Josephine Bonaparte is living on borrowed time in the beautiful garden she has created at Malmaison. Her failed attempts to produce an heir for Emperor Napoleon are about to have her booted out of her self-styled paradise as he openly pursues his affairs with a string of fertile and eligible young women.
The lives of two other women are bound up with Josephine’s precarious existence. There is gardener’s wife, Anne Serreaux, who is only too aware that the security of her family depends on the survival of Josephine’s teetering marriage. Then there is botanist’s wife, Marthe Desfriches, contemptuous of tyrant Napoleon and with a score to settle of her own.
I was captivated by the stories of these three women, and of the shifting balance their relationship took between rivalry and solidarity. Despite being so different from each other, they are united as women who are at the mercy of their husband’s choices and the place that their society has designated them.
Stephanie Parkyn has written about an exciting time in history, with sensuous descriptions of decadent Post-Revolutionary France and an ambitious garden populated by flora and fauna from around the world. The descriptions of Australian plants and animals as seen through the eyes of Europeans encountering them for the first time are particularly delightful.
Like Manderlay, Camelot and Shangri-La, Malmaison is born of a beautiful dream. Josephine’s efforts at creating a private utopia are reminiscent of her tragic predecessor, Marie Antoinette, who created a rustic retreat for herself and her inner circle, away from the formality of the Palace of Versailles.
It’s as though both women are trying to escape from the devastation of their own people, which by association, they are somewhat complicit in. But turning a blind eye, both women retreat into their gardens and try to create a world apart from the horrific realities all around them.
And we all know how that ends.
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Josephine's Garden Kindle Edition
|Length: 382 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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'Stephanie Parkyn is one very talented storyteller.' -- Mrs B’s Book Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Stephanie Parkyn's first novel, Into the World, was published to wide acclaim in 2017. Stephanie always wanted to write fiction, growing up in a book-loving family in Christchurch, New Zealand. She had a rewarding career as an environmental scientist, but is now living her dream of writing stories and travelling to find them. She is fascinated by the human motivations behind the events of history and is particularly drawn to illuminating women's stories. After enjoying ten years living and exploring in Australia, she now writes from her home in a bush-clad valley in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Josephine's Garden is her second novel. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07X1MH8GB
- Publisher : Allen & Unwin (3 December 2019)
- Language : English
- File size : 1634 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 382 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 161,685 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
4.3 out of 5
11 global ratings