In 1804, when Josephine Bonaparte knelt before her husband, Napoleon, to receive the imperial diadem, few in the vast crowd of onlookers were aware of the dark secrets hidden behind the imperial façade. To her subjects, she appeared to vet hew most favored woman in France: alluring, wealthy, and with the devoted love of a remarkable husband who was the conqueror of Europe. In actuality, Josephine's life was far darker, for her celebrated allure was fading, her wealth was compromised by massive debt, and her marriage was corroded by infidelity and abuse.
Josephine's life story was as turbulent as the age-an era of revolution and social upheaval, of the guillotine, and of frenzied hedonism. With telling psychological depth and compelling literary grace, Carolly Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever-resilient Josephine to life in this memorable portrait, one that carries the reader along every twist and turn of the empress's often thorny path, from the sensual richness of her childhood in the tropics to her final lonely days at Malmaison.
“[Erikson's] scholarly insights combine superbly with a mastery of period manners more often found in the best historical fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews on Josephine
“Carolly Erikson tells [this story] with all the flair it deserves...Exquisite writing.” —Houston Chronicle on Josephine
“Carolly Erikson i a most admirable biographer, and this book is highly enjoyable as well as being reliable and acute; indeed, it is popular historical biography at its best.” —Christopher Hibbert, London Times, on Mistress Anne
“A book of considerable literary disctinction.” —Washington Post Book World on Bloody Mary
“A masterpiece of narrative, a story so absorbing that it is as hard to put down as a fine novel.” —Edmund M. White, Los Angeles Times Book Review on The First Elizabeth
“Erikson's fluid, captivating portrait reads like a first-rate historical novel.” —Booklist on Great Catherine