Marie Antoinette had a tragic life. Taken from her home country of Austria at the young age of fourteen to become the dauphine of France, she was thrust into a world that was extremely different from what she had always known. Joined in marriage to a young man, the dauphin, who was withdrawn and in his own world and who knew nothing of the relationship between a man and a woman, she was maligned from the start for her failure to produce an heir. She was constantly ridiculed for her frivolities and expenditures (although true), which I believe were her way of filling the great hole she had in her life. The tragedy continues when she loses two of her children and then, finally, she is made the scapegoat for all that is wrong in France...for the starving people, for her negative influence on the king, and so on.
I have always been sympathetic toward Marie Antoinette. I feel like she has been treated unfairly historically. Propaganda and gossip of the time shoved her into a false light. There is a great quote from Voltaire in the opening pages of the book that I believe sum up what happened with Antoinette...what led to her misconstrued reputation.
Posterity should pay no heed to those secret legends which are spread about a Prince in his lifetime out of spite, or a mere love of gossip, which a mistaken public believes to be true and which, in a few more years, are adopted by the historians who thus deceive themselves and the generations to come.
--Voltaire, Eloge Funebre, written during the reign of Louis XV
Juliet Grey has written a fine trilogy about Antoinette. In this, the final book, she depicts the harrowing days leading up to the final outcome we all know so well. The imprisonment at the Tuileries, the ill treatment by the people of the revolution, the fickle nature of the public...it is all here in stunning detail. Antoinette is portrayed here as very brave, showing unswerving loyal support to her husband and a fierce love for her children. This is a poignant finale to the series. It's a book that will stay with me for many years to come.
About the bookPublication Date: September 24, 2013
Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.
Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.
Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate.
About the Author
Juliet Grey is the author of Becoming Marie Antoinette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow. She has extensively researched European royalty and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette, as well as a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont.
For more information please visit www.becomingmarie.com. You can also find Juliet Grey on Facebook.
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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.