Tag archive

Socialites

Redeeming Josephine: Heather Webb and the Empress of the French

in Fiction by

When men write the history, how do women fare? In Josephine Bonaparte’s case, not very well, says author Heather Webb. In researching Becoming Josephine, her novel about the first Empress of the French, Webb read a number of male-generated tales of the Revolution-era femme fatale that she found incredulous—and far from flattering. Here is a sampling: She danced “nearly naked” for her wealthy powerful lover Paul Barras after political meetings that, at the stroke of midnight, became wild sexual orgies. When after 14 years of marriage, Napoleon told her they must divorce because he needed a male heir, Josephine screamed uncontrollably, then fainted.  One month after Napoleon’s defeat and exile in 1814, Josephine died—of a broken heart. When Napoleon heard…

Keep Reading

Go to Top