History provides a abundant backdrop for a wealth of historical fiction with the Empress Josephine, beloved of Napoleon Bonaparte, with her colourful life and lasting legacy providing rich ground for writers such as Stephanie Parkyn to weave fact with fiction, to create a story which if only history could talk, is perhaps, not so far from reality.
Set in the heady aftermath of the French Revolution, when hopes where held high for a better and far more equal life for all Frenchmen and women, the stunningly beautiful Rose de Beauharnais discovers the life she once led, before her imprisonment the Bastille, has gone completely.
She faces the time old problem of how to survive in a much-changed world, eventually making the most of her attributes, to become one of era’s most scandalous socialites. Bonaparte is a young man, obsessed with his rise to the top of the political scene, ruthless, unscrupulous and obsessive in his drive and ambition. Both fall desperately in love, recognising a kindred soul in each other.
Rising to the position of Empress, Josephine and Bonaparte’s love boarders on the obsessive, both driven, both wanting the lot from life and both prepared to go to great lengths to get what they want.
Eventually Josephine’s failure to give Bonaparte a child sees her being replaced by a series of lovers, divorced by Napoleon but allowed to keep her beloved Chateau de Malmaison, where over the years, she created not only a magnificent home but ‘gathered around (her) the rarest plants growing on French soil…’ as well as a menagerie of what were then considered as exotic animals.
As Josephine rises to scandalous fame and then falls into almost peaceful obscurity, she befriends Marthe Desfriches and Anne Serreaux. Josephine’s Garden is the story of these three very different women from three different levels of society and how a common, almost a dangerous thread, binding them together.
Lovers of historical fiction will find Josephine’s Garden spellbinding, rich and an immensely enjoyable blend of fact and fiction, which is very easily able to be related to, as these three courageous women face the same struggles in their obsession and desire to become mothers.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|