Monday, April 13, 2009

Josephine B

The Josephine Bonaparte Collection by Sandra Gulland
The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.
Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe
The Last Great Dance on Earth

Her website and more on the books

I have never read historical fiction before and the French were the good guys, so I really enjoyed this series. It's written in a journal format, the journal being Josephine Bonapartes. I haven't read anything on Napoleon before either, and basically knew he was short with a big tummy,lost at Waterloo and was exiled to an island. That was the extent of my knowledge, the guy has gotten a bad rap it seems in general, he wasn't that short 5'6", he won way more than he lost, and he's named in an ABBA song, who could ask for more?


The story is basically of Josephine's relationships with family, her island upbringing, her first husband, her children, Napoleon, and Napoleon's wacky family. It seems Napoleon's sister Pauline was known as a bit of a floozy, you know the type that let's her nips show in paintings of herself.


Josephine is portrayed as a lovely person actually, a wonderful mother and a faithful wife to Napoleon, and she spends quite a bit of money.
She wasn't suppose to be beautiful but it's said she had a beautiful voice. The exact same thing is said of Cleopatra. I'm guessing as much as they had bad teeth in those days, that they maybe had bad eyesight too. *grin*


So these types of stories always gets me googling. There is so much on Napoleon that you could spend years on here and never read it all. He talked .... a lot! Quotes of him are everywhere, he said this...

"Women are nothing but machines for producing children.”

I'm thinking he said this when he was around a bunch of guys, you know how men talk when they are soldiering and their wives are safely in another country! Since Josephine saved his letters we also know some of his quotes from letters to her. Things like.....

"Goodbye, goodbye! I shall go to bed without you, sleep without you. Let me sleep, I beg you. For several nights I have felt you in my arms; a happy dream, but it is not you."

"Oh, my adorable wife! I don't know what fate has in store for me, but if it keeps me apart from you any longer, it will be unbearable! My courage is not enough for that."

Napoleon divorced Josephine because she couldn't produce any children, he thought it was him until his mistress had his baby. Although whatever I've read it says that Josephine did have an affair. It tells after the divorce of Napoleon's little visits to see Josephine just to talk, since they had a friendship as well. I'm not sure if this happened, but would of been nice if it did.

So in my googling for pictures of Josephine, this picture came up....

you might not recognize that, but if you are a devoted follower of Heloise and Abelard you would! You've heard me talk of them before, and I have a website dedicated to a historical fiction novel about them. Well, Jospehine heard or read of their story and had their bodies brought to Paris and buried together. I'm guessing she was a bit of a romantic, but not sure if that explains the male and female mummies, relics of the Napoleons Egyptian campaign, she bought.

If I had to make a decision on whether I liked the lady or not on one thing... her bringing Heloise and Abelard together again would put on the "like" side.

I will leave you with Napoleon's last words...

France, army, Josephine...


Marg said...

I really enjoyed this trilogy, particularly the first book! I don't normally like books that are in a diary format but it definitely worked for this trilogy.

Patricia said...

Didn't you read "Désirée" when you were a teenager? That's how I got to "meet" Napoléon...
And here's a funny anecdote: I was visiting the Louvre with a British friend, many years ago, and we were standing in front of a painting of Napoléon. Two women walked up, and one said to the other: "Ah, Napoleon. Now, who was he? Was he a king?" And the other woman replied: "Noooo! He was a criminal!!!" And they walked away. My friend and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing...

M and M's Blog said...

No, I have never read that book, I will have to look it up!


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