We all learn about Marie Antoinette in History class. You think you know her, but you don’t. Everything I thought I knew about Marie Antoinette fell to the wayside as I read this book. As I flipped and flipped and flipped through the pages ferociously a woman made of flesh and blood like me was born in my mind. The image of Marie Antoinette as a fellow woman, comrade and sister began to form. As the book forced me to envision myself in her slippers and her court I began to grow a connection and empathy for this queen. Her love of the people was clearly defined in this book as was her husband’s kind and devoted heart, but they were stuck in the middle between the needs of their people and their need for the support of their friends, the nobles. It was a horrible kind of torture reading through a book, growing attached to the characters and yet always knowing at the back of your head the fate of Marie Antoinette. Even during the escape attempt my heart was a flutter with hope and joy, but I knew that they wouldn’t make it. I knew in the back of my mind as I came to endear Marie Antoinette as a friend that she would be beheaded in only a matter of pages.
The courts of Versailles came to life as they were etched in the reader’s mind with the vivid detail the author, Naslund provided. The details provided by the author painted a very clear picture of what life was like for Marie Antoinette. The letters that were dispersed amongst the pages of this novel brought Marie Antoinette even more alive in my mind as I could hear her own words, her own voice and her own thoughts. Towards the end, the Royal family in my mind, dropped their royal garb and became an average family torn apart by war, hate and misunderstanding. I felt Marie Antoinette’s pain as her husband was taken from her and she was left to only a wait the sound of the trumpets and drums that signaled his death.
This book is beautifully crafted and I intend on enjoying more books by this author.
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