"Like everyone, I am born naked," confesses Marie Antoinette. Unlike everyone, however, her "birth" occurs at age 14 when Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna, Archduchess of Austria, becomes engaged to the future King Louis XVI of France and sheds her former identity to reinvent herself as a queen. Despite her beauty and charm, Marie Antoinette struggles to win over the French court, not to mention the French people, who have become increasingly dissatisfied with their extravagant, dissolute rulers. For more about "L'Autrichienne," try Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette Trilogy (which begins with Becoming Marie Antoinette) or Carolly Erickson's The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette. Historical Fiction newsletter February 2015.
Everyone knows that Marie Antoinette was a bubble head, but this novel shows her as a very charming bubble head. The depiction of opulence in a lifestyle that was truly enviable is accurately described in a language that helps you to forget her self centered nature. But what can you expect? Brought up to be married off at an early age, she drifts through court life with nary a thought for repercussions for heedless actions. At the end she only cares about how dignified she can be while placing her head on the guillotine, and in one fell swoop her voice was silenced forever. Not a life I admire, but I think this is a very admirable portrayal of a wasted life. Truly that is a tragedy
Having enjoyed Naslund's "Ahab's Wife" previously, I was looking forward to her new historical fiction about Marie Antoinette. The story begins as 14-year-old Marie, daughter of the Empress of Austria, journeys to France to wed the 15-year-old Dauphin (Louis XVI); and ends with her memorable death at the guillotine during the French Revolution. Throughout I had to keep reminding myself that, although intensely researched, this was a work of fiction -- it was like reading the intimate thoughts from someone's diary. I felt both sympathy for Marie and the royal family and pity at their self-absorption and naïveté. The reader is not made to think they are truly evil or ruthless people, but that the fault perhaps lies in how they are raised in a world of true opulence; isolated, untouched and unaffected by the reality, and often the plights, of the average citizen.
There are no ages for this title yet.
There are no summaries for this title yet.
There are no notices for this title yet.
There are no quotes for this title yet.