Josephine by Kate Williams

Josephine by Kate Williams – desire, ambition, Napoleon is a good book, very easy and pleasant to read, just like a novel. The only thing that annoyed me, so much that I took a star out of the rating was the amount of assumptions she made. I doubt Williams actually knows what Josephine felt at some point in her life. For example, when Napoleon divorced her, Josephine could have felt betrayed that he cast her aside after 13 years of marriage; hurt because she still loved him; enraged because she worked so hard and now she was not able to enjoy the rewards any more; abandoned and feared loneliness; embarrassed by what she could have seen as a failure; frustrated by the whole situation; hopeful that she might make him change his mind… and so on. We just don’t know. It is also irrelevant for a non-fiction history book.

Josephine by Kate Williams

Despite that aspect of the book, it was enjoyable. I learned a lot about her and about Napoleon too. As I usually do, I took everything presented in the book with a pinch of salt. Even so, Josephine managed to achieve a lot, born in the colonies, she was married and had two children. Her first husband abandoned her, before being guillotined at the Revolution, she was imprisoned. She was very skilled at hosting parties and smoothing things for Napoleon.

It is also a sad story, as one can easily imagine. I do recommend it, as it sheds light not only on her life, but on Napoleon’s life, on what women were supposed to go through in the 19th century.

Josephine by Kate Williams

Details about the picture:-
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes, for fun
Published by: Arrow Books
Year it was published: 2014 (first published in 2013)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History
Pages: 357

About the author: Kate studied her BA at Somerville College, Oxford where she was a College Scholar. She then took her MA at Queen Mary, University of London and her DPhil at Oxford, where she received a graduate prize. She also took an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway.
Books by Kate Williams: The Pleasures of Men, England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton, Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen, The Betrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots: Elizabeth I and Her Greatest Rival.
Website & Social Media Links: –

3 thoughts on “Josephine by Kate Williams”

  • Agree with you, the non-fiction biography should not rely on assumptions. I remember reading Sandra Gulland’s trilogy on Josephine, I think the first book appeared over 20 years ago, and rather enjoyed it. I might still have the first novel somewhere in the attic. Josephine’s life is quite extraordinary.

  • I think this one sounds very interesting. I know nothing about Josephine and very little about Napoleon. But as you said… opinion and assumption don’t really belong in a history book. Just facts.
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