Friday, January 8, 2010

HFBRT Creative Post on Josephine and Napoleon + GIVEAWAY!!

In honour of the release of Notorious Royal Marriages, by Leslie Carroll (great book! read my review here)-




Here is a creative post on one of my favourite Royal Couple...(no kidding?)...


Samson and Delilah, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony; you know the saying, beside every great man there is a Fantabulous woman!

Josephine and Napoleon…

Renowned for his reputation as a great conqueror and leader, Napoleon has left his mark in history. Certainly he never was, completely loved by all, but one thing is undeniable- Napoleon did change the course of times. His great conquest plans and triumphs were largely based on his studying the works of Le grand Charlemagne. Napoleon idolized both Charlemagne and Alexander the Great- wanting to immortalize his feats and image to hold his own, in what is unmistakably the world’s greatest company.

Napoleon used to stay up late studying the works of these great heroes, mostly to the wee hours of the morning. Josephine often awoke early and found him already sitting and studying maps and plans, his hair hanging scraggly over his brow. Deep in thought and unwavering in determination, Napoleon was certainly driven, but his thirst for power was not quenched by masterminding alone…

How much of a place did Josephine hold in Bonaparte’s life? What was her role in his grand plan? And for Josephine- why would she settle for the scrawny little Corsican who at the time had nothing but eager ambition to fill his pot?

It would seem that at a time after having lived a life way too full for someone still relatively young, things would change dramatically for Josephine. She had experienced a lifeless marriage, the beheading of a husband, prison, hunger, devastation, deprivation and- the Revolution; all this while trying to survive and mother her young children. After having skimmed the guillotine by a thread, Josephine gradually began to rebuild her life and immerse herself into society while accumulating friends in relatively high places.

History has not always been kind to Josephine, too often depicting her as flimsy with a less than shiny reputation when it came to love and loyalty. But then again, she lived in France in the 18th c, when circumstances begged for her to be seen this way, whether it was true or not; appropriately so, it being a man’s world in every way. There’s not much any woman could have done without risk of soiling her reputation. Josephine, along with other heroines of the past, too often bears the brunt of harsh and crude criticism.

Whatever the circumstances, fate had it that Josephine and Bonaparte (as she always called him) were soon to be joined, then remembered and immortalized in the great hall of destiny. He, a little shy and some years younger- perhaps a little too awkward, but definitely interested, aroused, curious and, yes, romantic--Josephine was much more aloof and conscious of all of his faux-pas. After all what could this newbie in her entourage possibly have to offer her? His manners were odd, and his appearance scarcely led to endearment.

Bonaparte thought her irresistible, experienced, well-bred and a noble. He envisioned his future and advancement with Josephine by his side. She, on the other hand, was not yet convinced and probably found the situation somewhat comical; definitely not serious enough to impact her.

However, this was no joke…Caught in a whirlwind of love, demands, conquests, ascensions, trials and separations, the lovers lived a passion that nearly consumed them. Josephine’s initial resistance to what seemed an absurd situation (or relationship) capitulated into Bonaparte becoming Josephine’s breath of life.

For his part, Bonaparte adored Josephine and thought about her relentlessly, with poems and letters to prove it; his ‘lucky charm’, is what he nicknamed her. Napoleon knew the impact that Josephine had on people, with her kind and gentle ways mixed with a keen sense of business and real touch of class. Combine this with the Conqueror’s incredible strength of mind, grand determination and indestructible self-assuredness –this couple was on fire! With that kind of combination, ascension to rule an Empire was inevitable. Together they were invincible and Napoleon thought he could live forever…continuing his destiny through the fruit of their love…an heir to the throne.

Hmm…Trouble in paradise, where in the royal palace the queen gets banished. Bonaparte clearly had not calculated everything. In a perfect world his Empress would have given birth to his many little Napoleons and the succession would have proceeded, in all’s well that ends well. In this case, we all know how the story ends with both lovers agreeing to part knowing that their love was secondary for the good of their country and its people (a rule that all good royals pledge to abide by).

This was a heart-wrenching situation for both. The remedy to Napoleon’s masterminding a son for heir involved marriage to a new royal wife as the plan. Marie Louise of Austria, try as she may, would never amount in being anything remotely close to Napoleon’s Josephine, and she knew it; everyone did.

Nonetheless, Napoleon begot his heir and he rejoiced…and, so did Josephine. She had, after all, helped make this possible through the acceptance of living without love in order to give her Bonaparte the greatest gift she could; accepting the divorce in order for him to remarry and beget an heir. Their sacrifice had not been in vain. She could give him no greater proof of loyalty or love- her seal.

Josephine could never have imagined loving to this extent- never imagining that the infinite depths of their love would remain just that; infinite. It is written that in their final breath, each one called out the other’s name.

Beside every great man their stands an even greater woman.




Reproduction of Napoleon's Farewell To Josephine (or My Destiny And France Demand It), a painting by Laslett John Pott.

To Enter The Giveaway of Leslie Carroll's:  Notorious Royal Marriages, please leave a comment and your email address!


Good Luck to All!


We're hosting a slew of events this week over at our Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Site- please be sure to check the Calendar of Events to join the fun!




Today,

FRIDAY- JAN. 8TH
Guest Post:       Lizzy
Creative Post:  Lucy (Josephine and Napoleon)
Book Review:  Amy



42 comments:

Leslie Carroll said...

Lucy, that image of Napoleon leaving the room, with Josephine slumped by the chair in utter despair is heartbreaking, and it's an image I conjure in my chapter on them in NOTORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES as well.

You have written an incredible creative post on them, really capturing all the aspects of their relationship. And you make a good point about Marie Louise. She could never live up to the image of Josephine. And yet, Napoleon did fall in love with her, admitting (to Josephine of all people) that he hadn't expected to do so.

What a triangle that must have been -- with Josephine still loving Bonaparte and keeping his rooms at Malmaison, shrinelike, just as he'd left them, and with Napoleon having feelings for both of his wives, yet Marie Louise wanted nothing to do with the "old lady" as she called Josephine.

The more I read about Josephine, the more I admire her.

Robinbird said...

Great post! I am so excited to read this book! Please enter me in the giveaway!

robinbird_79 AT hotmail DOT com

Linda said...

I've been reading such interesting posts about this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Elysium said...

If its international, please count me in!

crimson_haze(at)hotmail(dot)com

Ms. Lucy said...

Leslie, I think that Josephine encompasses something that any woman can relate to...perhaps that's why we tend to admire her. Marie Louise was also loved by Napoleon, of course- but not in the same way. She could never have taken her place. I'm so glad you included this threesome in your book!

Matterhorn said...

Josephine was definitely one brave lady, with a very difficult, often tragic life. Thank you for a very interesting, heartfelt and sympathetic post.

Marie Burton said...

Grest post Lucy.. I understand why you are so enchanted by Josephine!!

elena maria vidal said...

I have long admired Josephine. I love the picture; it breaks my heart. I would also love to read Leslie's book!!

Muse in the Fog said...

What a beautiful picture, so emotional! Love the post, the books sounds great.

muse_in_the_fog@hotmail.com

Pricilla said...

Women in history often have suffered in the telling. A fascinating and personal take on a tragic love story.
please enter me
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Susie Tudor Daughter said...

Lucy~I loved this post! You actually made me tear reading the part about Josephine's sacrifice for the Heir. The picture just says it all. Thanks!

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Rachel said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

Arleigh said...

It's only fitting that you would choose this couple to write about, Lucy! This is a wonderfully written article on Josephine, who, as you say, is maligned by most authors.

dolleygurl said...

I love that image of Napoleon leaving - it seems so right. It just goes to show what kind of woman she was to step aside for the greater good, even though she was still in love with him. I can absolutely see why you really like her Lucy!

Martha Lawson said...

This book sounds great!! I can't wait to read it. Please count me infor the giveaway..

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

xo.sorcha.ox said...

If it's open internationally, I'd really like to take part in the giveaway. This books sounds so interesting and I have it on my "must get" list for 2010. :)
~S.

lizzy J said...

OMG I loved the post that was really to the point. I have never seen the painting before and it is breath taking. Loved it Lucy.

inthehammockblog said...

Great post! Wow, I never knew all of these details! What a love story!! Thanks so much for hosting the contest.

inthehammock (at) gmail (dot) com

My Eclectic Reads said...

What a delightful post. Thank you for your thoughts on this fascinating couple. It shows such a different side of Napoleon than what I usually think of. Loved it!

Oregon Kimm
oregonkimm(at)gmail(dot)com

xxsquigglesxx said...

Please enter me!

squiggles87(at)Aol(dot)com

abrokenlaptop said...

What a fantastic and heartbreaking post. Truly lovely and tragic.

mercedesyardley AT gmail DOT com.

Holly said...

That painting is gorgeous! If I were in Josephine's shoes I wouldn't have been able to step aside and make way for another woman. I guess she really took to heart the "if you love something (or someone) enough you have to let it go" bit. Great post! Would love to win this book :)

HPelkey1982@yahoo.com

Marg said...

Napoleon and Josephine are a couple that I wouldn't have imagined being fascinated by a few years ago, but Sandra Gulland changed that for me!

Don't worry about entering me into the draw. I am not eligible.

Renee G said...

A wonderful post. I'd love to read more about Josephine.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(Dot)com

Gwendolyn B. said...

I don't know nearly enough about Josephine and Napoleon. Thanks for such a tremendously interesting post - Now I really want to learn more! Thanks, too, for hosting Ms. Carroll. I've enjoyed her posts and am looking forward to reading her book -- one way or another!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

thetruebookaddict said...

Ah, Lucy! What a beautiful post! I have always felt that their story was tragic...they seemed to have a very true love. I guess when it comes down to it, true love is about sacrifice and I they really proved their love to each other by giving up what they wanted most for the good of others. But still, very tragic =O(

Bombtastic Belle said...

I wrote this book down on my "Must read" list, count me in :)
eod_army_wife04(at)yahoo(dot)com

Christina said...

This looks like a magnificent book! I would love the chance to own it.

eyeshadow@comcast.net

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

What a riveting story that I never knew! Thank you for sharing it, Lucy.

Thanks also to Elena of Tea at Trianon for linking to this post! =)

amanda18228 said...

I would love to win this book!
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Esme said...

Thank you for this giveaway-I would love to read this book.

chocolate and croissants at yahoo dot com

Bella said...

I have been enjoying these postings of Royal Marriages/couples, thanks for all the extraordinary information. Please enter me in the giveaway.

nunezbella at hotmail dot com

Roberta said...

Fun, fun, Lucy...please count me in, thanks, Roberta rlphilbr13@aol.com

mannequin said...

Oh what a nice post! Thank you:)
I would so love to win, thanks for the chance.

Benita said...

Oh, my. What a compelling story. I'd love to read this book. Thanks for the possibility.


bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carol W. said...

This book sounds like a must-read for lovers of royal historical fiction. Please enter me in your giveaway.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

enyl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
enyl said...

This would be an invalueable resource in my classroom library.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

Mystica said...

Thanks for a lovely post Lucy. Please count me in


mystica123athotmaildotcom

Madonna said...

I love your site and all these incredible historical books you have listed. I love books and would love to win this one.

Rococo en Fleurs said...

What a wonderful post! I also have this book on my must read list for 2010!

rococofleurs[at]gmail[dot]com