Fascinating glimpse into how Josephine Bonaparte came to be...this first book of the trilogy by Sandra Gulland traces her girlhood days in Martinique (which was my favorite part of the book, full of exotic intrique) to her arranged first marriage in France. At the end of the book, she finally meets Bonaparte. I have started the 2nd book, which so far, is not nearly as enjoyable as this.
I found this book while taking a cruise in 2005. It was in the library swap section, so I started it then and there and took it home with me. I had never read anything on Josephine Bonaparte or Napoleon before, so it was all new to me and I really enjoyed it. I subsequently got the other 2 books in the trilogy as gifts and read them too. This book, and the other 2 books, are very pleasant reading. They are fiction, but Ms. Gulland has done her research of the times thoroughly, so I felt that I had also learned an accurate account of French history from those years.
Since reading these books, however, I have read a purely historical, non-fiction book about Josephine and found that this trilogy of books is extremely sympathetic to Josephine to the point of leaving out some the less honorable parts of her life. So, even though the historical events are correct, I didn't feel her life was presented accurately at all. For example, in the non-fiction book, the introduction states that many people did not like Josephine and that she has not been portrayed kindly among historians. This was a shock to me since in Ms. Gulland's books, Josephine is shown in such a favorable, sympathetic light.
The books are written in diary form, so maybe the author is presenting the skewed facts as how Josephine would want them to appear to the public, conveniently leaving out some of her extramarital affairs for example, or turning them into platonic friendships. That could be the case. Anyway, the book was fun to read and very enjoyable as fiction.
Enjoyable account of Josephine's early life. The story flows well and doesn't get bogged down. While I wait for the second book in the series to come available, I'll pass this one along to another lucky reader.
"The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B." by Sandra Gulland is an historical fiction novel with (for me) a bit of a twist. It is written in diary form. At first I wasn't sure about reading a 'journal'. I thought it would feel disjointed, I was wrong. The journal hits all of the highs and lows. The feel is even more 'real' given that Ms. Gulland uses not just the dates and places where the entries were written, but also times of day in some cases and partial/entire letters written to Rose. She was known as Rose before she met, then married, Napoleon; he gave her the name 'Josephine'.
Finding out that she had a different name for her first 32 years was just one of many things that I learned from reading this book. "The Many Lives..." is the first of a series. I will definitely be reading the other two in this series.
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I just completed the series and could not put it down. What a fascinating look into the life of Josephine Bonaparte. I learned things I never knew about her. I highly recommend this series. This is book one of the three part series.
As much as I am interested in history, and as often as I have read both fiction and non-fiction about famous people/places/events - I could not recall ever knowing just how fascinating Josephine Bonapart was! A life full of dramatic and unexpected twists and turns revealed itself to me in this novel!
Fascinating! I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. Since there are a lot of names and places in the story, I like that it's written in diary form; it helps me keep track of the who, what, when, where, of it all. The story moves fast and you feel like you are right there alongside Rose (Josephine) the whole time. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get caught up in her exciting historical journey.
First book in a trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte. Written in diary format, this is a fictionalize story of the woman who came to marry Napoleon Bonaparte. I found the story to be very interesting, and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
In this first of 3 books inspired by the life of Josephine Bonaparte. We meet her the extic and lush Martinico, where an old island woman predicts that one day she will be queen. The journey from the rmote village of her birth to the height of European elegance is long, but her fortune proves to be true. By way of ficionalized diary entries, we traverse her early years as she marries her one true love, bears his children, and is left betrayed, widowed, and penniless. It is Josephines extraordinary charm and will to survive that catapults her to the heart society, where she meet napoleon, whose destiny will prove to be irrevocably intertwined with hers...