Interview & Giveaway: Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg

Hello, dear readers! I am super excited to be hosting author Rebecca Rosenberg today! She is currently on blog tour for Champagne Widows and graciously stopped by to talk with us about it! It's such a fabulous book, I highly recommend it. Hope you enjy getting to know Rebecca!

Hello Rebecca and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Champagne Widows!

Amy Bruno, Passages of the Past: To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Rebecca Rosenberg, award winning author: I am a champagne geek/lavender farmer/writer of historical fiction. Hard to tell which of these monikers fits better! We lived on our lavender farm in Sonoma Valley, next to Napa Valley, an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve had delicious research exploring champagne houses here in wine country, or as properly called in the United States, sparkling wine houses. Champagne can only be called champagne if it comes from Champagne, France! I love to write about “glorious women of the past” whose stories have not been told, like Houdini’s wife, and Jack London’s wife in THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON and Baby Doe Tabor in GOLD DIGGER.

Amy: What inspired you to write about Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, also known as "Grande Dame of Champagne"?

Rebecca: We’ve traveled to Champagne, France many times, even leading tours. We’ve prowled through the elegant champagne houses and mysterious wine caves. When I realized Veuve Clicquot, one of the best champagnes in the world, was the creation of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot in 1800, I started researching her life. Hard to do from the 1800’s!

Amy: What research did you undertake when writing Champagne Widows?

Rebecca: I was lucky enough to meet with the historian of Veuve Clicquot winery, and they gave me a great tour of the city of Reims where she grew up. I was able to see/hear/smell all the things Barbe-Nicole experienced. We spent six weeks over a couple of years, researching. When I started writing the story, I naturally researched France in the 1800’s and discovered that Barbe-Nicole stared to make wine just as Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe with thirteen years of Napoleon wars! Furthermore, Napoleon knew her family and was very involved in champagne makers and developing that industry, because he knew champagne was very important to the French economy and could be used as a weapon against European countries, since they coveted it. I realized Napoleon influenced her story, yet I did not want him to dominate! I also loved how the arcs of Barbe Nicole and Napoleon turn out very differently!

Amy: In your research, did you find anything that surprised you about Barbe-Nicole?

Rebecca: At the winery I discovered Barbe-Nicole Clicquot had a rare trait called Le Nez—the Nose which made her very good at blending champagne. I had a lot of fun with that characteristic of Le Nez, and how she turned it from a negative curse to a blessing. I think we are all born with unusual traits that can be negative or positive depending on what we do with it!

 Amy: How did Barbe-Nicole’s process for making Champagne differ from her competitors?

Rebecca: Making champagne was brand new and very dangerous and unpredictable, actually! She was discovering more scientific methods of making it, ironically aided by Napoleon’s funding of champagne research. She was focused on making champagne clearer and eliminate the dead yeast that occurs in the bottle. Actually after the time period of this book, she invented the technique and tools for riddling, which trapped the dead yeast in the neck of the bottle for removal. That technique is still used today for clear champagne! Barbe-Nicole Clicquot also made the first Vintage Champagne from one year only—1813, the year of the Great Comet. Champagne is traditionally a blend of years and different grape varietals.

Amy: What was your favorite scene to write?

Rebecca: I love humor in books, and try to inject when I can, so I loved to write the scene where Barbe-Nicole is wooed by a pig farmer and she suffers with Le Nez!

Amy: What was the most difficult scene to write?

Rebecca: There is a mysterious character called the Red Man who goads Napoleon to conquer Europe, and kill six million people. Every time the Red Man appears I feel my chest tighten. I wish Napoleon would not heed his advice!

Amy: Lastly, what are you working on next?

Rebecca: I have two sequels to Champagne Widows series—for Madame Pommery and Lily Bollinger. And a sequel to complete for GOLD DIGGER, called SILVER DOLLAR. Great stories! But for now, I’m focusing on the first CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS!

Champagne Widows 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.

Challenging Napoleon
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

About the Author


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, BookBubFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 4
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss

Wednesday, October 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, October 8
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Monday, October 11
Review at Novels Alive
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, October 13
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, October 15
Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes

Monday, October 18
Guest Post at Bonnie Reads and Writes

Wednesday, October 20
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, October 22
Review at Bookworlder
Review at View From the Birdhouse

Monday, October 25
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, October 28
Review at A Darn Good Read

Friday, October 29
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink


Enter to win a paperback copy or eBook of Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg!

The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on October 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Champagne Widows

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