Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephineby Andrea Stuart
One of the most remarkable women of the modern era, Josephine Bonaparte was born Rose de Tasher on her family's sugar plantation in Martinique. She embodied all the characteristics of a true Creole-sensuality, vivacity, and willfulness. Using diaries and letters, Andrea Stuart expertly re-creates Josephine's whirlwind of a life, which began with an isolated… See more details below
One of the most remarkable women of the modern era, Josephine Bonaparte was born Rose de Tasher on her family's sugar plantation in Martinique. She embodied all the characteristics of a true Creole-sensuality, vivacity, and willfulness. Using diaries and letters, Andrea Stuart expertly re-creates Josephine's whirlwind of a life, which began with an isolated Caribbean childhood and led to a marriage that would usher her onto the world stage and crown her empress of France.
Josephine managed to be in the forefront of every important episode of her era's turbulent history: from the rise of the West Indian slave plantations that bankrolled Europe's rapid economic development, to the decaying of the ancien régime, to the French Revolution itself, from which she barely escaped the guillotine.
Rescued from near starvation, she grew to epitomize the wild decadence of post-revolutionary Paris. It was there that Josephine first caught the eye of Napoleon Bonaparte. A true partner to Napoleon, she was equal parts political adviser, hostess par excellence, confidante, and passionate lover. In this captivating biography, Stuart brings her so utterly to life that we finally understand why Napoleon's last word before dying was the name he had given her: Josephine.
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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- 6.06(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.30(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Rose of MartiniqueA Life of Napoleon's Josephine
By Andrea Stuart
Grove Atlantic, Inc.ISBN: 0-8021-1770-8
Chapter OneThe ceremony took place at the once glamorous H�tel de Mondragon. A room on the second floor had been allocated for civil marriages. There was still some evidence here of the hotel's former glory: a marble fireplace, large gilt mirrors and the delicate Louis XV paneling, but the room, like the rest of the building, was sorely neglected. As Josephine recalled years later, the dingy, crudely furnished room was lit by a single, half-hearted candle flickering in a tin sconce.
The bride, wearing a white muslin gown with a tricolor sash and an enameled medallion engraved with the words "To Destiny," given to her by Bonaparte, arrived to all this decaying splendor punctually at eight o'clock on the evening of 9 March 1796. Barras, one of Napoleon's witnesses, arrived shortly after. But there was no sign of the groom. The minutes turned into hours. There was nowhere comfortable to sit; and with increasing ill-temper the weary registrar finally went to bed, leaving the ceremony to one of his underlings who hobbled about gamely on his wooden leg. Finally, at almost ten o'clock, Napoleon bounded up the marble staircase accompanied by his aide. Carried away with his plans for Italy, he had lost track of the time. This would set the tone for their entire relationship. No matter how great Napoleon professed his love to be, it would always come second to his military ambition.
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