Josephine - A Life of the Empress

Carolly Erickson

Published by Blackstone Audio, 2007
ISBN 10: 0786162031 / ISBN 13: 9780786162031
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Synopsis: Alluring, wealthy, and married to the conqueror of Europe, Josephine appeared in 1804 as the most favored woman in France; but her actual life was far darker. Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever resilient Josephine to life.

Review: When she married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796, Rose de Beauharnais was a 32-year-old widow who had narrowly escaped the French Revolution's guillotine. She was six years older than he, notorious for her lovers, and unlikely to give him children, but possessed of the social connections and skills the ambitious young general thought would help him rise in the revolutionary army. He gave "his living reverie, his dream of perfect passion" a new name, Josephine--perhaps hoping it would blot out her unsavory past. Instead, she continued to be promiscuous as well as extravagant, and the marriage soured as Napoleon ascended to first consul and then emperor of the French. Yet he divorced her only in 1810, when political events made it clear he must have an heir. This highly colored biography practically wallows in Josephine's lurid personal life, colored in by luscious descriptions of the period's clothes, food, and amusements. The author, whose many previous books mostly deal with English royalty, does not burden readers with excessive doses of French history; the focus is always on Josephine, whose psychology is discussed at length. Erickson succeeds in making her subject an attractive figure, if hardly an exemplar of moral rectitude. Her book should appeal to those who like their historical biographies titillating and not too taxing. --Wendy Smith

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Title: Josephine - A Life of the Empress
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2007
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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