“Madam Tussaud is the story of a woman driven by the need for financial security and acceptance. She has a rare talent for remembering faces and a gift for wax modelling - combined this means she creates life-like replicas in wax of the 'celebrities' of her day.
The first chapters skillfully show how Marie aligns herself to the French royal family at a time of flux when rebellion is in the air. The book maps how the rise of Marat, Robespierre and Danton, at the expense of royalty and the old regime. As the revolution gathers momentum we find Marie's family finding it increasingly difficult to evade the finger of suspicion being pointed at them as royalist supporters. It is only Marie's skill at wax modelling, and hence recording great leaders of the revolution, that save her from jail, but as the story progresses she discovers even she has limits.
Madame Tussaud is a well written and evocative book, that brings to life the horror of the French Revolution. Some of the passages (the massacre of the Palace guard) were difficult to read but hit the right balance between gore and Marie's bravery in going to find her brothers' bodies. What remains with me after finishing this book is the sense of how the revolution gained momentum it sacrificed morality.
I highly recommeneded, if somewhat disturbing in places, read. ”