Confessions of Marie Antoinette

Juliet Grey. Ballantine, $15 trade paper (484p) ISBN 978-0-345-52390-7
The third installment of Grey’s Marie Antoinette trilogy, following Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, captures the final years of Louis XVI’s reign through the eyes of the legendary Austrian woman who became the French queen and never actually said, “Let them eat cake.” The author’s extensive research shows in her detailed reconstruction of the political machinations that, over time, diminished the King’s powers and turned the once-proud and ostentatious royal family into prisoners, stripped of dignity and privacy. Near the end, even their bread is crumbled before being served, to prevent anyone from smuggling messages inside, but Marie still manages to put on a brave face. As counterpoint, Grey depicts Parisian sculptress Louison Chabry, a real-life figure who encountered the French royals in October 1789 after participating in the renowned Women’s March on Versailles. Amid the increasingly zealous and bloodthirsty revolutionaries, Chabry offers a more reasoned response, balancing her passion for change with compassion for the rulers who she believes are not the despicable tyrants portrayed in the rhetoric of the day. Historians will continue to debate whether Marie Antoinette was friend or foe to the French people, but Grey succeeds in bringing humanity and grace to the controversial queen. Agent: Irene Goodman, the Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/24/2013
Open Ebook - 252 pages - 978-0-345-52391-4
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