Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jumping into 2014 with 'Becoming Josephine' - Interview, Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!
 I am especially excited to be part of the HFVBT that kicks off with this JOJO Event!!

Heather Webb wrote an amazing book- Read my Review and then on to her Interview- to end with a GIVEAWAY of BECOMING JOSEPHINE!!!!


You cannot imagine how excited I was to read this book- and when I finally received it...I could not put it down.  Let me begin by saying that it doesn't matter how many books you've already read on Josephine, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, will bring something new and of interest to you.

Written in the first person, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, offers an emotional story of Josephine's life, delivered with clarity, brevity, to the point and so much insight- this book will show you yet another side of our beloved 18th c. icon- I loved it!

I have to say that right from the beginning, Josephine is presented as not being the prettiest of the three sisters, and somewhat of a mischievous and curious young girl- making her so very real and not unlike a typical dreamy young teen.  Seeing her off to Paris to marry her first husband and all that he put her through...well that's just the beginning...we all know where the juiciest parts of the story really happen...

All this to say, that no matter if you already know this story- BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a newer and refreshing take that will please not only seasoned readers who already know so much about her, but also a younger adult audience as well.  Webb manages to bring us a Josephine that is understandable and relatable.  The Josephine in BECOMING JOSEPHINE is real and not the passive, flighty dame that history often makes her out to be. In this book, you read about a business savvy Josephine who was actually very instrumental in designing her own destiny (Tarot cards aside!).

A quick yet thorough read, BECOMING JOSEPHINE brings you accurate history delivered in an entertaining and fulfilling read- sure to please both historical fictionistas and new Jojo readers alike. 

You will love this book- a 2014 MUST!


1)      In 5 words, how would you describe Josephine, and why?

Vixen:  Josephine loved her men and had quite a reputation for being highly sexualized. I suspect some of it is rumor—any major figurehead or “celebrity” is surrounded by mystery, falsehoods, and  exaggerations—but many of her affairs have been documented as well.

Generous:  Not only did she develop and maintain many charities, but she helped everyone she could, including her enemies. She gave without bounds in spite of her constantly enraged husband. Ultimately I believe she did not care about money, but rather what it attained for her in terms of stability as well as for those she loved.

Cunning:As I mentioned before, Josephine had many men. She was attractive, certainly, but not exactly a beautiful woman. But she knew how to work it! She was famous for her Creole accent and swaying hips, saying precisely the right thing at the right time. She seemed to know what made people tick and how to soothe their ill spirits or bolster their confidence. And it wasn’t just men who responded to her, women adored her as well.

Loving: Josephine had her faults but at the end of the day, she was an ardent lover of “her people”—to those who were her followers on a political scale as well as her friends, family and her dogs. Not to mention she adored her children above all else.

Brave:Josephine faced slave rebellion, the September massacres, losing several friends and a husband to the murderous tyrants of the Revolution. She was imprisoned and nearly died. She graced the halls of some of the most famous palaces in the world and was even compared to a queen—a very precarious title after such tremendous bloodshed and unrest. It’s one thing to “face” all of those horrors and pressures, it’s another to rise above the filth and hate and become a beloved icon. The woman was tremendous.

2)      What in your opinion was Josephine's biggest defect...or downfall?

This is tough. I could argue that being a spendthrift (it was practically an addiction) led Josephine to make decisions about sleeping around to secure her station…but I think her biggest fault was taking so many men that she did not love. You give away a piece of yourself, your soul, each time you take on a new lover. I’m sure there are those who would disagree, but especially in Josephine’s case, I think, her promiscuity not only caused her grief, but it sparked a downward spiral in her relationship with Napoleon (though in the long run, I believe he would have wrecked it anyway. He was so power-hungry and domineering , it would have only been a matter of time before he took other women.)

3) What places have you visited for your research of Becoming Josephine - and which was your favourite- why?

I haven’t been to many of Josephine’s haunts, I’m afraid. I studied in Eastern France near the Alps in college and have returned about a half dozen times to many regions in France for various trips, but I’ve never been to Malmaison. This coming summer I’ll be returning to France for research and plan to take the unofficial Josephine tour. I have been to many of the palaces she stayed in temporarily with Napoleon or Barras—the Luxembourg Palace, the PalaisEgalite, Versailles, the Tuileries gardens. I have a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies (cultural geography) so I’ve spent some time in the Caribbean and have a very good understanding of the melting pot of cultures there, the climate and the history, though I’ve never been to Martinque. As you can see, I need to book a few trips!  So yes, I have a solid grasp of the culture and the soul of each place, but need to get over there again!

4) Who in your opinion is the most detestable (or lovable...if even possible) of Bonaparte's family? Why?

Another tough question! If we put Napoleon aside (such a murderous little tyrant he was), hmmm…I could find faults or reasons to sympathize with each of the Bonapartes, but I think I’d have to say Madame Mère, Napoleon’s mother. She was shrewd and angry and condescending and that affected each of her offspring in a very negative way. She began the chain reaction that screwed up the entire family…I don’t know. Joseph and Caroline were pretty hideous as well. It’s a tough call.

5) Can you compare Josephine and Bonaparte's lovestory to any other couple in history?

There are many stories where royals fall in love, but someone in the relationship cheats and the other discovers it and ruins their love. Also, there are many of wives who didn’t fulfill their duty to sire an heir and faced execution or banishment. Still, I think Josephine and Napoleon had a fairly unique relationship set during a fascinating time that is difficult to compare to any other.

THANK YOU Heather for this FANTASTIC Interview!!! 
If you'd like to hop on this tour and read all the other fabulous reviews and interviews check out the schedule at HFVBT HERE.

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  1. congrats & good luck to Heather!!
    I cannot wait to read Becoming Josephine!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

    1. oops, forgot my email.....
      cyn209 at juno dot com

  2. shared on my FB wall:

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  3. I follow this blog via GFC as Cyn209........

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  4. Thank you for the giveaway. I do hope its open to all. If it is please count me in.


  5. Hoping, as you say, to find a new picture of this fascinating woman. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. I have been wanting this book since I heard about it being released!
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  8. I follow via bloglovin as amybooksy
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  9. I know I am dating myself, but anyone remember the miniseries Napoleon and Josephine starring Armand Assante and Jacqueline Bissett? It came to mind as I reading this post. I wonder if the portrayals of Josephine are similar.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Raquel36m (at) gmail (dot) com.

  10. Very interested in Napoleon & Josephine.I've read lots I hope to include this one.

    Julie at