Champagne Widows (Paperback)
Champagne, France, 1800. Twenty-year-old Barbe-Nicole inherited Le Nez (an uncanny sense of smell) from her great-grandfather, a renowned champagne maker. Determined to use Le Nez to make great champagne, she learns her childhood sweetheart, Fran ois Clicquot, wants to start a winery and marries him despite his mental illness.
Her husband's tragic death forces her to become Veuve (Widow) Clicquot and grapple with a domineering partner, the complexities of making champagne, and six Napoleon wars, which cripple her ability to sell champagne. 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, defying Napoleon himself.
About the Author
Rebecca is a champagne geek, lavender farmer and triple-gold award-winning author. She is champagne historian, tour guide, and champagne cocktail expert for Breathless Wines. Rebecca Rosenberg first fell in love with methode champenoise in Sonoma Valley, California. Over decades of delicious research, she has explored the wine caves and cellars of France, Spain, Italy, and California in search of the essence of fine champagne. So when she discovered the real-life stories of the Champagne Widows of France, she knew she’d dedicate years to telling the stories of these remarkable women who suffered through loss of their husbands, laws preventing women from owning businesses, and the ravages of wars, to take champagne the world-wide phenomenon it is today. Rebecca holds a Stanford University novel writing certificate. Other award winning novels include The Secret Life of Mrs. London and Gold Digger, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor.
“For anyone who loves champagne, a must-read novel about Veuve Clicquot.”
~ Judithe Little, best-selling author of The Chanel Sisters
“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.
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
An inspired story based on the real-life Grande Dame of Champagne, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, 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
“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. An epic story featuring love, family, and the sustaining power of courage. ~ M.K. Tod, author of Paris In Ruins and award-winning blog A Writer of History
“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. Raise a glass to her and all the women, from history to the present, who have broken the mold and overcome obstacles to succeed in what was believed to be all-male professions.” ~ Linda Rosen, author of Sisters of the Vine
“Rebecca Rosenberg has penned a spectacular saga of the first of the “Champagne widows” 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 rights to property—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 captured me and wouldn’t let go until the end, leaving me wanting more!” ~Susan Cushman, author of John and Mary Margaret
With crisp writing, Rebecca Rosenberg serves us the sparkling story of Veuve Clicquot, 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
"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
"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