This post is by Amanda, the other half of the sisters posting at Gun in Act One. The Garden Intrigue, more than any of the Pink books thus far, gives us a look at Napoleon as a man with a family. Yes- his family members are clearly political currency for him, but that doesn’t seem to always have been the case. It seems to me that Napoleon and Josephine are depicted as an epic love story – but it’s one that I don’t know much about. Who was Hortense? Pauline? Caroline? All these women around this little man are making me curious so I did a bit of digging and this is what I’ve learned so far.
Emma reminisces on the pre-Imperial days about a time when Josephine was taking lovers and still being courted by Napoleon. Who was this woman that was so admired? On my TBR for a while has been Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon. How did Josephine survive the Terror? Did she want to be Empress? Who was Hortense’s father? How did Josephine marry her only daughter off as a political tool? Hortense was beautiful! Can’t you just see her as a young lady gossiping with Emma and Jane?
Lauren’s bibliography suggests Daughter to Napoleon by Constance Wright as well as Hortense’s own published memoirs. I didn’t know our Hortense went on to become Queen of Holland and I’m now fascinated! Wright’s book includes portions of Hortense’s memoirs as well so I think I will add it to my lengthy TBR.
Napoleon’s sisters sound no where near as pleasant as Josephine and her daughter. Were they really so catty and nasty I wonder? Or is this a great plot device by our Lauren? The Garden Intrigue bibliography includes Napoleon: His Wives and Women which sounds like it fits what I’m looking for. Perhaps the Bonaparte sisters were simply as ambitious and determined as their brother, but as so often happens in history their attempts to take what power they could have them disparaged in memory. It would be interesting to see how they’re remembered by contemporaries like Hortense in her own words.
Are there any great books that I’m missing? Perhaps more historical fiction featuring Napoleon and his women? Which of the real people mentioned in the Pink series would you like to read more about?