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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland (Josephine & Napoleon)

The Last Great Dance on Earth (Josephine Bonaparte, #3)

Am back in Colombo and hopefully able to post the pictures! I felt something was missing from my previous two posts when the covers did not turn up!

The story of Josephine told intimately from her angle though Napoleon is hovering over it all is this book. For Josephine despite Napoleon being a serial adulterer he was the love of her life, and however bitter it was to have to see so many women parade in front of her she was willing to overlook it all, as long as he came back to her. Her tragedy was that because of her inability to bear Napoleon a child, his entire family took this as their trump card using it against Josephine repeatedly to score by trying to get him to divorce her (which he eventually did). 

Josephine faced odds on several sides - the constant war with England took Napoleon away from her and though she did accompany him on the Continent several times there were long absences away from home. His Corsican family detested her, only because they saw her as their obstacle to getting all the plums of office which they felt were their due as siblings of Napoleon. A more greedy and grabbing bunch of sisters and brothers could not be found. Josephine tried to be diplomatic with them all but she was severely tested because Napoleon favoured her daughter and son from her first marriage and this was unacceptable to the Napoleon clan.

Through Josephine's eyes we see her betrayal by Napoleon leading to the final exile in Elba. Throughout Josephine loved him and in a strange way Napoleon also loved his wife. He was however always focussed on what was to come after him and this was his weakness which was exploited by all. 

This book is the final in a trilogy and it is the only one I read. Sad but true history.

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