Tales Of Passion, Tales Of Woe

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9780684856070: Tales Of Passion, Tales Of Woe

Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe is the much-awaited sequel to Sandra Gulland's highly acclaimed first novel, The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.

Beginning in Paris in 1796, the saga continues as Josephine awakens to her new life as Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte. Through her intimate diary entries and Napoleon's impassioned love letters, an astonishing portrait of an incredible woman emerges. Gulland transports us into the ballrooms and bedrooms of exquisite palaces and onto the blood-soaked fields of Napoleon's campaigns. As Napoleon marches to power, we witness, through Josephine, the political intrigues and personal betrayals -- both sexual and psychological -- that result in death, ruin, and victory for those closest to her.

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About the Author:

Sandra Gulland is the author of  Mistress of the Sun; The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.; Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe; and The Last Great Dance on Earth. She lives in Killaloe, Ontario, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From Chapter One: Our Lady of Victories

In which my new life begins

March 10, 1796 -- Paris, early morning, grey skies.

I am writing this in my jasmine-scented dressing room, where I might not be discovered by Bonaparte, my husband of one day.

Husband. The word feels foreign on my tongue, as foreign as the maps spread over the dining room table, the sword propped in the corner of my drawing room. As foreign as the man himself.

My face in the glass looks harsh, etched by shadow, reflecting the dark thoughts in my heart.

How unlike me to be melancholy. I'm tempted to black out the words I've just written, tempted to write, instead: I've married, I am happy, all is well. But I've promised myself one thing-to be honest on these pages. However much I am required to dissemble, to flatter and cajole, here I may speak my heart truly. And my heart, in truth, is troubled. I fear I've made a mistake.

[Undated]

Josephine Rose Beauharnais Bonaparte

Josephine Rose Bonaparte

Josephine Tascher Beauharnais Bonaparte

Josephine Beauharnais Bonaparte

Josephine Bonaparte

Citoyenne Josephine Bonaparte

Madame Josephine Bonaparte

Josephine

Josephine

Josephine

2:30 P.M.

We've just returned from Saint-Germain. Bonaparte is in a meeting in the study, and I'm back in my dressing room, seeking solace. It seems that everything is going wrong. Where to begin?

This morning, as I was dusting my face with rice powder, preparing to leave, I saw Bonaparte standing in the door. "The coach is ready." He had a riding crop in his hands and was twisting it, bending it. He was anxious, I knew, about going out to Saint-Germain to see my children at their schools. Certainly, I was uneasy myself. I wasn't sure how Hortense was going to take the news.

"You're not wearing your new jacket?" I asked, putting on a pair of dangling sapphire earrings. I'd changed into a long-sleeved violet gown over a dotted gauze skirt. It was a new ensemble and I was pleased with the effect, but I couldn't decide which shoes to wear -- my lace-up boots or my silk slippers, which went so nicely. It had stopped raining but was damp out. The boots would be more practical. "The boots," I told my scullery maid, who pushed one roughly onto my foot. I made a mental note to begin looking for a lady's maid as soon as Bonaparte left for the south.

As soon as Bonaparte left for the south, and life returned to normal.

Today, tonight and then tomorrow, I thought -- twenty-eight hours. Twenty-eight hours of frenetic activity, soldiers coming and going, couriers cantering into the courtyard. Twenty-eight hours of chaos. Every surface of my little house is covered with maps, journals, reports, scraps of paper with lists on them of provisions, names, numbers, schedules. Books are stacked on the dining room table, on the escritoire, by my bed. Twenty-eight more hours of his fumbling caresses and embraces. Bonaparte works and reads with intense concentration -- oblivious to me, to the servants -- and then falls upon me with a ravenous need. Twenty-eight more hours of dazed bewilderment. Who is this man I have married? Will life ever be "normal" again?

"What's wrong with this jacket?" he demanded.

"It needs mending," I said, smoothing the shoulder. The worn grey wool was pulling at the seams and the edges of the cuffs were frayed. I would have it mended, if I could ever get him out of it. If I could ever get him out of it, I might burn it, I thought, kissing his smooth cheek. "And you look so handsome in the new one." The knee-length tails helped detract from his thin legs and gave the impression of height.

He kissed me and grinned. "I'm not changing," he said, tweaking my ear.

It was a slow journey to Saint-Germain -- the rain had made the roads muddy -- so it was early afternoon by the time our carriage pulled into the courtyard of Hortense's school. I spotted her on the playing field and waved. As soon as she saw us, she dropped the ball and spun on her heels, covering her face with her hands. Was she crying? I touched Bonaparte's arm to distract him, but it was too late -- he'd already seen my daughter's reaction. He gazed across the playing field with a sad expression in his grey eyes.

"Something's wrong," I said. I feared what the problem might be.

"I'll wait for you inside." Bonaparte pulled down on the rim of his new general's hat. The felt was rigid yet and it sat high on his big head.

I squeezed his hand, as lovers do. "I won't be long," I promised.

The ground was soft under my feet. I could feel the damp soaking into my thin-soled boots. A spring breeze carried the scent of ploughed fields. I picked my way around the wet spots, reminding myself that Hortense was young. Reminding myself that it was normal for a girl of twelve (almost thirteen) to have a delicate sensibility, especially considering...

Especially considering what she's had to endure. It has been almost two years since the Terror, yet even now my daughter sometimes wakes screaming in the night. Even now she cannot pass the place where her father died without bursting into tears.

My niece Émilie ran to embrace me. "Is Hortense hurt?" I asked. "What's wrong?" My daughter looked so alone, hunched over by the goal post, her back to us.

"She's crying, Auntie," Émilie said, shivering, her hands pushed into the pockets of her plain woollen smock. "It's the hysterics!"

Hysterics? I'd been warned that girls of fourteen were subject to frightful convulsions, but Hortense was not yet of that age. I lifted the hem of my gown and headed toward my weeping daughter.

"Hortense?" I called out, approaching. I could see her shoulders shaking. "Darling -- " I reached out and touched her shoulder. Even through my gloves I could feel her bones -- the bones of a girl still, not yet the bones of a woman. I considered turning her, but I knew her stubborn strength. Instead, I walked around to face her.

I was startled by the haunted look in her eyes. Pink blotches covered her freckled cheeks, making her eyes seem abnormally blue -- her father's eyes. Her father's critical eyes, following me still. I took her cold, bare hand and pressed it to my heart. "What is it, darling?" Thinking how she'd grown in the last year, thinking that she was tall for her age, and that soon she would be as tall as I am, taller perhaps.

"I'm in afraid, Maman." A sob welled up in her.

A gust of wind rustled the leaves. My straw hat flew off my head and dangled down my back by a ribbon. It was not the answer I'd expected. "Of what?"

"That you'll marry him!"

Him: Bonaparte. I tried to speak, but could not. The words stuck in my throat. How could I tell her that the deed had been done, the vows spoken, the contract signed: Bonaparte and I were man and wife. How could I tell her that this man was now her father -- for better or for worse, for ever and ever. "Hortense, General Bonaparte is a kind man," I said, reprimanding her gently. "He cares for you sincerely."

"I don't care! I don't care for him." Then she hung her head, seeing the stricken look in my eyes. "I'm sorry, Maman!" She took a big breath and exhaled, blowing her cheeks out like a balloon.

I folded her in my arms. "I have to go back. Are you going to be all right?" I felt her nod against my chest. I stroked her soft golden curls. She would need time. We all would. "I'd like you and Eugène to come to Fontainebleau with me next weekend, to see Aunt Désirée and the Marquis," I said, swaying like a mother with an infant in her arms again, lulling her baby to sleep. I felt a thickening in my throat as I recalled the feel of her at birth, her tiny skull, her piercing cry. It is going to be all right, I wanted to tell her. (I want to believe it myself.) "Can you come next weekend?" Bonaparte would be gone by then.

The weathered door to the school creaked on its hinges, startling a maid who was perched on a stepladder washing the crystal candelabra. I heard Bonaparte's voice, his lecturing tone. I knocked on the door to the headmistress's study.

Madame Campan was seated behind her enormous pedestal desk covered with books and stacks of paper. The small room was furnished in the style of the Ancien Régime, ornate, musty and dark. A vase of silk lilies had been placed under the portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette. Two years ago Madame Campan would have lost her life for showing sympathy for the Queen.

The prim headmistress motioned me in without taking her eyes off her guest. Bonaparte was perched on the edge of a puce Louis XV armchair, holding a teacup and expounding on the uselessness of girls learning Latin. His saucer was swamped -- with coffee, I guessed, to judge by the aroma.

When he paused to take a breath, Madame Campan stood to greet me, smoothing the skirt of her gown. Dressed in black, she could have been taken for a maid but for the intricate beaded trim of the head scarf she wore, as if in perpetual mourning. "Forgive me for interrupting," I said, taking the chair beside Bonaparte. He searched my eyes for a clue. This was an awkward situation for him, I knew, a difficult situation for us both. Things were not going according to plan.

"General Bonaparte and I have been discussing education in a Republican society," Madame Campan said, pulling her head scarf forward. "It isn't often one meets a man who has given this matter thought."

I removed my gloves, tugging on each fingertip. My new gold betrothal ring caught the light. I put my hand over it and said, "General Bonaparte is a philosopher at heart, Madame Campan. He gives all matters thought." I offered Bonaparte a conciliatory little smile.

Bonaparte emptied his teacup and put the cup and saucer on the side table between us. I reached out to keep the table from tipping. "It's late," he told me, pulling out his pocket-watch. "Aren't you going to tell her?"

"Yes," I said, flushing, seeing him through a stranger's eyes: a short, thin man with a sallow complexion, lank hair, shabby attire. A coarse-spoken man with poor manners. An intense, humourless man with fiery eyes -- a Corsican, a Revoluti...

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Book Description Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Scribner Pbk Fi.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe is the much-awaited sequel to Sandra Gulland s highly acclaimed first novel, The Many Lives Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. Beginning in Paris in 1796, the saga continues as Josephine awakens to her new life as Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte. Through her intimate diary entries and Napoleon s impassioned love letters, an astonishing portrait of an incredible woman emerges. Gulland transports us into the ballrooms and bedrooms of exquisite palaces and onto the blood-soaked fields of Napoleon s campaigns. As Napoleon marches to power, we witness, through Josephine, the political intrigues and personal betrayals -- both sexual and psychological -- that result in death, ruin, and victory for those closest to her. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780684856070

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Book Description Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Scribner Pbk Fi.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe is the much-awaited sequel to Sandra Gulland s highly acclaimed first novel, The Many Lives Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. Beginning in Paris in 1796, the saga continues as Josephine awakens to her new life as Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte. Through her intimate diary entries and Napoleon s impassioned love letters, an astonishing portrait of an incredible woman emerges. Gulland transports us into the ballrooms and bedrooms of exquisite palaces and onto the blood-soaked fields of Napoleon s campaigns. As Napoleon marches to power, we witness, through Josephine, the political intrigues and personal betrayals -- both sexual and psychological -- that result in death, ruin, and victory for those closest to her. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780684856070

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