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Becoming Josephine

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  883 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
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 he
Paperback, 310 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Plume
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The Just-About-Average Ms M
Becoming…Not Much of Anything

This is a long review which few people will bother to read. It is long and detailed because I’m dissenting from prevailing opinions that it is wonderful, stirring, emotional, gripping, and other words favored by some reviewers, especially those who have only reviewed this one book. No matter how highly acclaimed it may be, however, there is room for disagreement, or should be.

According to the “Author’s Note,” most of Josephine’s story has been “documented in tireless
Jenny Q
Loved it. Absolutely loved it. I'm so glad I started off the year with this book. I've lamented how few books blew me away in the past year; I yearned for a book to get under my skin, pull me in deep, refuse to let go of me, and then haunt me afterward. This book did all of that to me and more, and the reason is no doubt the vibrant, poignant, masterful characterization of the woman who captivated lords, generals, politicians, and ultimately, the man who would become the first Emperor of France. ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

"France, armée, tête d'armée, Joséphine."

These, the final words of Napoleon Bonaparte, are what first sparked my interest in Joséphine de Beauharnais. In exile and faced with his own mortality, the former Emperor of France might have had any number of things on his mind, but why, I wondered, was the woman he abandoned so prominent among them? Who was this woman to have captivated him so?

Napoleon's reasoning will never be tr
Kate Quinn
Jan 29, 2014 Kate Quinn rated it really liked it
Josephine Bonaparte springs so vividly to live in these pages she practically walks right off them. Webb paints a full and charming portrait of the Creole beauty born and christened Rose Tascher, not side-stepping her faults but instead making them lovable. Whether she is running up dress bills by the mountain, scolding her children, or bed-hopping blithely between lovers in Paris, you want to shake your head indulgently and say "Rose, you scamp!" It's easy to see how Napoleon fell victim to her ...more
Michael Llewellyn
Apr 09, 2014 Michael Llewellyn rated it it was ok
Becoming Josephine is a debut novel by Heather Webb about Napoleon’s empress from her early days on the Caribbean island of Martinique to her tragic fall from grace in 1810. Much has already been written about her liaison with Bonaparte, who may have loved Josephine to distraction but was forced to divorce her when she could not produce an heir. Much less known is her life on Martinique and her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais, a prominent politician and general who was guillotined dur ...more
Marci Jefferson
Nov 05, 2013 Marci Jefferson rated it it was amazing
Enchanting prose takes the reader on an unforgettable journey . . . Captivating young Rose springs from the lush beauty of her family's sugar plantation in Martinique to shine in the eighteenth century elegance of Parisian salon society. When France is torn by revolution, not even the blood-bathed terror of imprisonment can break her spirit.
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Book Description:

“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 t
Nov 06, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing
If you love sweeping, gut-wrenching,and exciting historical fiction, Ms. Webb's stunning debut novel about Josephine Bonaparte is right up your alley. While most nineteenth century fiction about the famed beauty focuses only on her years with Napoleon, BECOMING JOSEPHINE tells the real tale of the naive young daughter of a Martinique plantation owner, who faced the horrors of the French Revolution to rise, phoenix-like to become the most famous woman in Europe.

Thrilling, yet drenched in histori
Feb 23, 2014 Mercedes rated it did not like it
Far too frothy and frivolous to be considered good historical fiction. So much gratuitous filler (and for such a short book) one can only deduce the author had nothing better to say.
Sadly, I wrapped up this read on Friday and I was very end Josephine's story. Alas, another book that belongs on my BEST OF 2016. For every page turned I thought, why did it take you so long to read this fabulous book?! Seriously, if you love historical fiction and action set in Revolutionary Paris, THIS is THE BOOK for you!!! If a strong, fierce female protagonist appeals to your reading senses, read this book NOW! I could kick myself for neglecting Webb's book for as long as ...more
Mara Buck
Jan 26, 2016 Mara Buck rated it it was amazing
Book review by Mara Buck: Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

I’ve often felt humbled by the book I’m reading, especially historical fiction. Here I am, lounging in the twenty-first century, clad in paint-spattered sweats, hair unkempt, no makeup, garden dirt under my nails. This is no proper way to meet Josephine de Beauharnais, a beauty resplendent in shimmery tisane, pearls twirled in her coiffeur, her elegant feet in velvet slippers tapping out a quadrille --- I am decidedly unworthy. So, I do
Kim Bullock
Aug 02, 2013 Kim Bullock rated it it was amazing
Sometimes when I’m familiar with the subject matter of a novel already, it disappoints. This one amazed! I’d only known “Josephine” as half of a famous couple before, but Webb introduced me to Rose Tascher, who was a force to be reckoned with. Napoleon did not make an appearance until about page 175, and I didn’t miss him. Not a bit. He’s not even named when he’s first introduced, and the description of him made me sputter my mocha latte all over myself at Starbucks. I was tempted to read that p ...more
Lisa Alber
Aug 15, 2013 Lisa Alber rated it it was amazing
Beginning her life as Rose Tascher from Martinique, an unplucked innocent as tender as her name, Heather Webb reveals Josephine's amazing, perilous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming transformation into a regal sophisticate as at home in society as in the bedroom.

The way Webb renders Josephine's life is mesmerizing, sumptuous, and surprising. Webb says so much in so few words, never bogging us down before she sweeps us up into the next scene.

I loved that we didn't meet Napoleon until
Stephanie Thornton
Jul 25, 2013 Stephanie Thornton rated it really liked it
In Becoming Josephine, Heather Webb's marvelous debut has spun the tangled web of a lively and intriguing Josephine, carrying the reader through her early life in Martinique to her near-death escapes during the French Revolution's Terror, and finally to her tumultuous years married to the mercurial Napoleon Bonaparte. (A man I never in a million years would have wanted to be married to.) This is a fast-paced read that immerses readers in the decadent smells of the Caribbean's sugar plantations, ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Teddy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Rose Tascher goes through a lot before she come Josephine Bonaparte. Her father arranges a marriage to a man she doesn't know and shows no affection for her. Her husband, Alexandre, leaves her with his parents months and months at a time while he spends his time running around with other women. It is common knowledge and is thrown in Rose's face repeatedly.

Despite Alexandre, she does find her place in high society and attends many salons and hooks up with other men. However, with the French Rev
Bernadette Phipps-lincke
Mar 15, 2014 Bernadette Phipps-lincke rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. There was a lot of historical fact that I didn't know, intertwined in this romance. I will never see Josephine as a mysterious shadow in the history of Napoleon again. I came to know Josephine as a flesh and blood woman, a woman caught up in the web of her times, the brutal reality of life, and the heartbreak that is inevitable with such a powerful love.
Lynn Cullen
Nov 21, 2013 Lynn Cullen rated it it was amazing
From the first page, Heather Webb’s deft storytelling swept me into the world of Rose Tascher, the Creole girl who would become the Empress Josephine Bonaparte. Rose is a lovable, believable character who has to seek her place in a tumultuous, almost unbelievable era in France. Sumptuous detail enriches this compelling page-turner.
I chose to indulge in another look at Josephine after reading an account that left a bad taste in my mouth. In the previous take, she is portrayed as a shallow and vain woman, only interested in her own survival and self-indulgence. I found few redeeming qualities in her. I didn't want that to be my last take on her so I cracked open this novel, knowing it had some great reviews. I'm glad I did as Heather Webb has woven an intricate tale of a woman caught in the maelstrom of change and revolutio ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Lucy rated it really liked it

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
Ray Campbell
Jan 30, 2014 Ray Campbell rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Once again, history through the experience of the woman behind the man provides a prospective that is very satisfying. While this is a work of fiction, Webb did exhaustive research and quotes from authentic documents. The dialogue and imagined emotions may be fictional, but the story is a matter of historical record. So, here we have a young woman born on a sugar plantation in Martinique who travels to Paris and finds herself among the social elite. She returns home to find slave uprisings in th ...more
Oct 27, 2013 Diana rated it really liked it
Poignant epic historical novel, based on real people and events! I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the pace of the book. The history was well integrated into the storyline, so I never felt like I was reading a history textbook like I have felt while reading other historical pieces.

As I traveled the journey of the main character, Rose, becoming the Empress Josephine, I truly felt I was there. I am not a historian, nor have I ever been to the areas of the world in which this woman lived, y
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jan 08, 2014 Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews rated it really liked it

When Rose moved from a balmy, beautiful Martinique plantation to a cold, stark Paris, her life followed suit.

She went from a loving, warm family to a husband and a life that was cold and distant.

Rose's arranged marriage was supposed to be one that would be a wonderful new chapter in her life, but it was totally opposite. Her husband, Alexandre, was a philanderer and very critical of Rose. He thought she was beneath his social stature.

When the French Revolution broke out both Rose and Alexandre w
Dec 03, 2013 Sherri rated it it was amazing
It has been awhile since I have read a book that excited me and inspired me and left me not wanting to put it down. I received Becoming Josephine as a LibraryThing’s early reviewer. I enjoy historical fiction, mainly to learn some history and more about the way things were in the past through a (hopefully) enjoyable story. Heather Webb did not disappoint! I was afraid this was going to be largely a love story about Napoleon and Josephine but what I got was an inspiring story of a strong and cour ...more
Michelle (True Book Addict)
What a fabulous debut novel! I found myself thinking...when I was not even 50 pages well-written it is. Coming in at only 300 pages, this novel packs a lot of punch. It easily rivals any of its more chunky counterparts.

Reading a book centering on Josephine was so refreshing. I have not, as of yet, read any historical novels about her. I was surprised by what an illustrious life she led. Not having read much non-fiction-wise about her, I have no way of determining how accurate Ms. Webb's
WTF Are You Reading?
My Thoughts
Becoming Josephine stole both my heart and imagination from its opening pages. I was immediately drawn to the young and spirited Rose, and very put out by both her father's and husband's treatment of her.
I dare not continue further into the plot line for fear that I might spoil things, but I must say that Rose's/Josephine's life reads better than any soap opera. The writing style employed here is a very personal one; reading this book is much like having a conversation with an old fr
Kara Hutchison
Mar 21, 2014 Kara Hutchison rated it liked it
This fictionalized story of Napoleon's wife was interesting but not as fascinating as their real life story. I wonder why more of Napoleon's lusty love letters weren't included in this book, it'd give it more authenticity. Josephine(aka Rose) & 18th century Paris didn't really come to life for me. The dialogue & descriptions didn't sound authentic. So, the story could have been better written, but I'll still give it 3 stars since it kept me reading & it inspired me to Google the real ...more
Natalia Sylvester
Dec 31, 2013 Natalia Sylvester rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at the woman Josephine Bonaparte was before and after she became Napoleon's first wife. My history lessons defined her mostly by her role as empress and wife, but Heather Webb makes her come alive in all her complexities to reveal a fierce, brave spirit who endured countless challenges and transformed herself to survive many times throughout her life. I had to learn more about her when I finished this book.
Leslie Poulos
Jan 11, 2014 Leslie Poulos rated it it was amazing
Josephine is resilient. Above all else, she is a survivor. The first person narration, attention to historical detail, and most of all the depth with which the author explores Josephine's heart will not disappoint historical fiction readers. Well written, well-researched, and highly engaging. I began it in the evening and finished it the next day because I couldn't put it down!
Jun 11, 2015 Jo rated it did not like it
Thanks to goodreads for sending me this book. The cover is nice. The story rapidly became a book I did not enjoy reading, unfortunately. Lovers of historical fiction should pick a different book. It's full of Josephine's whining and bed hopping and the short choppy dialogue is just odd.
Kathleen Horst
Mar 14, 2014 Kathleen Horst rated it it was ok
A surface look at a fascinating time but also a fast, easy read. Interesting but don't look for deep meaning.
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When Josephine Bonaparte appeared to Heather in a dream, she switched gears from snarky high school teacher to author & history nerd, all for the love of books.

To date, her historical novels have sold in six countries, received national starred reviews, and been featured in print media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Cosmo, Elle, and more. Rodin's Lover was chosen as a
More about Heather Webb...

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