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Eighteen-year-old Habsburg Archduchess Marie-Louise leaves Vienna in 1810 to marry Napoleon, Emperor of France, previously her father’s arch-enemy. Like her great-aunt Marie-Antoinette forty years earlier, Marie-Louise believes her marriage will secure peace between Austria and France. But the Austrian foreign minister, Klemens Metternich, intends to use her marriage to bring down Napoleon for good. Deborah Jay will take you on a journey to open your eyes to the life and times of this remarkable woman - along the way it may also change your perception of Napoleon forever.

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Following 10 years of research, the time has come to tell the real story of life with (and under) Napoleon.  I have scoured Europe to unearth the truth.

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As a barrister,  I travelled across Europe and into Russia and soon became  fascinated by European history. A chance article led me to Parma, and Marie Louise.

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Along my journey with Marie Loiuse I have made contact with many useful organisations and wonderful people - See related content for details


November 2015 saw the launch of my book, following 10 years of research and writing.  We have had 2 events in London and looking forward to more around the UK and a visit to Parma in 2016
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Launch event

Launch night 19th Nov 2015 - Burgh House, Hampstead, London NW3

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Book readings

Primrose Hill Library - 23rd Nov 2015 



Other projects I’m working on

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Saving the Elgin Marbles

Staying within my favourite historical period and my desire to rehabilitate those who have undeservedly fallen into oblivion, I am currently working on a reconstructed life of Giovanni Battista Lusieri, the travelling painter (what we would call today one’s personal photographer) who accompanied Lord Elgin to Constantinople (today Istanbul) following Lord Elgin’s appointment as English Ambassador to the Porte (the Ottoman Empire) in 1799.

In the summer of 2015, the world watched in horror as the ancient ruins of Palmyra were razed to the ground. It is therefore, perhaps, a moment to reflect on those who forestalled the destruction of antiquities.

It was Lusieri who saw how badly the Parthenon was deteriorating, and Lusieri who begged Lord Elgin to remove the temple’s ornamentation and statuary in order to save them from further deterioration and destruction. Lusieri’s story is dramatic. Look out for my watercolourist!

23rd Sept 2015

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Return to Ithaca

I am in the process of finalizing a novella which tells two stories in parallel, one set in BCE 1020 which is a retelling of the concluding episode of Homer’s Odyssey, namely the reunion of Odysseus and Penelope after over twenty-five years of separation, and the other set in CE 2010 which tells the tale of a modern Odysseus and Penny reunited after twenty-five years through the internet. I hope my readers will like the device I have chosen and find the story entertaining.

28th Sept 2015