As a child she ran wild under the Caribbean sun. At 16, she was packed off to an aunt in Paris for an arranged marriage with a young aristocrat, Alexandre de Beauharnais. He loathed her, calling her plump and unsophisticated, and the birth of a son and daughter did not win him over — she was barely 20 when he told her the marriage was over and sent her and the children to live in a convent. She begged the other abandoned wives there for tips on beauty and dress.
She learned the arts of a true Parisienne — dress, grace and seductive speech. She painted her face with white make-up, daubed her cheeks with rouge and painted the lids of her exotic amber eyes with dusky coal powder.
When Alexandre finally bowed to family pressure and let her out after just over a year, she had become a truly beautiful woman. Her husband remained immune to her charms, but other men flocked to pay her bills, and she lived off their favours. But in , the revolutionary mob who had executed Louis and Marie Antoinette were still rounding up aristocrats under the Terror. Les Carmes was a truly dreadful place.
Women waited in their flimsy linen underdresses for the guillotine, their hair cut short in expectation of the blade.
Alexandre was tried and executed. She knew she was next. Then, on the day before her trial, the government was deposed, and the new men in charge immediately halted the executions. She would never let herself be vulnerable again.
She had been told she would be queen of France; now she was determined to make it happen. Parisians were hungry to celebrate their survival. Everyone wanted to attend the Bals des Victimes where women wore red ribbons around their necks as a symbol of the guillotine. She wanted to shock and win fame, and after the horrors of Les Carmes, she did not care what people thought. Paul Barras, impossibly wealthy and the de facto governor of France. Barras gave her a magnificent home and loved her for her grace, skills as a hostess and indulgence of his debauched desires; for his political dinners turned into orgies when the clock struck She needed security, preferably a husband.
When her lover asked her to sit next to Napoleon, she used all her charms to win him. In the ten years that followed their marriage, Napoleon tricked and manoeuvred, ousting Barras and making himself consul and then, in , emperor of France. Napoleon at Home — Vol. The Many Loves of Napoleon Bonaparte. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long.
Your display name should be at least 2 characters long. At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.
You submitted the following rating and review. We'll publish them on our site once we've reviewed them.
Item s unavailable for purchase. Please review your cart. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping.
Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori. Buy the eBook Price: Available in Russia Shop from Russia to buy this item.
Or, get it for Kobo Super Points! Napoleon Bonaparte's adventures in the boudoir makes for fascinating reading; Masson presents his hero as a man who was by turns passionate, peremptory, magnanimous, and even playful with women. Whether they sought him out for social advantage or out of admiration, Napoleon never suffered for the lack of beautiful feminine companionship, except by his own choice. One of the most striking narratives is Napoleon's violent courting of Marie Walewska, who becomes his Polish wife and bears him a son out of wedlock.
The turning point in his fortunes hangs upon his desperation to have legitimate sons.
Have a good rest. But this marriage did not last long because she died in , after giving birth to a son. How to write a great review. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. A son was born out of wedlock, by Maria Walewska to Napoleon in May Napoleon never saw his wife and son again till his death.
The Rose of Martinique is a comprehensive and truly empathetic biography. Andrea Stuart, who was raised in the Caribbean, combines scholarly distance with a genuine attempt to understand her heroine. For example, when she writes about the circumstances surrounding Napoleon's edict to reestablish slavery in Martinique and elsewhere, she explores the question of why Josephine did not intervene. One interesting theory is that she and Napoleon shared a complex about being born outside of mainland France and feared being suspected of having mixed blood. As Stuart documents, it was hardly a misfortune for Josephine that Napoleon decided to divorce her and marry the archduchess of Austria, Marie-Louise d'Habsbourg.
By then, Napoleon was showing his megalomania not just in matters of state but with his many mistresses and others over whom he held power.
The formal divorce ceremony was a tearful one for both parties, during which Josephine declared: Josephine was allowed to keep her beloved Malmaison, the vast estate where she cultivated more than varieties of roses and a renowned collection of horticultural specimens from around the world.
Her aura of majesty stayed with her, even after she lost her grandiose title. Upon hearing of her death in , Napoleon was devastated.
Helena, "the last word to leave his lips was the name he had given her: She was immortalized in so many ways, but perhaps the most fitting tribute was the naming of two roses in her honor: The plot thickens with such delightful roses. Kunio Francis Tanabe is art director and a senior editor of Book World. His e-mail address is tanabef washpost.
Empress Josephine and Napoleon as a young generalA popular print shows Empress Josephine fainting upon hearing that Napoleon intended to divorce her. Turn on desktop notifications?
Share on Google Plus. Scent of a Woman. The story must be told. Perspective In wake of suit against New York City Ballet, audiences and funders should demand answers.