Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received from publisher for review – also participating in HF Virtual Book Tour
“Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.
From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles-one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.”
I have never been a huge fan of Marie Antoinette, or the French Revolution for that matter, but author Juliet Grey has a way of making this period new and exciting for me. In her first book, Becoming Marie Antoinette the author made me feel for the young girl who was leaving her home and being forced to become someone else entirely in a world vastly different than the court she left behind. In this installment, Grey shows us a Marie Antoinette who is coming into her own as queen and dealing with some MAJOR life changing incidents. Grey makes a Marie Antoinette who is humanized and someone that the regular person can relate to with all of her fears, wants, and concerns for her family and friends. Not only does she flesh out Marie Antoinette but we really get to know other members of the French royal circle – from the King and Queen’s families to their friends and hangers-on.
She does not miss out on including the important events, such as the Diamond Necklace affair, the meetings with the revolutionary forces in France, and the American Revolution – but she makes these events feel fresh and new. I liked reading about the courts perception of Benjamin Franklin – what a hoot! It was also interesting to see how the Diamond Necklace Affair actually played out.
The one thing that annoyed me throughout this book was the almost constant references to vulgar nickname given to Marie Antoinette – l’Autrichienne. The first time it was mentioned and explained I appreciated it and the character’s rumination about it. However by the 6th or 7th time (and yes it was at least that many) I was like, “I get it already, let’s move on!”.
Overall this was a very interesting read. The ending leave you on a slightly happy note in amongst all of the turmoil that happened in the end of the book – however knowing what is to come in book three, you can’t enjoy it too much.
Author Juliet Grey also has written the first book in this series, Becoming Marie Antoinette. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
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