook Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Lion Heart Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Triple-gold-medal-winning author Rebecca Rosenberg serves up a triumphant tale of talent and ambition, love and loss, betrayal and redemption, and accepting yourself and others for who they are.
Champagne, France, 1800
Twenty-year-old Barbe-Nicole has inherited Le Nez (an uncanny sense of smell that makes her picky, persnickety, and particularly perceptive) from her great-grandfather, a renowned champagne maker.
Her parents, however, see Le Nez as a curse and try to marry her off to an unsuspecting suitor. But Barbe-Nicole is determined to use Le Nez to make great champagne. When she learns her childhood sweetheart, François Clicquot, wants to start a winery, she rejects her parents’ suitors and marries François despite his mental illness.
The Widow Known as Veuve Clicquot
Soon, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot must cope with her husband’s death. Becoming a widow known as Veuve Clicquot, she grapples with a new overbearing partner, the difficulties of making champagne and the Napoleon Codes preventing women from owning a business.
All this while her father takes a military uniform contract from Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who wages six wars against European monarchs, crippling Veuve Clicquot’s ability to sell her champagne.
Using Le Nez, Veuve Clicquot struggles through unbearable hardships and challenges Napoleon himself. When she falls in love with her sales manager, Louis Bohne, who asks her to marry, she must choose between losing her winery to her husband, as dictated by Napoleon Code or losing Louis. In the ultimate showdown, Veuve Clicquot risks imprisonment and even death as she defies Napoleon.
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
“For anyone who loves champagne, a must-read novel about Veuve Clicquot.”
~ Judithe Little, best-selling author of The Chanel Sisters”These first known women ofChampagne/Sparkling winemaking may not have even realized how strong they wereuntil they had to learn and do it all to survive for themselves and theirwineries! Reading Champagne Widows makes it even more of an honor tolearn a craft still dominated by men.” ~ Penny Gadd-Coster, ExecutiveDirector of Winemaking, Rack & Riddle
“The sun-drenched vineyards of France, a real-life heroine who against all odds refuses to give up her dreams… and champagne. What’s not to love? And that’s just what Rebecca Rosenberg delivers in Champagne Widows. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot was a woman ahead of her time, a fascinating blend of ingenuity, heart, and sheer tenacity, with a nose for wine and a head for business. A 19th century widow who built an empire as war raged all around her. Note: This richly woven tale is best savored slowly, though with all delicious things, it won’t be easy.” ~ Barbara Davis, best-selling author of The Last of the Moon Girls.
“Champagne Widows is a witty, accomplished novel, featuring a tough and charming heroine of the first order. One can’t help but root for Barbe-Nicole, an astute businesswoman who brilliantly holds her own against none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. Although the events unfold two centuries ago, the story feels so modern, the characters could be your friends and neighbors. As easy to love as a glass of Veuve Clicquot, this may be Rebecca Rosenberg’s best book yet.” ~ Michelle Richmond, best-selling author of The Marriage Pact
“Champagne Widows is an inspired story based on the real-life Grande Dame of Champagne, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, who built her famous champagne empire amidst the turbulence of 19th century France. Barbe-Nicole is my kind of heroine: a woman with passion, courage, family loyalty, and a killer business sense. Rebecca Rosenberg’s sensual details make every scene of this intimate novel come alive. A true reading pleasure!” ~ Martha Conway, best-selling author of The Underground River and The Physician’s Daughter
“Award-winning author, Rebecca Rosenberg returns with another Historical Fiction jewel in CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. Meet the women who succeeded in creating world class champagne in a time men ruled business and society. Lovers of history, romance, and French culture will relish the multi-layered plot and cast of characters including the ultimate French icon, Napoleon Bonaparte.” ~ Johnnie Bernhard, award-winning author of Sisters of the Undertow
“An epic story featuring love, family, and the sustaining power of courage. Champagne Widows takes the reader back in time for an intimate look at the building of the iconic brand Veuve Clicquot. In the aftermath of Napoleon’s rise to power, Barbe-Nicole and her husband Francois share a vision of creating a champagne that will astound the world. Despite war, death, blockades, and failed harvests, Barbe-Nicole ultimately succeeds.” ~ M.K. Tod, author of Paris In Ruins and award-winning blog A Writer of History
“Raise a glass to Veuve Clicquot and all the women from history to the present, who have broken the mold and overcome obstacles to succeed in all-male professions. Just as a champagne bottle pops bringing delectable flavors and delicious aromas, Rebecca Rosenberg delights the senses with her engrossing novel. She treats the reader to a perfect blend of history and story – with lots of champagne! Sit back and savor the tale of Veuve Clicquot. ” ~ Linda Rosen, author of Sisters of the Vine
“Rebecca Rosenberg has penned a spectacular saga about the first “Champagne widow” of France, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. With her gift, known as Le Nez (the nose), Barbe-Nicole can “smell the stink of a lie or the perfume of a pure heart. Or the heartbreaking smell of what could have been.” Along with her expertise, she possesses courage and vision, overcoming incredible odds during the time of the Napoleonic Code, which left widows without property rights—in Barbe-Nicole’s case, her Champagne business. Seamlessly interwoven with historical letters from Napoleon, the book sweeps the reader into the early nineteenth-century world. But it’s her imaginative tale of Veuve Clicquot’s personal life that captured me and wouldn’t let go until the end, leaving me wanting more!” ~ Susan Cushman, author of John and Mary Margaret
“An independent woman of indomitable strength, determined to find her way in a man’s world. Champagne Widows is vintage storytelling.” ~ Jean M. Roberts, author of The Heron
“Rebecca Rosenberg transforms history into literary art. Her prose sparkles, bringing centuries-old characters to life with wit, heart and bon mots. Treat yourself to Champagne Widows, and marvel at Rosenberg’s gift for making every sense sing.” ~ Carol Van Den Hende, award-winning author of Goodbye, Orchid
“Like the best wines, Rosenberg’s Champagne Widows will entice you with its complexity as it balances the story of a widow’s determination to produce the world’s greatest champagne in the face of Napoleon’s path of destruction. If you love France, historical fiction, underdog stories, strong women, or wine, then pop a cork to celebrate this perfect blend of a novel.” ~ Mary Helen Sheriff, author of Boop and Eve’s Road Trip
Barbe-NIcole is either cursed or blessed with Le Nez, an impressive sense of smell which is wonderful for winemaking, but makes everyday life difficult. As Barbe-Nicole ages, her mother is desperate to marry her off; however, Barbe-Nicole is holding out for her neighbor, Francois Clicquot to return from fighting in Napoleon's First Coalition War. When Francois does return, he is changed from the horrors of war and Barbe-Nicole's father has made a business deal to marry Barbe-Nicole to a business associate. Barbe-NIcole rejects the deal and marries Francois, supporting his dream of starting a winery. Francois and Barbe-Nicole find happiness, but Francois' mental illness eventually wins as he commits suicide. Barbe-Nicole is now a widow or Veuve and the Napoleon Codes prevent her from running a business. Barbe-Nicole finds an unlikely way to prevail under the worst of circumstances. Using Le Nez as her guide, Veuve Clicquot finds a way to produce extraordinary wine and sell it to countries at war, defying Napoleon himself.
Champagne Widows tells the effervescent story of the real life Champagne entrepreneur, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. I immediately recognized the Clicquot name, but had no idea of the Champagne's heritage. Barbe-Nicole and the other women who worked the vineyard were ahead of their time and pioneers for women owned and operated businesses. The writing is immersive and very well researched. For a large portion of Barbe-Nicole's life, Napoleon's Coalition Wars were raging. As Napoleon's victories and defeats ravage Europe, Barbe-Nicole and her business are affected by each move that Napoleon makes. I appreciated the few chapters from Napoleon's point of view to balance out his thought process with the destruction that he was causing throughout France. Chapters from Barbe-Nicole's point of view showed the intense emotions that she had at every point in her journey and drive that Barbe-Nicole possessed in order to make her business successful. Overall, an amazing story of an equally amazing woman and the challenges she overcame to bring the world great tasting Champagne.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
California native Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where she and her husband founded the largest lavender product company in America. A long-time student of Jack London’s work and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian, Rosenberg is a graduate of the Stanford Writing Certificate Program. Her books include: GOLD DIGGER, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, The Secret Life of Mrs. London, Lavender Fields of America, and the Champagne Widows series.
For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find
her on Amazon, BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.