Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette and The Last Wife of Henry VIII returns with an enchanting novel about one of the most seductive women in history: Josephine Bonaparte, first wife of Napoleon. Born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, Josephine had an exotic Creole appeal that would ultimately propel her to reign over an empire as wife of the most powerful man in the world. But her life is a story of ambition and danger, of luck and a ferocious will to survive. Married young to an arrogant French aristocrat who died during the Terror, Josephine also narrowly missed losing her head to the guillotine. But her extraordinary charm, sensuality, and natural cunning helped her become mistress to some of the most powerful politicians in post-Revolutionary France. Soon she had married the much younger General Bonaparte, whose armies garnered France an empire that ran from Europe to Africa and the New World and who crowned himself and his wife Emperor and Empress of France. He dominated on the battlefield and she presided over the worlds of fashion and glamor. But Josephine's heart belonged to another man--the mysterious, compelling stranger who had won her as a girl in Martinique.
The Last Wife Of Henry VIII
"[Erickson] offers a good view of the intrigue and scheming in the court of Henry VIII. Descriptions of court and country life are well done and enrich the story."--Library Journal
The Hidden Diary Of Marie Antoinette
"Writers of historical fiction must tread a fine line between loving one's protagonists while telling the truth about them. Carolly Erickson has executed this balancing act with the same scorching wit and greatheartedness that has always illuminated her biographies. The old 'let them eat cake' myth has once and forever been exploded, yet the author resists the temptation to sentimentalize or simplify the maddeningly complex character of Marie Antoinette.”--Robin Maxwell, author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn and To the Tower Born
“Carolly Erickson turns cold fact to hot fiction in her first historical novel.”--India Edghill, author of Queenmaker and Wisdom's Daughter
"A fascinating first novel . . . This intimate look at a misunderstood woman by the author of a biography on the same subject is highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for The Secret Life of Josephine
“Rollicking good fun.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Erickson has a deft hand with psychological portraiture and historical detail. She strips away the romantic idealism with which the empresss life is often distorted.” —PublishersWeekly.com
“Fans…will enjoy this latest concoction.” —Library Journal
Praise for The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
“I read The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette in two days, and when I finished it, I re-read the final pages, as hungry for more as a child scraping the last crumbs of chocolate cake off her plate with her fingers.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] fascinating first novel . . . highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)
The bestselling author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette and The Last Wife of Henry VIII returns with an enchanting novel about the ambitious, amoral, vulnerable woman who became the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Fashion icon, leader of Frances society in the turbulent years of the guillotine and the bloody Napoleonic Wars, the alluring Josephine was a tough survivor—yet she also had a gentle, haunting quality that made her irresistible to her contemporaries, especially to the mysterious, compelling stranger from Martinique who captured her heart.
About the Author
Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson
is the author of Rival to the Queen, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, The First Elizabeth, The Last Wife of Henry VIII
, and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel The Tsarinas Daughter
won the Romantic Times
Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Hawaii.
Reading Group Guide
1.) What did you know about Josephine before reading this novel? 2.) How did Josephine's upbringing on Martinique influence her adult life? Was she ever truly a Frenchwoman? 3.) Do you think Josephine would have been happier if she had not married Napoleon? Or would her innate ambition have been thwarted? 4.) Do you think Josephine's encounters with the Carib chief Orgulon were hallucinations? 5.) What elements in the novel made Josephine real to you? How important was the author's use of first-person narrative? 6.) What strengths did Josephine possess that allowed her to survive the Revolution, imprisonment, an abusive marriage, the murderous hostility of her Corsican in-laws, and, finally, divorce? 7.) How did Carolly Erickson interweave fact and fiction in this historical novel? Did you find the blend captivating or frustrating?