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Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Days of Splendor Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey & Giveaway

days of splendor

Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey
Book 2 in the Marie Antoinette trilogy
ARC, Paperback, 448 pages
Ballantine Books
May 15, 2012
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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.

If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Juliet Grey:

becoming marie antoinette
Becoming Marie Antoinette (Book #1)
[My Review]

confessions of marie antoinette
Confessions of Marie Antoinette (Book #3)
[My Review]

Find Juliet Grey: Website

Follow the Tour

On the HF Virtual Book Tour website or onTwitter with the following hashtag: #DaysOfSplendorVirtualTour.


I have a giveaway of 1 copy of Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow to offer for a reader in the USA or Canada. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below for entry. Last day to enter is November 10th. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. This book sounds really good. I love Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution and have been eying this book lately. Just must find time to read it. Glad you liked it.


    1. If you are a fan of this time period then I think you will likely enjoy it more than me - as I only have a passing interest on this period.

  2. Thank you for this review. I appreciate that you don't like the overuse of her nasty nickname. I actually just read that that was her nickname. I am not sure that I will like that part either. I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for the chance to win

    1. I put on my entry form that I was griperang I am sorry I thought that was my google name.

    2. For me it wasn't so much what the name meant, but just the overuse of it. I felt like every so many pages the author was explaining what it meant again, or how MA felt about the name, or how people were using it. By the 3rd or 4th time I just felt like there was not a real purpose for it anymore - we understand!!

      No problem with the entry form - I would have known it was you!

  3. I just started reading the first book, so far so good :)

  4. No need to enter me.
    just wanted to say great review and I also have a different view of MA after reading actual history about her. Quite misunderstood.
    I'll be sure to start with book one. Thanks Heather.

    1. There are so many myths out there about her that are continually perpetuated. I don't actually mind reading about the court - however the French Revolution is so horrible (in my opinion) that I don't like reading about all of the things perpetrated by the mass/group mindset.

  5. I am glad I saw your review before purchasing. Thanks. I think I will be skipping this one. Great review! I just finished a wonderful book called, "Quest for the Lost Name" by author George Makris. This a historical fiction novel that is a romantic adventure wrapped into a mystery in which the main character must go through personal growth and transformation. http://questforthelostname.com/

    1. I'm not sure what about my review would make you decide to skip this one - it was a positive reading experience to me - but everyone is absolutely entitled to their own opinion.

  6. Great review! Haven't had a chance to read this one, but thought the first book in the series was great!

    1. If you liked the first you should enjoy the second book. I think I actually liked the execution of this book better than the first- however I liked the story of the first better than the second - if that makes sense.

  7. i read the first book and really loved it. i would love to read the sequel. I do remember the nickname from the first book I think.


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