By Kate Williams
From CNN’s professional royal historian, a hugely praised younger writer with a doctorate from Oxford college, comes the extreme rags-to-riches tale of the girl who conquered Napoleon’s heart—and with it, an empire.
Their love used to be mythical, their ambition flagrant and unashamed. Napoleon Bonaparte and his spouse, Josephine, got here to energy in the course of probably the most turbulent classes within the heritage of France. the tale of the Corsican soldier’s wonderful upward push has been good documented. Now, during this spellbinding, luminous account, Kate Williams attracts again the curtain at the girl who beguiled him: her humble origins, her exorbitant appetites, and the tragic flip of occasions that resulted in her undoing.
Born Marie-Josèphe-Rose de Tascher de los angeles Pagerie at the Caribbean island of Martinique, the girl Napoleon might later name Josephine used to be the final word survivor. She continued a loveless marriage to a French aristocrat—executed through the Reign of Terror—then slightly escaped the guillotine blade herself. Her near-death event purely fueled Josephine’s ambition and heightened her decision to discover a guy who may perhaps finance and maintain her. notwithstanding no vintage good looks, she fast built a name as some of the most fascinating girls at the continent.
In 1795, she met Napoleon. The charm was once mutual, fast, and extreme. Theirs used to be an often-tumultuous union, roiled by way of their pursuit of different enthusiasts yet intensely thinking about energy and luck. Josephine used to be Napoleon’s ideal consort and the thing of nationwide fascination. jointly they conquered Europe. Their extravagance was once exceptional, even by way of the criteria of Versailles. yet she couldn't produce an inheritor. Sexual obsession introduced them jointly, yet chilly organic fact tore them apart.
Gripping in its immediacy, eye-catching in its element, Ambition and Desire is a real story of wish, heartbreak, and progressive turmoil, engagingly written via one in every of England’s such a lot praised younger historians. Kate Williams’s searing portrait of this captivating and intricate girl will ultimately increase Josephine Bonaparte to the historic prominence she deserves.
Praise for Ambition and Desire
“Not only a scholarly paintings, yet a page-turner . . . Williams isn't any stranger to making works on robust and influential girls, and, as in these works, the following she does an admirable activity of demystifying Josephine. . . . This engrossing and obtainable account is for all readers who get pleasure from old biography.”—Library Journal
“[A] riveting account . . . Williams completely illustrates all that used to be weird and wonderful and maddening approximately French lifestyles through the reign of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte.”—Publishers Weekly
“Intelligent and entertaining.”—Kirkus Reviews
“An in-depth portrait of the substantial girl in the back of the throne.”—Booklist
“Reading [Ambition and Desire] is like gazing Silk Stockings, the 1957 Hollywood masterpiece with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. The publication flows and jumps, taking the reader through the hand via tormented instances in French historical past with out ever letting you pass or wasting itself within the intricacies of French politics.”—The Times
“A gleaming account of this such a lot fallible and endearing of women.”—Daily Mail
“A whirlwind journey of French history.”—The Telegraph