Bringing History to Life: Heather Webb’s BECOMING JOSEPHINE

Becoming Josephine CoverThis week we get to have some fun the Debutante Ball way—tomorrow is the release of the first 2014 Debutante Ball novel, Heather Webb’s BECOMING JOSEPHINE. She’ll be here later in the week to talk about her own book and, drumroll, what you’ve been hoping for, a giveaway.

But first, we get to brag on her.

I really like historical fiction. Talking recently to Heather (on email—none of us have met in person yet!) about Becoming Josephine, I was reminded of the single piece of historical fiction I’d ever attempted to write myself. The story is only 3,000 words, and yet the research nearly killed me dead.

In fact, the historical facts wouldn’t shape themselves into anything I cared about, until I learned about the dog.

(You can read the story here if you want to know what that means.)

In short, what happened when I learned about the dog is that I found a way into historical fact. I found the story I could tell, and feel.

If there had been no dog, I don’t know that I could have finished that story. Finished it in a way I was proud of, at least.

Pug_Dog2In Becoming Josephine, there is also a dog brought forward from history. Fortuné is a bit comic relief, a bit hero, a bit tragic (as most dogs are, when they show up in novels). He’s a well-rounded character, just like the humans Heather gave attention. And he’s real—Heather assures me that Fortuné’s heroics are true to history, part of her tireless research to make Josephine and all those who populated her world come to life.

(Don’t worry. It’s not a dog book. Though if you like those, I have recommendations.) Becoming Josephine is alive with detail on fashion, politics, war, love, betrayal—all the parts of daily living that made up a time we now think of musty history. Read this book; it won’t feel like history, and it’s certainly not musty. Instead, Becoming Josephine is sad and frightening and sexy and true, a pleasurable romp through thirty years of life, love, and death with a tragic, then triumphant woman as your guide. If you’re a history buff, you’ll find the facts brought to life. If you’re a victim of the American educational system like me, you’ll want to hit the wikis afterward, just to keep hanging out in the City of Light.

I’m so excited for the rest of you to have a chance to read Becoming Josephine…tomorrow!

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Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery THE BLACK HOUR (Seventh Street Books, July 2014). She grew up in central Indiana, but now lives in Chicago with her husband and very spoiled dog.

4 thoughts on “Bringing History to Life: Heather Webb’s BECOMING JOSEPHINE

  1. Thank you so much, Lori. I’m glad you liked little Fortuné. He was a hero, wasn’t he? Lol. And you said one of my very favorite and most hoped-for things: you wanted to keep reading on. Hooray! Mission accomplished. :)

  2. Great post – and I loved the dog in the story too :)

    In fact, I loved the entire book, and even though the book is only releasing this week, I’m already looking forward to reading Heather’s next one too!

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