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Becoming Josephine

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,106 ratings  ·  224 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
...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Plume
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,106 ratings  ·  224 reviews


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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
Erin
Jul 26, 2013 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
...more
Kate Quinn
Jan 29, 2014 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
Kathy
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the best novel about Josephine since the Josephine B trilogy by Sandra Gulland. I hated to see it come to an end. Left me wanting more. Excellent!
Annette
Before she became Josephine Bonaparte, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, she was a Creole girl named Rose Tascher.

Rose Tascher (1763-1814) grows up on Martinique plantation. She cherishes her Creole heart, but she dreams of France, “of the adventure of Paris and the grand court life of Papa’s tales. The elegant gowns and intrigue, the handsome men. And love without bounds.”

One night, her father informs her of “a marriage in a distant land.”

She moves to France to marry Alexandre de Beauharnai
...more
Michael Llewellyn
Apr 09, 2014 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 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.
Mary
Sadly, I wrapped up this read on Friday and I was very disappointed...to 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
Janet
Nov 06, 2013 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
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Small Review

Originally posted at Small Review

She may be getting sleepover party invites, but not from me!

Well, that was disappointing.

Becoming Josephine was my first attempt at getting to know Josephine on her own terms and not through a general history of the time, Napoleonic readings, and stories from the British perspective (which, granted, have always been understandably biased against old Boney and co.).

My gosh, I don't know if it was me, Heather Webb's portrayal, or Josephine herself, but it was a tr
...more
Book Preview Review
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
...more
Mara Buck
Jan 26, 2016 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
...more
Kim Bullock
Aug 02, 2013 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 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
...more
Stephanie Thornton
Jul 25, 2013 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
Teddy
Jan 12, 2014 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
...more
Lynn Cullen
Nov 21, 2013 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.
Bernadette Phipps-lincke
Mar 15, 2014 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.
Rebecca Rosenberg
I thouroughly enjoyed learning more about Josephine Bonaparte for my upcoming series CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. It was fascinating to hear about her upbringing in Martinique, with her half-sister a slave to her-- OMG! eye-opening and wretched. When her husband chooses another woman, she is destitute and must live with their children in a convent. It is hard to imagine her there, trying to strategize her future for herself and her children. There is not much choice. She becomes a socialite in Paris when s ...more
Sarah
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
Lucy
Jan 01, 2014 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
...more
Ray Campbell
Jan 30, 2014 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
Lesa
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The only thing as enjoyable as reading a book by a favorite author is discovering a debut author who writes beautifully. Heather Webb's historical novel Becoming Josephine brings a woman to life, the one we know of as Josephine Bonaparte. She had a fascinating life long before she met Napoleon Bonaparte. In this novel, we watch Rose Tascher grow into a beloved Empress.

Rose Tascher grew up in Martinique. Watching her father run around on her mother, sleeping with slaves, hookers, and mistresses,
...more
Diana
Oct 27, 2013 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
...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Jan 08, 2014 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
...more
Sherri
Dec 03, 2013 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 Stockard Miller (True Book Addict)
What a fabulous debut novel! I found myself thinking...when I was not even 50 pages in...how 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
...more
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
...more
Jennifer
Jun 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
The first review at the top of this page really says it all. I actually meant to buy a different book about Josephine, but was stuck with this sleazy rag instead. I should have stopped at the beginning when Les Halles and the grand boulevards were mentioned...100 years too soon. I'm sorry, but if you're taking the effort to write historical fiction, why would you skim over the historical details? Maybe not everyone who is reading is aware, but for those of us who are, it results in a major eye-r ...more
Martie Nees Record
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Before she was Josephine Bonaparte she was a Creole girl called Rose and was more than a bit of a tart. Her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais was guillotined during the “Reign of Terror”, and she was imprisoned until her release five days after Alexandre's execution. She later married the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte who was madly in love with her. Alas, she could not produce an heir which he desperately needed so they divorced. An historical novel that read a tad like “Peyton Place” Josephi ...more
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Heather Webb is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of 6 historical novels set in France. She's also an avid traveler, foodie, and history nerd.

A little more about her books: In 2017, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the Women's Fiction Writers Association award, and in 2019, MEET ME IN MONACO was shortlisted for both the RNA award in the UK and also the Digital Book World Fiction prize.
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