INVITE THE AUTHOR
As an avid reader and member of my own book club, I share your interest in discussing books! If you’d like to invite me to virtually visit your club, I’d love to connect. To set up an appointment via Skype, please use the contact form. Thank you for reading!
- Josephine had something of an addiction, some would say. What was this addiction? How did this addiction affect her lifestyle? Her family?
- Women led much of the picketing and violence during the French Revolution. Why do you think that is? What did women stand to gain?
- Why did the fashions change so rapidly during the decade after the burning of the Bastille? What did these changes say about the times?
- What are some similarities between Napoleon and Josephine’s backgrounds? In other words, how would they connect in terms of compatibility and understanding one another?
- In your opinion, could Napoleon have been as successful a ruler as he was without his “lucky star” by his side? Why or why not?
- What parallels might one draw between Marie-Antoinette and Josephine?
- Can you think of three ways Josephine grew and changed, either positively or negatively, by the end of the novel?
- Did Josephine’s better character qualities outweigh those that were negative? How so?
- Compare the art world through the eyes of a woman during the Belle Époque to those of a man. How did the values during this time shape those perceptions?
- How might a sculptor’s daily routines differ from those of a painter or other artists?
- Camille had difficulty in her relationships with women. Why do you think that is?
- Paul, beloved brother and later famed playwright and diplomat, adored his sister in spite of her volatile temper and demanding ways. Yet their relationship took a turn for the worst. What factors prompted this turn?
- Do you believe Auguste really loved Camille? Why or why not?
- Relationships between lovers are complex. Did you find Rodin’s infidelity justified?
- The lines between obsession and madness can often blur as demonstrated by several of the characters in the book. Discuss the variety of ways the author portrays this concept in the story.
- Scandal, or “no press is bad press”, is a modern philosophy, yet it seemed to follow both of the lovers. Do you think the negative attention helped Camille gain exposure or hindered her admittance into the art circles as a bonafide talent?
- With the onset of Camille’s mental illness, she became more isolated, more paranoid, and, consequently her work suffered. Given our advances in medicine and neuro-science today, do you think she would have been able to continue to pursue her art in today’s world despite her illness?
- Which piece of either Camille’s or Auguste’s do you most admire? (View a small selection of their sculptures here.)
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