Saturday, July 23, 2011
BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE - by Juliet Grey
I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive an Advance Reader's Edition of Becoming Marie Antoinette: A Novel. I was thrilled to be selected because I have always found Marie Antoinette to be an interesting person in history. Many have portrayed Marie Antoinette as self-absorbed and dimwitted. I was quite intrigued to see how Juliet Grey would present her in this novel.
Maria Antonia grew up in Austria always knowing that one day she would be a "sacrifice to politics". Her mother, Maria Theresa, was the Empress of Austria and demanded great things from her daughters. By the age of 10, Antonia had been promised in marriage to Louis Charles, the dauphin of France. A complete intellectual and physical transformation had to be undergone to prepare Antonia to become the dauphine of France and eventually their Queen. Finally, at the age of 14, the marriage was ready to move forward. Antonia had to leave nearly everything behind; her family, her servants whom she loved like family, her homeland, her language, her customs, etc. She had to convince the people of France to love her, despite the fact that many had preconceived notions about Austrian women. One of the people who needed the most convincing was her new husband, Louis.
Through the pages of this book, Juliet Grey shows us what a strong and compassionate person Marie Antoinette was. Despite constant criticism from her mother, she constantly strove to make her happy. Within the corrupt world of Versailles, Antoinette worked hard to keep her morals. Antoinette struggled to learn who she could trust and who she could not and it becomes clear in this book how lonely of a life it must have truly been.
Thoroughly researched and well-written, I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. This is the first book in a trilogy and will be released on 8/9/11. The second book in the trilogy, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, will be released in the summer of 2012. The third and final book will be released in 2013. I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.