Rose originally from the island of Martinique always wanted to escape the backwaters of her native background and be the cynosure of all eyes in Paris. For her marriage was the escape clause that opened up new vistas for her and she was determined to hold on to it at any cost. Despite a marriage to a man who was condescendingly patronizing to her - a country bumpkin - she saw that this was just a first step on her upward journey but she herself never imagined what a journey it would be.
Married to Alexandre and with two children Rose finds herself still on the fringe of society with a philandering husband. When she is widowed in the tumult of revolutionary France, she realizes a protector not just temporarily but permanent is a must if she is to maintain a position in French society. Having caught the eye of Napoleon then a mere general the story of his love for Rose whom he rechristens Josephine and her liking for him which developed into a passion for the general is the basis of the story.
Set amongst the war in France between the Royalty and the Republicans and the establishment of the Republique and the ouster of the King and Queen of France, we see the ultimate rise of Napoleon to the position of Emperor. A position of irony as he deposed an existing King to become Emperor. With Josephine at his side, Napoleon though professing love for her which was undying was nevertheless besotted with mistresses galore and finally divorced Josephine as she did not have any children from him, and as Emperor he needed an heir. The fact that Josephine had two children from her previous marriage still made her the one at fault in this instance.
The rags to riches story is one that is magically told, holding one's interest throughout. For lovers of historical fiction this is a good one.