Written in the form of journal entries, “The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.” follows the life of Josephine Bonaparte (“Rose”) as she goes through the early years of her life, leading up to her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte. From the first entry on the first page, I was pulled into Rose’s life and didn’t want to leave.
This book allowed me to get so caught up in the trials and tribulations of Rose’s life that it was easy to forget what was happening right outside my own door. Everything from the descriptions of the over-the-top wealth to the sorrowful prisons was spot-on. Sandra Gulland was able to capture the happiest moments and the most tearful with a reality that is hard to capture.
I’m not typically a historical fiction kind of gal. In fact, I’ve often found them quite boring. But I’m guessing I didn’t have the right books in front of me. I did not want to put this book down. Double bonus? I learned a lot about what was going on in France and the rest of Europe in the late 1700s. I love when I finish a book feeling smarter than when I picked it up.
This is the first in a series of three books about Josephine Bonaparte’s life. It ends on the day she marries Napoloeon. Book two, “Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe,” picks up where this one leaves off. I can’t wait to crack that one open. My goal was to read a different sort of book in between the books in this series — to keep them interesting and give me something to look forward to. However, I’m eager to get into the next one. Alas, today starts a new week and I do not have “Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe” and will be continuing on with my 52 in 2011 challenge with an unrelated book, “Still Alice.”
In closing, I highly recommend “The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.”
Don’t forget: I’ll be keeping a running log of the books I’ve read and the ones up next on my list, as well as a rating of each book. Check out my list here. And if you have any suggested reading for me, I’d love to hear ‘em — just leave me a comment here or on my 52 Books in 2011 page.