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As she approaches the end of her life, Josephine Bonaparte reflects on her glamorous and exciting past. As a 15-year-old beauty on the Caribbean island of Martinique, she met and charmed a French military officer, Scipion du Roure, and then took the first of many lovers, the mysterious Donovan, before leaving for Paris. Josephine's subsequent unhappy marriage to an aristocrat, her narrow escape from death by guillotine, and her involvement with Napoléon all demand that she use her mind and body to gain advantages for herself and her children. Although many of the characters and incidents depicted here have roots in history, Erickson calls her book "historical entertainment, not a historical novel." For example, Josephine undertakes a clandestine journey to Russia, where she delays Napoléon's retreat and helps hasten his defeat. Her ongoing affair with Donovan, her heroic exploits during a slave rebellion, and other plot twists also reveal the author's method of "blending fact and whimsy." Fans of Erickson's earlier historical fiction (The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette; The Last Wife of Henry VIII) will enjoy this latest concoction. Readers seeking a more substantive historical re-creation of Josephine's life might consider Sandra Gulland's trilogy, starting with The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.