5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Marci S. (MarciNYC) reviewed The Secret Life of Josephine: Napoleon's Bird of Paradise on
Helpful Score: 5
Erickson claims this book is "historical entertainment" not historical fiction - she's half right. It's history disguised as fiction but it's not entertainment.
Having recently read Sandra Gulland's (wonderful!) Josephine Bonaparte trilogy, which I found to be well researched and a delight to read, I've been comparing this book to that series. Maybe that's unfair given Erickson's proclamation, but this is the abridged version of Josephine's life with some literary license. Actually, more than some - there's quite a bit of license taken.
I'm less than 100 pages into the book and already Josephine has left Martinique, married, borne two children and has embarked upon a (fictionalised) affair. It's simply dull and stupid. I'm not reading any further.
I agree with the other reviewers a bit -- this is, as the author describes it, historical "entertainment." I was not fond of the speed of time throughout the book, for Erickson covers the entire (fictional) life of this remarkable woman in 325 pages. I tend to like a bit more meat with my meal, as do most lovers of historical fiction. I mean, why read it if it's not going to be full of HISTORY? Plus, I enjoy a good conversation as much as the next gal, and this book is not full of witty exchange between intriguing characters. Everyone in this book is basically how they seem. No surprises here.
It a fun book and well told. The story flows (though very quickly!) and is very believable, uh, for fiction. It made me want to know much more about the heroine and what her real story was, though I doubt it will be as colorful as this book. I didn't find the romance sappy or overwhelming (a big peeve of mine). If you like historical fiction without a lot of details, this would be an excellent story for you. I enjoyed it!
I picked this book up as a freebie, with absolutely no expectations. I read some bits about Josephine a while ago, but not too many details actually stuck in my brain. This was a light, entertaining read. You can look at it as a Regency Romance with a bit more of history tossed in to the mix - I don't think RR's usually have guillotines & world domination tossed into the plot mix. I did enjoy it as a Historical Entertainment and if I run across any more books by Ms Erickson, I would probably give them a try