#41 - The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland
This is the 3rd, and final, book in Sandra Gulland's trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte. This book outlines Josephine's life from 1799 to her death at 50 in 1814.
This was by far the most emotional of the 3 books in the series. Josephine has been unable to have a child. Napoleon has been named ruler of France for life and must have an heir. As we all know from history, Napoleon divorced Josephine for that reason and married an austrian aristocrat. Josephine was only Empress of France for 5 years, before she lost her crown, her husband, and her social standing when Napoleon divorced her.
In 1812, Napoleon visits Josephine to tell her that he is once again going into battle. They say goodbye. Josephine never saw Napoleon again during her life. She died of a throat infection and respitory problems in 1814, soon after Napoleon's exile to Elba.
Before I read this series, I knew the story of Napoleon and Josephine from studying history, but I never looked at events from her perspective. It must have been heart wrenching for her to give up the husband that she loved so that he could have an heir. Josephine was even involved in the process of choosing who he would marry.
She was definitely a strong woman. While reading about her months in prison during the French Revolution, the horrible fertility treatments she endured, and the constant stress of Napoleon's affairs and the Bonaparte family's plotting against her....I definitely realized that the problems I face in life are quite trivial compared to what Josephine endured during her lifetime. I hope that I face my challenges half so well as she did.
This is a great series of books. I highly recommend them. I enjoyed this series so much I read all 3 books in just 4 days. It was hard to put them down!
50 Book Challenge 2007: 21/50