Lucy Moore

Martinique to Malmaison

Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon

By

Hutchinson 357pp £20 order from our bookshop

Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, the girl who grew up to be the Empress Josephine, had a life more extraordinary than that of any fairy-tale princess. Born into the family of a provincial ne’er-do-well, she survived divorce and the Revolution – she was days from the guillotine when Robespierre fell – to become one of the celebrated beauties of the Directory before almost inadvertently capturing the heart of a gauche young general, Napoleon Bonaparte. By his side she would become, as a voodoo priestess had predicted when she was a child in Martinique, greater even than a queen.

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