By no stretch am I a military history buff, but it turned out that As You Wish wanted to be set during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Hundred Days comeback, so I did some background reading on it while writing. Here’s my brief summary for other laypeople:
In the early 19th century, the aristocracies of Europe were alarmed by France’s revolution and subsequent accumulation of “client republics” through the continent. Napoleon declared himself emperor, which didn’t jibe well with the spread of republican government but still didn’t endear him to the old powers. In 1812 he made some missteps, and they crushed him, exiling him to the island of Elba.
The major players in Europe then argued over how to divvy up the client republics, and Napoleon saw an opportunity to come back. His return to France spurred a popular uprising, and even some of Louis XVIII’s royalist regiments crossed over to his side. As You Wish takes place during this period, while Napoleon is gaining momentum. The family of English aristocrats with whom the heroine is staying in Kent is worried about an invasion, and her unexplained appearance (she’s actually from the future) makes them wonder if she could be a French spy.
Unfortunately for Napoleon, one thing the old powers did agree on was that they couldn’t put up with him. He knew they planned to invade France, so he struck at them first in Belgium. But it all went wrong at Waterloo, where Wellington trounced him. (Wellington, of course, went on to display a nude statue of Napoleon in his house, as noted in a previous blog post.)Tweet this