Novelist Natalie Wexler grew up in Baltimore, but she hadn’t heard about Betsy Bonaparte – Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, daughter of one of the wealthiest families of Baltimore in the early 19th century. Betsy married Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger brother, and then got into a power struggle with the emperor who wanted the marriage annulled. Eventually, she lost.
But, as Wexler started researching Betsy, she became even more intrigued by Betsy’s good friend, Eliza Crawford Anderson – especially when she learned Eliza had edited a weekly magazine in Baltimore – and was quite likely the first woman to be an editor in the young United States. So, Wexler decided to spin her historical novel around Eliza, not Betsy. She named it with the name Eliza gave her weekly publication, The Observer. Natalie Wexler joins Sheilah in the studio.
Wexler grew up in Baltimore and now lives in Washington where she edits the blog, Greater Greater Education. Wexler will be speaking about the novel at the Maryland Historical Society on November 20 at 6 p.m.