By now, I suspect you’re well enough acquainted with my passion for Marie Antoinette. Since she turned up randomly in an illustration from my Treasury of Fairytales when I was quite small I’ve been a fan, and since then my love has grown – I’ve even got two pug-breed dogs in honour of her own love for pugs (ok, so maybe Philip Pullman also has two pugs, and my big celeb crush Gerard Butler ALSO has a pug – are we sensing a pattern here?)…EITHER WAY, it should come as no surprise to you that there are a couple more novels on Mrs Maria Antonia that I’ve found hidden in my well-frilled sleeve.
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran is a book I have been savouring since finishing her other three books in order: Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra’s Daughter. This will be the first time Michelle has extended her craft to a subject matter newer than ancient history, but I am 99% sure she will handle the palace of Versailles with ease. Madame Tussaud doesn’t bother herself with the early years of Marie Antoinette’s reign – the Queen already has her children and France is already lining up at the bakeries for hours hoping to strike it lucky and carry a breadloaf home with them to their starving families. I’m especially looking forward to this book – it’s from the perspective of that famous waxwork madame, Madame Tussaud, who was a contemporary of Marie, and there’s a foreword in the book assuring the reader that all major events in the novel happened true to history.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is classified as Young Adult fiction, but of course that doesn’t stop me when the book in question has been generating excellent feedback.
In Revolution, the life of a modern teen is intertwined with that of a girl having lived through the French Revolution. Loved for its intensity of emotion and admired for its meticulous research, I am salivating at the thought of reading what is sure to be a (relatively) hidden gem.
Has anyone else seen the movie The September Issue? There’s this fabulous scene where Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue, is at the palace of Versailles, overlooking those fabulous gardens and contemplating their history. What I wouldn’t give to be there myself! And I will, one day. In the meantime I can satisfy my cravings for the palace with the book Marie Antoinette and the Last Garden of Versailles by Christian Duvernois. It doesn’t come cheap, but the book is more than what it may first appear – yes, readers appear interested by the pictures of the gardens surrounding the palace, but they are awed by what the gardens reveal about Marie Antoinette’s style and sensibilities. Sounds like my kind of book.
Something tells me I am not going to have to suffer Marie Antoinette withdrawals for a time yet…