Saturday, 10 April 2010

Historic Saturday (10)

The Bad Queen
Carolyn Meyer
[4/12/10]

History paints her as a shallow party girl, a spoiled fashionista, a callous ruler. Perhaps no other royal has been so maligned--and so misunderstood--as Marie-Antoinette. From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone--courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people--but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can't help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette's lifestyle gets ever more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty--and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay.

In this latest installment of her acclaimed Young Royals series, Carolyn Meyer reveals the dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last Queen of France.


I've always loved Marie Antoinette. I first really learned about her earlier this year in my History class. Then for my NaNoWriMo novel I decided to write a novel set in the French Revolution. To prepare, I read a lot of other novels in this time period, including one on Marie. I loved it and I found myself extremely sympathetic to her as a person. I watched the movie, I read more, and I continued researching. I couldn't help but be fascinated at this horribly misunderstood woman.

I was nervous about this book. I love Marie, but what if this book didn't see her the way I do? What if it tried to put her off as a well...bad queen? Then I found it on netgalley's website and figured that I could at least try it if it's free.

I loved this novel, I really did. I learned more about Marie as a child, something rarely looked at in what I've read and watched. I learned about Marie herself and events of the actual revolution from her perspective. I only read one novel strictly about her, but it was styled like a journal so nearly everything was about her. The Bad Queen covered more of what was going outside the Marie bubble. I learned more about her children (for some reason, I thought there were only three. This shows how small the Marie bubble was in the last thing I read) and her emotional connections to them as well.

Marie was an extremely sympathetic character here who truly wanted to be a good wife and queen but when she couldn't had to do something to cheer herself up, and often times it did cost money, but that was what she knew. She knew that new things made her happy, then simple life made her happy if it was contained in her world. And she knew being rich and having money. Nobody would tell her straight out 'no' and if they did it wasn't enforced. How does one learn with that kind of treatment?

Antoinette was also emotional. She cried often, and rightfully so. When she found love I rejoiced for her and was so insanely proud of her loyalty. It was also nice to learn more about her children, her eldest daughter, Mousseline, especially. And the end for the royal family was so horribly tragic, I cried.

For history lovers, French lovers, or anyone who just loves books with strong characters, this is a must read!

--Julie

2 comments:

  1. Adding this to my reading list. I am just fascinated with royalty. I feel like they have such high expectations on them. i can't imagine living with that much weight on your shoulders.

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