Rose Thatcher is whom she was born. The details of Rose/Josephine's life are richly drawn and despite the slow start, pull you into her world. Rose acquaintance with the Lt. Scipion du Roure began when she was 15. Unfortunately, she is married off to her cousin, Alexandre Beauharnais, her Aunt Edmee's son so their relationship is a platonic love. After bearing him two children, Alexandre dies while Rose narrowly escapes the guillotine. During her marriage to Alexandre he kept dalliances with other women and while sunning herself one day, she sees but doesn't meet Napoleon. Rose becomes his mistress then his wife. It is then that Napoleon changed her name to the more French sounding Josephine.
One note that readers should be made aware of is The Secret Life of Josephine - Napoleon's Bird of Paradise is dubbed as "Historical Entertainment" not a historical novel. So this book is not totally accurate in some cases.
This novel reads more as a "historical" tell-all, which made it an entertaining, fun read which was able to hold and maintain my interest. The only real problem I had with The Secret Life of Josephine - Napoleon's Bird of Paradise by Carolly Erickson was the opening chapters didn't grab me as I had expected.
Josephine is a very real, easy to like, fascinating character whose emotions and courage shine through which made me want to know more about her, her life and how she fared in her adventures. The Secret Life of Josephine - Napoleon's Bird of Paradise is a good mix of passion, history, fun and a different insight on the lives of historical figures we've all read or heard about before.