BOOK CLUB: Josephine’s Garden

Author: Stephanie Parkyn
Publisher:Allen & Unwin

I love Historical Romance and if that’s your thing also, then Josephine’s Garden is one to add to your reading list. We first meet Josephine on the day she’s to face the guillotine, by sheer luck she is released before her beheading. This was before she had met Napoleon Bonaparte and she was known as Rose. 

This was something I was not aware of.  It’s one of the things I love about this type of book where the author has spent many painstaking hours researching their subject, and we get to read a wonderful story and be educated at the same time.  Through this book I was to learn not only about Josephine’s relationship with Napoleon, but also about her strong love for plants, and her desire to create the most amazing garden.  I saw what an amazing woman she was and how in those days life was very much a struggle for a female, how your fate very much hung in the balance.

It had a lot to do with your husband and whether he decided to remain married to you or move on to another.  Woman were judged very much not on their own merits but on their husbands’.  Josephine battled hard to make sure that she and her two children would be protected and have a good life.  She stood with dignity while all around her knocked her.  She dealt extremely well with Napoleon’s families hatred for her.  Josephine had a lovely connection with Australia which was a delight to discover and learn about.

Not only was I educated about Josephine but also about her connection to two other women, Anne and Marthe.  The book teaches us about these women as well, and we get a little of their stories too.

I loved looking up the locations on google maps especially the home of Josephine, Malmaison and the Jardin des Plantes.  I would have loved to be able to jump on a plane and visit these locations, but I have locked them in my mind as locations to visit if ever I am lucky enough to visit Paris.

This book is a wonderful Summer read that I delighted in reading.  I read it over the Christmas and New Years break, which of course was very busy.  I hated having to put the book down and would spend my time worrying and thinking about Josephine until I could get back to her and find out more.  I love Stephanie Parkyn’s writing and would love to read more of her works.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading this book. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.

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