Review & Interview: Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today on the blog I am excited to share my review of Champagne Widows and an interview with the author, Rebecca Rosenberg to celebrate the paperback release! I hope you enjoy it & be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this amazing book! I highly recommend it to fans os historical fiction and badass women from the past that changed history!

Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg

Paperback Publication Date: February 25, 2022
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



How I love Rebecca Rosenberg and her novels...let me count the ways...

For one, she chooses the most fascinating women from history to write about, women that were largely lost to history and now are getting their moment under the sun. First, she wrote about the wife of Jack London, Charmian, in The Secret Life of Mrs. London, and then Baby Doe Tabor in Gold Digger, and now we have Barbe-Nicole Cliquot, the woman who revolutionized the Champagne industry.

Barbe-Nicole inherited her sense of smell from her grandfather and promises her grandmother that she will use that to her advantage to create the best Champagne. With her talent for scent and her business acumen she excels, despite being the only woman in the industry. She is clever and smart and fiercely determined, both in business and her personal and love life. I just adored her!

The book also features the wily Emperor Napoleon as he sets out to conquer the world and how he threatens the future of Barbe-Nicole's company.

Having loved Rebecca's first two novels, I think this one may be my favorite. She is definitely an auto-buy author for me. When I read one of her novels I know I'm going to be entertained and educated, gripped and enthralled. Kudos to Rebecca for another winner! Highly recommended!

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 awarded 2022 EDITOR’S CHOICE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY! "Barbe-Nicole is a strong, determined woman, who defies Napoleon to make her winery a success. Fascinating details about winemaking: soil, climate, barrels, bottles, and the various grapes. All this and more affect the smell and flavor of the wine. I could smell the wine along with Barbe-Nicole, since Rosenberg's descriptions are so vivid. The narrative is interspersed with brief scenes about the rise and fall of Napoleon, and the Red Man, a devil figure disguised as a coachman, who encourages him to conquer Europe. The most moving parts are where Barbe-Nicole harvests grapes along with other women widowed by Napoleon's wars." ~ HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY EDITOR'S CHOICE

“This effervescent historical novel paints a richly detailed portrait of the enterprising Veuve Clicquot. The twinned plots of Clicquot and Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise and fall are filled with detail that give life to this far-off time. The prose is light, yet detailed, and peppered with moments of wry humor. Napoleon's characterization is well-crafted and give his character new life. Clicquot’s character is charming, and readers will love getting to know her. Rosenberg has a superb eye for blending humor with drama.” ~Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize

"Barbe-Nicole is captivating, particularly with her inheritance of "Le Nez" and the effect on her life. From grapes to pigs, the adventures she gets into with her nose are fascinating and are described in detailed and engaging ways. The champagne empire she builds is admirable, as is her relationship with Francois and its challenges. ~ WRITER'S DIGEST 2022

"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 of Champagne/Sparkling winemaking may not have even realized how strong they were until they had to learn and do it all to survive for themselves and their wineries! Reading Champagne Widows makes it even more of an honor to learn 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, April 18
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 20
Excerpt at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, April 22
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Monday, April 25
Review at Book Reviews and More

Tuesday, April 26
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Friday, April 29
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, April 30
Review at Probably at the Library

Monday, May 2
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Wednesday, May 4
Review at Reader_ceygo

Friday, May 6
Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, May 7
Review at MTM Reads

Monday, May 9
Review at Tammy Reads

Friday, May 13
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads


We have 2 paperback copies up for grabs! To enter, please sign up here.

*Disclaimer: Your email address will be added to Rebecca Rosenberg's newsletter mailing list.

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


  1. Barbe Nicole is an independent captivating young woman. Her story set in the time of Napoleon, a champagne grape area of France as a setting added to its interest.

  2. Thanks for a great review Amy and for hosting the blog tour. I truly love Barbe-Nicole and feel for all she had to endure to forge her champagne empire: pandemics, mental illness, wars, sexist laws against women, and even Napoleon!

  3. Wonderful giveaway. Thanks for this lovely feature. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. My absolute favourite champagne!


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