Saturday, July 31, 2010

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

I picked this book up last January because I really liked the cover. I know, never judge a book by it's cover, but c'mon!!! You can't tell me that a pretty cover doesn't draw you in!! The author, Antonia Fraser, has written another one of my favorite books The Wives of Henry VIII, so I already knew I liked her writing style. Needless to say, when I started the book, I was disappointed. None of the pizazz of her other book seemed to be present in this one. I love it when I'm wrong about a book. Not only was this one of the best books I've read all year, it is written in such a way that you begin to feel like you are reading a novel rather than an historical biography.

This book was the inspiration for the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. The movie couldn't be further from the book. I didn't enjoy it at all. The book was INFINITELY better!!
It starts with Marie Antoinette's childhood. Personally, I'm more interested in the French Revolution story of her than her childhood, which could be the reason why I didn't like the beginning of the book. Regardless, Fraser gives a very detailed account of what life was like for Antoine (as she was known before she went to France) in Austria. The story of her life continues with the tragic culmination of her execution by the guillotine. After spending 300+ pages with Marie Antoinette, I felt a weird sense of loss. Of course, if you know the history of her life, you know what is coming in the book, but it still was a incredibly moving moment.

I highly recommend this book, as it gives great detail to Marie's life, an interesting insight into what she lived through, and the reality that she was a woman who was one of the many casualties of Madame Guillotine.

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