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Extended Audio Sample Josephine: A Life of the Empress Audiobook, by Carolly Erickson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (294 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Carolly Erickson Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2005 ISBN: 9781455176250
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When, in 1804, Josephine Bonaparte knelt before her husband Napoleon to receive the imperial diadem, few in the vast crowd of onlookers were aware of the dark secrets hidden behind the imperial façade. To her subjects, she appeared to be the most favored woman in France: alluring, wealthy, and with the devoted love of a remarkable husband who was the conqueror of Europe. In actuality, Josephine’s life was far darker: her celebrated allure was fading, her wealth was compromised by massive debt, and her marriage was corroded by infidelity and abuse.

Josephine’s life story was as turbulent as the age—an era of revolution and social upheaval, frenzied hedonism and the guillotine. With telling psychological depth and compelling literary grace, Carolly Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever-resilient Josephine to life, carrying us along every twist and turn of the empress often thorny path, from the sensual richness of her childhood in the tropics to her final lonely days at Malmaison.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An intimate, richly detailed, and candid portrait.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Carolly Erickson tells [this story] with all the flair it deserves...Exquisite writing.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “The focus is always on Josephine, whose psychology is discussed at length. Erickson succeeds in making her subject an attractive figure, if hardly an exemplar of moral rectitude.”

    Amazon.com editorial review

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/31/2014

    " An intersting biography of Empress Josephine, Napoleon's consort, that focuses on her personal life rather than on French history. Lush descriptions of her wardrobe, entertainments, homes, food and parties, and Josephine's continuing promiscuity even after their marriage make this an entertaining popular biography rather than a work of scholarly research. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marco | 1/28/2014

    " I cried... not kidding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/26/2014

    " Very good biography; not too heavy, but enough detail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie Seffker Cope | 1/18/2014

    " Great. Love the historical context, well written, organized. Just great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 1/13/2014

    " Just got to say that I couldn't have been married to Napoleon Bonaparte "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 1/2/2014

    " I read this after returning from Paris in September. I wanted to learn more about Napolean's wife -- knowing what a "colorful" character he was. I enjoyed the way the author told her story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ericubear72 | 12/13/2013

    " Really enjoyed this piece. Erickson has the gift of writing about the subject in such a way that it not only tells the story accurately but very dramatically. Looking forward to more form her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 12/2/2013

    " Erickson give a lot of information but uses story form which is fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kecia | 11/28/2013

    " Fascinating story! If someone was to write Rose's life as fiction, no one would find it the least bit believable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 11/25/2013

    " Interesting, well written. I personally had trouble empathizing with Josephine but that wasn't because the book was well written. A good overview of her life and a good read for anyone curious about Josephine Bonaparte. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 9/21/2013

    " I retain so much more of history lessons when the writer makes an effort to turn it into a narrative. Erickson did a great job with this, and exposes Josephine's low birth and Napoleon's obsession with dynasty. Entertaining and informative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsey | 8/12/2013

    " Pretty interesting. Well put together for someone with no previous knowledge of her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabrina | 4/26/2013

    " I was pleasantly surprised by this biography, which shows the dark world in which Empress Josephine found herself having to navigate, and illuminates the 17th/18th century European use of arranged marriage to promote family wealth and social position. Well written and engaging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nadine | 12/29/2012

    " I think the author assumes too much. Her historical research here is questionable, but the book was readable nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eddy Allen | 7/27/2012

    " Alluring, wealthy, and married to the conqueror of Europe, Josephine appeared in 1804 as the most favored woman in France; but her actual life was far darker. Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever resilient Josephine to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russamun82 | 7/14/2012

    " Almost a fantastic Fiction is the Life of Josephine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 6/21/2012

    " Just to follow up on the historical fiction I read a biography on Josephine also...another good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 5/31/2012

    " Josephine was not the person I expected. She was a quiet, modest person placed in extraordinary circumstances, and she evolved to be someone else. She was a survivor--but she gave up a lot of herself in the process. An interesting and thought provoking read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C.M. Mayo | 5/28/2012

    " Masterfully researched; vivid as a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melodi | 5/17/2012

    " I don't think her life was the most interesting, but I enjoyed reading about the time period and learn more about the history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monna | 1/17/2012

    " A very enjoyable bio of a complex and remarkable woman in her own right. I learned a lot about 18th/19th century life in France. Listened to the audiobook. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jostalady | 12/6/2011

    " Amusing, light read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 12/1/2011

    " So I haven't really finished this...not sure if I will. Not my kind of story...very well written though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 3/4/2011

    " Just got to say that I couldn't have been married to Napoleon Bonaparte "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C.M. | 3/1/2011

    " Masterfully researched; vivid as a novel.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 12/28/2010

    " I read this after returning from Paris in September. I wanted to learn more about Napolean's wife -- knowing what a "colorful" character he was. I enjoyed the way the author told her story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/12/2009

    " Very good biography; not too heavy, but enough detail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 3/23/2009

    " Just to follow up on the historical fiction I read a biography on Josephine also...another good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ericubear72 | 11/4/2008

    " Really enjoyed this piece. Erickson has the gift of writing about the subject in such a way that it not only tells the story accurately but very dramatically. Looking forward to more form her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Kate | 7/8/2008

    " I'm reading this again--I read it in high school. An interesting biography of the much-maligned Empress Josephine, Napoleon's first wife. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsey | 6/26/2008

    " Pretty interesting. Well put together for someone with no previous knowledge of her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 4/18/2008

    " Erickson give a lot of information but uses story form which is fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melodi | 3/29/2008

    " I don't think her life was the most interesting, but I enjoyed reading about the time period and learn more about the history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 3/12/2008

    " So I haven't really finished this...not sure if I will. Not my kind of story...very well written though. "

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About the Author
Author Carolly Erickson

Carolly Erickson is the bestselling author of many distinguished works of nonfiction and a series of historical entertainments, blending fact and invention. Her historical biographies include The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Her Little Majesty, and Alexandra. She lives in Hawaii.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.