Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: "Becoming Josephine" by Heather Webb

Synopsis:  Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

My Thoughts:  I have been interested in Josephine ever since I read Antonia Fraser's biography of her.  Since that time, I have been unable to resist reading books about her so there was no way I could not read this.  Becoming Josephine is a captivating tale of a truly fascinating historical figure.  It is set against a background of rebellion, revolution and war that emphasizes the resilience of the main character.

 Heather Webb's Josephine is an extremely complex and well-developed character.  She was so flawed but at the same time so endearing; even if I didn't always like how she behaved, I still really liked her.  She definitely didn't have an easy life but she was a survivor and she did what she had to do to take care of her family.  Josephine was portrayed as a doting mother who had a wonderful relationship with her children.  She also had some serious fashion sense!  I loved the descriptions of her outfits, they sounded absolutely gorgeous!

I enjoyed watching the transformation of Rose into Josephine going from a naive young girl to a strong, worldly woman.  It was almost like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the revolution.  After such a difficult period in her life, she basically got to become a whole new person thanks to Napoleon.  There was such a complexity to her romance with Napoleon; they loved each other deeply but also seemed to like hurting each other.

Becoming Josephine is Ms. Webb's debut novel and it is one of my favorite reads of the year so far.  I can't recommend it enough!  4 stars.

I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full time novel writing and freelance editing.
When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.
For more information please visit Heather’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter:  #BecomingJosephineTour

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