Like the era in which she lived, Josephine Bonapartes life was tumultuous, filled with secrets and intrigues as much as with wealth and fame. Carolly Erickson has not only written the biography of a facinating woman, but the story of a survivor whose intelligence and ambition allowed her to keep her head and rise to power in the worst and best of times.

As little more than a girl, Josephine Trashet de Pagerie leaves the island of Martinique for France to wed a distant cousin. She finds her way to the salons of Paris and a life apart from her husband.

Imprisoned during the Reign of Terror, she has the good fortune to escape the guillotine and capture the eye of a man whose ambition matches her ownNapoleon.

What at first appears to be a passionate love match is more business arrangement to Josephine and even though Napoleon is adoring and zealous in his love for her, Josephine begins to feel stifled. Her barrenness and the loss of love lead to her downfall and though once an empress, after her divorce she is just a woman.

Master historian and biographer Carolly Erickson presents the enigma that is Josephine as a woman: good, selfish and product of her era. This is also an insightful portrait of Napoleon and France. Lavish detail and colorful descriptions of everything from the brutality of the French Revolution to the fashions and imperial life style. JOSEPHINE is a biography that will fascinate romance readers. (Available now, 380 pp., $27.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin