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Publisher's Summary

When, in 1804, Josephine Bonaparte knelt before her husband Napoleon to receive the imperial diadem, few in the vast crowd of onlookers were aware of the dark secrets hidden behind the imperial facade. To her subjects she appeared to be the most favored woman in France: alluring, wealthy, and with the devoted love of a remarkable husband who was the conqueror of Europe. In actuality Josephine's life was far darker, for her celebrated allure was fading, her wealth was compromised by massive debt, and her marriage was corroded by infidelity and abuse.Josephine's life story was as turbulent as the age, an era of revolution and social upheaval, of the guillotine and of frenzied hedonism. With telling psychological depth and compelling literary grace, Carolly Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever resilient Josephine to life in this memorable portrait, one that carries the reader from the sensual richness of her childhood in the tropics to her final lonely days at Malmaison.
©1998 Carolly Erickson; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Critic Reviews

"An intimate, richly detailed, and candid portrait." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David P. McGivern on 03-07-08

Engaging

On the one hand, this book straddles the line between history and historical novel. There is a LOT of " she must have felt" or "she no doubt was feeling". If that does not bother you ( and it did not me) then I recommend it without hesitation just for the story alone - a very interesting biography of a woman constantly adapting to survive, first to the turmoil of France during the revolution, then to being the wife of a compelling ( but difficult) figure in world history. Good narratioon - takes a little bit to get used to ( she seemed a bit flat at the beginning) but that soon gave way to the story itself

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful


By Anna on 04-04-11

What an interesting subject!

I have long been fascinated by Josephine Bonaparte and I am eager to read anything about her. Had I not previously read Sandra Gulland's trilogy on Josephine I may have given this book a higher rating. Gulland's books are impossible to put down, and I am afraid it'll be hard for any book on Josephine to match up to those.

However, this book was interesting, better than her novel on Marie Antoinette, and the reader was pleasant to listen to. I would recommend this audio book.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By h on 12-08-12

Wonderful.

Brilliantly written and beautifully read. A fascinating life spanning one of the most turbulent periods of history. Sometimes you want to deepen your understanding of history and sometimes you just want an exciting bedtime story. This is both!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Lynn Cage on 04-05-16

Dreary

I found this book very factual. If I had been reading it and not listening I don't think I would have got past the first chapter

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