Today I have a unique story Becoming Josephine the debut offering from author Heather Webb. As part of the France Book Tours, I also have a copy of the book to offer one lucky winner in the giveaway, please read on for further information. You can see the other tour stops, and learn more about the woman you know as Josephine Bonaparte.
I don’t think that I am alone in not being aware of Josephine Bonaparte beyond her connection to Napoleon, but with this book her life and tribulations came alive as we are shown a woman who is, above all else, a survivor. Born in Martinique, the daughter of a sugar plantation owner, she was born to priviledge in this closed slave society, although her early experiences with her father’s indiscretions had soured her on marriage.
Her arrival in France is less than celebrated: provincial and often naïve, she has to learn to manoeuver in the minefield that is society, developing a lavish lifestyle and befriending those who amuse, enhance and often provide entrée into the most influential houses.
This is a woman who uses all of the elements at her discretion: not always in a calculating manner, but never without thought to the next step on the ladder. Careful to cultivate her acquaintances with an eye to their usefulness, she manages to enchant men and women. With her first marriage dissolved, and her ex-husband unwilling or unable to support her, she steps into business with the aid of some ‘protectors’ and uses her considerable charm to provide for her children and herself.
While many of her moves are calculated, her intentions are always to survive: although not always without consequence. From her time imprisoned as a traitor to the cause when her ex-husband’s detractors were in power, to her dismissive reaction to Napoleon on first meeting, and her dismay at the dissolution of their relationship the reasons and desires are clearly laid forward. Empathy and understanding are simple to come by in this story: utilizing imagination, actual letters and phrases gleaned from text of the time, Webb manages to craft a story rich in history, detail and never lacking for excitement.
In a massive undertaking to utilize the information present in historical texts and giving the character of Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie a breath of life to bring her story to light for modern eyes, Webb has created a wonderfully gripping, surprising and enjoyable book.
Title: Becoming Josephine
Author: Heather Webb
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction, Historical Romance
Published by: Plume
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦Audible
Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.
Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.
After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.
Becoming Josephine is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.
*suitable for readers 18+ there is sexual content and violence, although neither is greatly or graphically detailed.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
As previously noted, I have one copy of the title to give away. If you are a winner with a valid US or Canadian mailing address, you can choose either a Print or eBook copy of the title. If you are outside the US or Canada – you are entering to win an eBook copy of the title. Title will be provided by the publisher, and the drawing ends at 23.59 on 9 January 2014. *all times are EST