Friday, December 27, 2013

An Amazing Debut: Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

By Kim

Synopsis of Becoming Josephine (from the book jacket):

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose survives and secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century—Napoleon Bonaparte.

Becoming Josephine is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

About Heather Webb:

As a former military brat and traveling addict, it was tricky choosing a landing pad. At last, I settled in a rural town in New England. For a decade I put my degrees in French and Cultural Geography to good use teaching and coaching high school students.

Currently, I am a novelist and work as a freelance editor (For rates, check my editing page.) You may find me lurking at the popular RomanceUniversity.org where I contribute to their blog with editing advice, and at the award-winning site, WriterUnboxed.com, where I pose as Twitter Mistress (@WriterUnboxed). I also kick around a local college teaching classes called “Write to Publish” and “Crafting Your Novel”.

When I’m cross-eyed from too much screen time, I flex my foodie skills or geek out on history and pop culture.

Review:

I’ve had a morbid fascination with the French Revolution since I read The Scarlet Pimpernel as a teenager. As you can see by this photo taken at Madame Tussauds in London, back when I was all of fourteen, my interest extended to Napoleon as well. I had been itching to get my hands on a copy of Becoming Josephine from the moment I heard about it and was thrilled when Heather Webb sent me an ARC.

Sometimes when I’m familiar with the subject matter of a novel already, it disappoints. This one amazed! I’d only known “Josephine” as half of a famous couple before, but Webb introduced me to Rose Tascher, who was a force to be reckoned with. Napoleon did not make an appearance until about page 175, and I didn't miss him. Not a bit. He’s not even named when he’s first introduced, and the description of him made me sputter my mocha latte all over myself at Starbucks. I was tempted to read that part aloud to those who stared at me for laughing.

Webb resisted the urge to turn the novel into NAPOLEONandJospehine from there, and I’m glad. He was there enough to make me love him, despite that he could be a smarmy little tyrant, but the story remained Rose’s.

And what a story it was…a sensual feast that begins in Martinique and catapults through thirty years of her life. Readers won’t just see Paris during the French Revolution. They’ll hear it, taste it, and smell it, too. (The latter is not always pleasant, especially during the scenes in Les Carmes. It’s a wonder anyone survived that.)

If you are a historical fiction fan, you must read this book. Set aside a weekend because you won’t want to put it down. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of the book mentioned above gratis in the hope that I would mention it on this blog. Regardless, I only recommend books I've read and believe will appeal to our readers. In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” I am making this statement.

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Heather. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Definitely on my tbr list for this year!

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  3. Replies
    1. It's fantastic! Thanks for stopping by, Amy!

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  4. Excellent review, Kim. Already added to my tbr list.

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