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Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe (Josephine Bonaparte #2)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,219 Ratings  ·  277 Reviews
Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe is the much-awaited sequel to Sandra Gulland's highly acclaimed first novel, The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.

Beginning in Paris in 1796, the saga continues as Josephine awakens to her new life as Mrs. Napoleon Bonaparte. Through her intimate diary entries and Napoleon's impassioned love letters, an astonishing portrait of a
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 16th 1999 by Touchstone (first published 1998)
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Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top, lod, i-said
What is history but a fable agreed upon? – Napoleon

The book opens with the spirit of Marie Antoinette observing Josephine as she writes at her escritoire.

She’s not what one would call a beauty, yet he worships her with a passion that verges on madness! Big hazel eyes, I grant you, and yes, long curling lashes, a slender, graceful form, artful dress, etc., etc. - but are these qualities that bewitch? Perhaps it is the caress of her musical voice that has cast a spell. (I know about spells.) No
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ok, so here's what happened. I read these and my then-boyfriend started reading them over my shoulder and took them from my hands as soon as I finished them. My sister read them for 10 hours on the train from Rochester to New York, to the detriment of her masters degree thesis. About 10 of my friends have read them, most of my relatives, and I've put them in the hands of total strangers in bookstores. I've given them as gifts about 5 times, the whole set. They are marvelous.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am so captivated by the life of Josephine Bonaparte. Her in-laws completely hated her and tried every possible way- lies against her virtue- to get Napoleon to divorce her. In the novel, she tries her best to be true to herself. She endures a major accident at a spa to get her menstral cycle going again- the procedures were nothing more than torture. She was thrown into conspiracy and intrigue and through it all comes to learn how much she loves her husband. I can't wait to read the last novel ...more
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked it as much as the first one in the trilogy. On to the last book!
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Formed similarly as the first book in the series trilogy by diaries and letters, this one covers the last years of the 18th century up until the time that Napoleon and Josephine moved into the Tuilleries. The fortune told by the seer of her island girlhood is fulfilled, she is Queen.

This was not as core personal in tone, IMHO, as was the first book. After the Terror has ended and her husband has conquered the Austrians in Italy and the Egyptian campaign completed- and the English war commenced,
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
It's been several years since I read book #1 of this series but I always knew I wanted to, someday, continue this story. I know very little of French history and even less of Napoleon Boneparte so this is my history lesson. There is plenty of coverage about Napoleon's military conquests, so much so that parts of the book were bogged down by it. However, the glimpse into a marriage relationship is fascinating; especially one where fame is thrust upon them and they have to choose how to navigate t ...more
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am REALLY enjoying this series! I love the way this author depicts Josephine! There is little said about her in history and what is said isn't very flattering! With this book you really feel like you are inside her head and feel what her heart feels. You understand why she did some "controversial things." I'm afraid to read the last book because I know I'm going to cry...not a happy ending. BUT, I just read that one of the last things Napoleon said as he was dying was his beloved Josephine's n ...more
Jean St.Amand
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just as good as The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. Really enjoyed the way the story was told through diary entries and letters. Looking forward to the third book. Interesting way to learn about the history of that time period.
Whitney Holley
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to read this for a fun, light read, but man, it was a slog! I think having it told through journal entries made it hard for me to care too much about the characters.
Carrie Slager
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-bought
After hearing about her incredible early years, in Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe focuses on Josephine’s most well-known years. And although she has gained a sort of infamous reputation from her supposedly numerous affairs while Bonaparte was in Egypt, this is not the way Sandra Gulland portrays her. You know what? This portrayal feels much more real, more authentic than the typical ‘immortal cheating harlot’ angle that Josephine is always portrayed from. In Gulland’s portrayal, we get to see ho ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this one a bit more. A depressing series though. I was glad and a little relieved to see that Josephine had some happiness with Bonaparte in this one, but knowing that it ends badly makes it hard to enjoy. Poor Josephine did not have a happy life.

It's very interesting/amusing to read about everything they thought they knew about the human body. All of their 'cures' and treatments, and being bled and leeches... so crazy. Seems like they had a better chance of surviving if they just stayed
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I had to remind myself that the french are much more open about physical relationships and art forms than I. However, I find myself being able to excuse that in exchange for historical information and a book that can capture a variety of emotions from me. This book found all my emotions; I laughed, chuckled at sarcastic remarks, gasped at the cruelty of family, cried at some of Josephine's misfortunes, heartaches and reliefs. I fell in love with both Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte. I have read ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book more than the first once of the series, largely because it was slightly less drawn out and her relationship with Bonaparte becomes a lot more interesting. However, I still find the diary format tedious to get through as it lacks momentum. I can understand why it was chosen but for me it makes the story a bit more disjointed.

I'd definitely recommend this book for people who enjoy historical fiction and want to know more about Josephine and Bonaparte's lives without having to
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been saving up the reading of this second book of Sandra Gulland’s Josephine Bonaparte trilogy because I knew it would be great. I wasn't disappointed. I loved the feeling of intimacy while reading about the details of Josephine's day to day life. This is the most enjoyable way to learn history and I especially appreciated the footnotes and the enormous amount of research obviously done. Even with the journal style entries the writing flows beautifully and never feels choppy. I highly rec ...more
Kate Forsyth
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
This is the second book in Sandra Gullard’s trilogy about the Empress Josephine, one of the most fascinating women in history. Told in first person, in diary form, the book has an immediacy which brings the character of Mrs Napoleon Bonaparte vividly to life. I think it helps to know the story well; I’ve read biographies of Napoleon and Josephine before and am studying the period, and so find it intriguing to have the story told in such a fresh and engaging way. However, if you are interested in ...more
Whitney Ann
Excellent, opened my eyes to Napoleon, beyond the greedy little man reputed in history books. Beautifully written, a very personal narrative. I felt I knew all the characters when finished, and was sad to leave.
Erica Davis-Hernandez
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
#2 book in the historical fiction trilogy of Josephine Bounapartes life. Written as her personal journal entreis it follows historical events of the time while embellishing on her love affair and marriage with the Emperoro of France. A fun read.
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio, france, hf, favorites, series
I have written a review of the entire trilogy and put it under the firt book entitled The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B..
Bailey Caskey
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying this series so much! Fascinating subject matter, great writing & rich character development. this series makes me want to learn more about the French Revolution. I have a hard time putting these books down!
Amy Bridges
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am so loving Josephine.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loving this series - onto the 3rd book in the trilogy!
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vivid descriptions that made me feel as if I were there...going to start on the last book in the trilogy about Josephine, the first wife of Napoleon next
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second book of the Josephine trilogy
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
excellent! the research for this book was superb. can't wait to get the 3rd book.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This second installment in the Josephine B series was every bit as good as the first. I like that the emphasis of the storytelling is on the people and events, but I confess to finding the political and financial aspects of this book even more baffling than the first one. So much of the book rambles on about spending and loans and speculation yet nothing is truly explained. Just how poor (or wealthy) is Josephine? I fail to see a clear picture of how she is managing to live (other than far beyon ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sorry, just could not get into the spirit of this book. Not sure if it was the style of writing, the continual comments about Josephine's infertility, or the attempt to discuss the closeness of family who are always bickering (Bonapartes) or never together (de Beauharnais).
D Bauman
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this is book 2 of a trilogy....loved it -
Karla Simmons
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one sucked me in as well. Love who this woman is, how disciplined and controlled she is yet so wholly in love with Bonaparte - must read.
Mary Montgomery
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this author and I love how she's presenting Josephine, Bonaparte, and their contemporaries. She's eminently realistic and IMO has a good grasp of emotions.
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I'm the author of the JOSEPHINE B. TRILOGY, the internationally best-selling novels based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon's wife. The Trilogy has been published in 17 countries.

I most recently published THE SHADOW QUEEN, the "sister" novel of MISTRESS OF THE SUN. Both novels are set in the Court of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

Soon THE GAME OF HOPE, a Young Adult novel about Josephine Bo
More about Sandra Gulland...

Other Books in the Series

Josephine Bonaparte (3 books)
  • The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. (Josephine Bonaparte, #1)
  • The Last Great Dance on Earth (Josephine Bonaparte, #3)

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“I confess that I enjoy this vocation, in spite of my sex. I feel a certain thrill, as if I were visiting a lover. But it is money I court, money that woos me, and the intoxicating power to earn a very great deal.” 1 likes
“I nodded yes. Another deceit. I have become a person I do not care for.” 1 likes
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