Feedback from readers


I often get letters from readers of the Josephine B. Trilogy. Each one touches me greatly. Here are a few. (Quotes from blogs are also included). To see my latest newsletter, click here.

A five star review from a GoodReads reader.

This reader created a meal from the Josephine B. Trilogy.

From a blog:
“One warning: These books are addicting and your children may suffer from neglect for a couple of days while you read. Be sure to check out a lot of Disney movies along with the book at the library.”

From an email:
“I just finished your trilogy today and could not put the last book down until it was done. My entire day at work, as a bank teller, was completely CONSUMED with Josephine. I cried all day long. I’m sure people were wondering why.”

From The Keepin’ It Real Book Club blog:
“With a history degree and two English degrees under my belt, it’s safe to say I’m a big fan of historical fiction. It’s also safe to say that the best histfic I’ve ever read is Sandra Gulland’s Josephine trilogy (The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.; Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe; The Last Great Dance on Earth).”

From The Daily Read, the
Emmet O’Neal Library blog:
In this first of three books inspired by the life of Josephine Bonaparte, Sandra Gulland has created a novel of immense and magical proportions.” **highly recommended**

From a New York Public Library blog about Josephine (who is compared to the Jackie O of her day):
An enchanting fictional account of her life was written by Sandra Gulland, and gives a vivid portrait of her joys and woes.”

From an email:
“I have never emailed an author before, but I just have to thank you for writing the Josephine series. I am half-way through the third book and I’m afraid to finish…I will feel like I’ve lost a great friend. I can’t begin to tell you how fasinating your books are and the diary form really brings an intimate feel to the story and characters. I’m sure your research takes a great deal of time but I’m hoping that you will continue to bring other incredibly interesting people back to life.”

From an email:
“I read your Josephine books when they came out, and found them exquisite. I just wanted to tell you that you are by far my favorite author. You made the mystery of Josephine come alive for me.”

From an email:
“hello there! just want to say bravo on the Josephine Trilogy. it has gotten me back into reading after a 10yr break! i have 3 children under 10 so it is not easy to find time to read, but when i do i am immediately there…there Napoleon and Josephine. i love, love love it and have bought the books and loaned them to many friends and family members.”

From a member of a book club:
“I have already heard from many of the women who have said they couldn’t put the book down – I’m SO not surprised! I basically touted it as the historical novel for people who don’t generally like ‘historical novels’ – It’s sort of a sure thing!”


From an email:
“Your book is so good! I read it by mistake at a friends house and was over-whelmed! I’m eleven. some people would say I’m too young to read something as…I can’t…well I was hoping I’d be able to get all of your books, (without my mother or family knowing (I’m secretive!) note: I threw all my books down and picked yours up.”

From a blog:
“I adore The Josephine Bonaparte Collection by Sandra Gulland. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. is the first of three books written in a journal/letter set up. Some how Gulland is able to almost immediately create a a bond (esp. for me) between reader and characters. This book is filled with vivid imagining of the time of the Revolution in France and Josephine’s life prior to her life with Napolean. Gulland’s research and attention to historical facts are artfully blended with fictional interpretation.”

From an email:
“I just finished your Josephine trilogy, and I found it absolutely fascinating. As I read your novels, I grew to love Josephine more and more. Your ability to make the past come alive and to assign new motives, emotions, and reasoning to people whom history has already judged is an astonishing gift. Thank you for the gift of your novels. I recommend them often and look forward to reading all you write in the future.”

From an email:
“I am totally blown away by your magnificent Trilogy on Josephine. I can’t put it down. The research involved is unbelievable. My heartfelt thanks for this wonderful gift.”

From an email:
“I have just read The Many Lives & Secrets Sorrows of Josephine B. and Tales of Sorrow, Tales of Woe. I loved them so much! I read them both in under a week. I’m now reading The Last Great Dance on Earth. It breaks my heart that I’ll be done with this trilogy, but I see you have other books so that brings sunshine to my soul! Thank you for being wonderful!”

From an email:
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your brilliant trilogy. When a member of our reading group suggested the The Many Lives. we were hesitant about just reading the first book of a trilogy. But all of us agreed it was wonderful and most of us went on to immediately buy the other two. I just finished the third one 10 minutes ago and had to write to you to express my thanks. I am not a history buff and don’t usually even read historical fiction but I could not put your work down. The diary entry format was brilliant and intimate and much more memorable than a straight prose account would have been.”

From a blog:
“I just finished Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe by Sandra Gulland. It’s the 2nd of a trilogy about the wife of Napoleon. They’re wonderful books. I’ll be checking the 3rd one out tomorrow. Then, I’ll be finished. That makes me sad!”

From Belle, Interrupted, a blog:
“HUGE news, though: Sandra Gulland has a new book, and I just bought it! In case you haven’t heard me rattle on about that genius that is Ms. Gulland, here we go. I love her. During law school, I read her first series about Josephine Bonaparte. It’s a three-part historical novel, written as a diary, beginning when Josephine was an adolescent and continuing through her marriage to Napoleon and thereafter. Love, love, love. Love it so much, in fact, that I’ve read the series six times. I might read it again this week. Highly recommend. The new book is called Mistress of the Sun, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.”

From an email:
“I am in awe! I am an undergraduate history specialist at the University of Toronto, with a particular interest in French history. My best friend, well aware of my adoration of Napoleon, bought me the Josephine B. set…I literally devoured the books, one right after the other! Fantastic! Thank you for writing such a beautiful story on the life of Josephine.”

This is a very nice article on the Trilogy by Glenice Whitting, posted on the BonzerPlus blog.

From a LibraryThing friend, about the first in the trilogy:
“I finished reading The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows the other day and had to let you know how very much I enjoyed it. The opening is brilliant – so unexpected, and yet it perfectly foreshadows her harrowing experience in prison during the Revolution. This makes me want to read a good biography of Josephine, but I think I will gobble up your two sequels first!”

From an email:
“I have to tell you that I finished the Josephine trilogy last month and every other book I have tried to pick up has paled in comparison. I felt as though I had lost my best friend after I was done with it.”

From an email:
“I just want to say how much I have loved your books. I have read them all and wasn’t able to put any of them down. I was practically reading while walking.”

From an email:
“I could not get enough of the Josephine Bonaparte trilogy! It was absolutely beyond addicting ? I could not put them down, not for a second! Escaping into Josephine\’s world has truly been a pleasure, thank you so much for further enhancing my love of historical fiction. These books are how historical novels should all be written!! Well-researched, thoughtful, and with an incredible story to tell.”
From an email:
“Hello Ms. Gulland,

“I have just finished reading the Josephine B. trilogy and I think it is fantastic. She was such a loving, smart person, and I had always thought that she was just another mistress that Napoleon happened to have married. In the beginning of
Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, I didn’t really expect that their love for each other would be so passionate. It was perfect: your writing style, the powerful words, the way you displayed Napoleon as a “whirlwind.” I do believe that Josephine’s true character is more like in your novels than in her biographies. Again I want to say that you’re in my eyes one of the best historical novel authors, and I do admire the devotion you had to your research.”

From an email:
“Ms. Gulland, I just finished reading “The Last Great Dance on Earth.” I read all three of the Josephine B. books in about three weeks. I could not put them down. I can’t tell you how attached I became to the people in the books. In reading about Josephine, I came to admire her in a whole new way?she really came to life. In reading about Napoleon and Josephine’s divorce, I sobbed through the whole series of events (and I am not a crier). And to know it all happened 200 years ago just made it that much more powerful. I admire your research, use of language, and writing style. I have always been interested in the French Revolution which made this such a pleasure to read. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed your books.”

“I just wanted to tell you that I LOVED this book. A friend loaned me her copy and I looked at the size of it and thought – oh no! this is going to take forever to read, but she assured me that I would love it. I knew nothing really about Napoleon and Josephine except that they ruled France after the revolution. I thought them both power hungry and him a cruel dictator. Your book has made them human in my eyes, and likeable. Their love story is really moving the way you portrayed it and I have every intention of going out and buying it for myself so that I can read it again and again.”

“I have raved about your Josephine trilogy until everyone glazed over. I have passed them around and when they got stuck midstream somewhere, the next person on the list would beg me to force the culprit to finish and pass it on. We are a definite fan club in my circle!”

“Thank you Ms. Gulland for writing one of my favourite books. It was a pleasure to read Josephine. No length of time seems long enough to read the book and when I knew the end was near I couldn’t read slow enough to make it last. I felt like I was walking next to Josephine, experiencing every moment of her life.”

“I just finished the last book of your Josephine Trilogy. I am an avid reader and historical fiction is my genre of choice. I can honestly say that these 3 books taken as a whole is my favorite book of all time. I loved the diary form of writing – it was if Josephine were pouring out her heart for all of us to read. You really brought the characters the era to life without overdoing the detail. It was perfect. I was sobbing as I finished the last book – the divorce and death were so painful to read.”

“I just reread the Trilogy this last week. And don’t think I am a psycho fan for saying this, but I used a line out of the second book in a tattoo I recently had done: Small Deceits Destroy Faith. I will be in line first thing when the new book comes out. You are truely talented.”

First and foremost, I would like to say that this message is long overdue. I picked up your first book in 1999, having been drawn to the art on the cover. I then waited ? impatiently ? for the other two books to come out. During the waiting process, I would read and re-read the one (and afterwards two) books through so as to refresh my memory in anticipation of the next. When it came to the third book, I took a very immature approach ? I refused to finish the last 20 pages. After a month of holding out (and to many giggles from my husband), I broke down and read the last 20 pages. Needless to say, the giggles turned to hugs being given to me from said husband-this being a result of seemingly endless crying. I thought I was doing well having read it through to the end (finally!), and just when the cup was full, Napoleon and Josephine’s signatures a few pages farther down got it to flood over.
My apologies for going on so much.. My point is this: I have never been more impacted by a book?let alone three?in my years of being an avid reader. It touched parts of me I forgot about, parts I was (am!) living through, and gave insight and wisdom into everything it is (and can sometimes not) to be a woman. So thank you thank you thank you for what you have given to me
. I am very much positive that both Napoleon and Josephine would approve.”

“Sandra, I want you to know how much my friend & I have been enjoying your trilogy. I’m halfway through the final Last Great Dance and I don’t want it to end! My friend had returned it to me tearfully wishing there was another story to follow! It came highly recommended to me and I highly recommend it to all of my book loving friends. Your writing is captivating. What a great way to learn history!”

“I am quite sure you recieve many fan letters about your books. Add this one to the pile. :) I just finished the trilogy on Josephine Bonaparte. Oh! They were wonderful… I couldn’t put them down. I have never loved historical novels but these books have changed my mind. Your words conjured up a magical world that I so enjoyed walking through. I find Josephine an amazing woman. How brave! Thank you so much for sharing her story. I am urging all my friends to read your books. Again, I found them magical.”

“I just want to say that reading your Josephine B. trilogy has so greatly affected me, I really can not put into words how much I enjoyed them. I’m sure you’re told this all the time but I simply could not put them down. I stayed up all night reading instead of getting a good nights sleep to prepare me for my new job starting the next day. It was worth it.”

“I have just finished the Josephine B. Triology ? thank you for one of the best reading experiences I have had in a long time. I felt ‘in’ the story, walking with Josephine (a lady-in-waiting, perhaps?). I was entranced and could not put the book aside.”

Please…………..I must know when your next book will be available. I am a die-hard fan and have recommended this book to anyone who will listen. But must confess, have NOT offered my copy to anyone…it’s just too much to ask!”

“Please keep writing! You have achieved the epitomy of what a writer ‘should’…to engage the reader, to teach the reader, to amuse the reader, to draw the reader into the characters’ thoughts and feelings, to tantalize the reader to research, and to keep the reader wanting more, more, more…. Thank you so MUCH.”



Press release

Press release


In Canada, contact: Lindsey Love

In the United States, contact: Marcia Burch

Mistress of the Sun



“A fascinating portrait”. OK! magazine
“An engrossing novel about piety, passion and poison”. More magazine

Eight years after her bestselling Josephine B. trilogy, Sandra Gulland introduces us to the enchanting Petite, a maid in the turbulent and intrigue-filled court of Louis XIV, the Sun King.

French history is more than a backdrop in [Gulland’s] capable hands; it is the very air her character’s breathe. Books in Canada


An extraordinary horsewoman, Louise de La Valliere, is a brave and spirited child of minor nobility who, against all odds, grows up to become one of the most mysterious consorts of France’s King Louis XIV, the charismatic Sun King.

Set against the magnificent decadence of the court of the Sun King, Mistress of the Sun begins when an eccentric young Louise falls in love with a wild white stallion and uses ancient bone magic to tame him. This one desperate action of her youth shadows her throughout her life, changing it in ways she could never imagine.

Unable to marry and too poor to join a convent, she enters the court of the Sun King as a maid-of-honour, where she captures and then tragically loses the King’s heart.

A riveting love story with a captivating mystery at its heart, Mistress of the Sun resurrects a fascinating female figure from the shadows of history, and illuminates both the power of true and perfect love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.

Praise for Mistress of the Sun:

“Here’s a warning: Mistress of the Sun is dangerously seductive. It’s one of those books that will grab you and hold you captive till the last page is turned — and even then, chances are you’ll find yourself, eyes burning, online at midnight, ordering Sandra Gulland’s other books. Yes, it’s that good.”
Geeta Nadkarni for the Canwest News Service (published in the Montreal Gazette and Calgary Herald)


Praise for The Josephine B. Trilogy:

“It is that rare thing: a smart book you read as compulsively as a beach-blanket thriller.”
Edmonton Journal on The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.


“[It] is that rare phenomenon: a second novel even better than the first. Gulland casts a strong spell, weaving reality and myth.”
Toronto Star on Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe

“Enlightening and emotionally immediate. A convincing, tender portrait of Josephine B., the woman who was a match for one of history’s most titanic figures.”
The Globe and Mail on The Last Great Dance on Earth

Sandra Gulland was raised and educated in Berkeley, California, and immigrated to Canada in 1970. She is the author of the Josephine B. Trilogy, which has sold over a million copies worldwide to great success. Gulland spent many years researching Mistress of the Sun, and in the interest of perfecting the book’s rich details, she acquired a library of over 200 books on the Louis XIV period, rode horseback for a week in France’s Loire Valley (45 km a day) and spent a silent week in a convent. Sandra Gulland and her husband live half the year near Killaloe, Ontario, and half in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Visit Sandra Gulland online at
For details of her tour schedule, go to the Events page.
See also: Notes on the Writing Life, her author blog.





In Canada:
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 0-00-200775-4
ISBN 13 978-0-00-200775-7
Hardcover, $29.95
Publication February, 2008

In the U.S.:
Simon & Schuster Publishers
A Touchstone Book
ISBN 13: 978-0-7432-9887-2
ISBN 10: 0-7432-9887-X
Hardcover, $26.00
Publication June 3, 2008