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The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. Audiobook, by Carole DeSanti Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Carole DeSanti Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781483073262
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Love and war converge in this lush, epic story of a young woman’s struggle with life and love during and after the Second Empire (1860–1871), an era that was absinthe-soaked, fueled by railway money and prostitution, and transformed by cataclysmic social upheaval.

Eugénie R., born in foie gras country, follows the man she loves to Paris but soon finds herself marooned. An outcast, she charts the treacherous waters of sexual commerce on a journey through artists’ ateliers and pawnshops, zinc bars and luxurious bordellos. Giving birth to a daughter she is forced to abandon, Eugénie spends the next ten years fighting to get her back, falling in love along the way with an artist, a woman, and a revolutionary. Then, as the gates of the city close on the eve of the Siege of Paris, Eugénie comes face-to-face with her past. Drawn into a net of desire and need, promises and lies, she must make a choice and find her way to a life that she can call her own.

The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. is a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the art of self-creation.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Is there anything better than losing yourself in the underside of history’s carpet—so convincingly imagined that when you finish, you think where am I? DeSanti has focused a powerful intelligence on Napoleon’s Codes of Conduct and brought to life the unknown, silent women caught in their net. Eugénie R. is every girl in a daguerreotype looking over her shoulder, every woman with a baby hurrying away from you down a gas lit street, and then too, she is the first of her kind, a woman who stands at her own barricades and fights a France determined to render her silent. I lost myself wholeheartedly in her story and would have followed her down any narrow alley or into any candlelit room just to know what happened, to stay back there and to delay coming home.”

    Sarah Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress

  • “DeSanti’s debut novel paints an unflinching portrait of love and loss against a landscape of Parisian decadence.”

    Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Lord! This is a great piece of work. Eugénie Rigault is a wonderfully maddening heroine. She lives up in her head even as her boots are in the mud of desperation…How beautifully this is written! How rare that can be to discover on the page.”

    Dorothy Allison, National Book Award finalist and author of Bastard out of Carolina

  • The Unruly Passions is both sweeping in scope and painstaking in detail. Eugénie R’s story, from naive goose girl to resilient survivor, makes for wonderful, suspenseful reading, but tumultuous Paris is equally compelling, laid out here in all her grisly or gorgeous glory.”

    Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of the The Jane Austen Book Club

  • “DeSanti presents an eclectic mix of ideas and social history in her debut novel…The sweeping, fascinating epic is full of drama and beauty.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Penguin editor DeSanti is famed for discovering and promoting topnotch women authors, among them Dorothy Allison and Tracy Chevalier, which suggests the kind of writing you’ll find in this first novel.”

    Library Journal

  • “Kate Reading’s versatile voice…breathes music into every word.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Carole DeSanti, known for her championing of independent, high-quality voices in women’s fiction as an editor at Penguin, has been clandestinely writing The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. for over a decade. She has been profiled in Poets & Writers’ magazine, published in the Women’s Review of Books, and awarded fellowships at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center and Hedgebrook.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across many genres, over a thirty year plus career. Audie Awards: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (mystery), Breasts (non-fiction), Bellwether (fiction), and Words of Radiance (fantasy), co-narrated with her husband, Michael Kramer. Among other awards, she has been recognized with: the ALA Booklist best of 2019 for Bowlaway (fiction), AudioFile Magazine Voice of the Century, Earphones Awards, Narrator of the Year, Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Publisher’s Weekly’s Listen-Up Award. She records at her home studio, Madison Productions, Inc., in Maryland.