“My Opinion: Everything I know about Marie Antoinette I learned in school during history class, which was more of an overview of her time as the last queen of France, mostly centering on the French Revolution, her execution, and of course, the famous phrase "let them eat cake." When I saw this...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“Borrowed from public library - was not impressed. Read about 28% of book and quit to read others I like better”see full review » see other reviews »
“My Opinion: Everything I know about Marie Antoinette I learned in school during history class, which was more of an overview of her time as the last queen of France, mostly centering on the French Revolution, her execution, and of course, the famous phrase "let them eat cake." When I saw this book listed on NetGalley I was instantly curious to learn more about the girl Maria Antonia, in essence what events shaped her into the woman and queen she would one day become. I wasn't disappointed either! I found her story fascinating, starting out as a wide eyed innocent who was molded by a domineering mother into the most powerful woman in France. She grew up relatively sheltered as the youngest daughter (her mother had 16 children!) of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and was thrust into the high drama that was the court at Versailles at the tender age of 14. There was so much intrigue and so many rules of conduct and etiquette that she had to learn, as any misstep could lead to crushing humiliation and loss of social standing, which would have been disastrous as she was under the command of her mother to get close to the King of France, her husband's grandfather, Louis, to strengthen the political ties between France and Austria. Add to this, her inability to get her husband, Louis Auguste, to consummate her marriage so they could produce an heir, which was vital to the succession of the monarchy, not to mention her own personal well-being since the Catholic church back then considered being a barren royal as worse than adultery!
I felt that this book did a great job at balancing historical fact with a compelling fictional story. The facts lent credence to the story, which in turn gave it an authenticity that wouldn't have been there had it just been a fictional novel about a historical figure. I look forward to reading the next installment of this compelling trilogy because even though I know how it will eventually turn out, I look forward to continuing the journey and finding out where the author is going to take me next :D”
“Liked it! I will definitly read the 2 book!”* Magy * wrote this review Saturday, January 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Becoming Marie Antoinette, the first novel in a planned trilogy about the infamous French Queen, follows the life of the title character from her late childhood in her native Austria to the day of her accession to the French throne as the consort Louis XVI.
It is evident right from outset that a significant amount of research went into the writing of this novel, and that the author took great care to ensure historical accuracy. This research, in combination with Juliet Grey's often eloquent prose, results in the Austrian and French courts coming vividly to life for the reader. It also serves to highlight the incredible differences between life in an Austrian palace and that of life at Versailles. Indeed, the presentation of life at Versailles in particular is one of the novel's greatest strengths. Another strength is Grey's sympathetic characterization of Marie Antoinette, who is portrayed as a charming young woman who, in spite of years of preparation for her role as dauphine, is quite unprepared for life within the Bourbon court. I also enjoyed the brief glimpses into the mind of Empress Maria Therese of Austria, which were showcased through the letters she wrote to her daughter.
While acknowledging that many of the reviews I have read for this novel have found little if anything to criticize, I had a number of issues with it. While I generally prefer detailed works of historical fiction to more cursory novels, I don't overly enjoy books that contain exhaustive amounts of detail that add little to a story. Unfortunately, Becoming Marie Antoinette is an example of a novel containing too much detail. In fact, there were several instances were it seemed Grey was simply trying to fit in every last piece of her research (the scene in which Marie Antoinette is having her braces affixed immediately comes to mind). As a result, even though I liked Grey's writing style, this book failed to captivate me. I think the book would have been better if Grey had spent more time detailing the goings on of the day and less on extensive accounts of what the characters were wearing or how they arranged their hair. It is my hope that the second novel in the trilogy (Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow) will better suit my tastes.
Recommended to fans of historical fiction interested in the early life of Marie Antoinette and those who enjoy considerable historical detail. ”
“Borrowed from public library - was not impressed. Read about 28% of book and quit to read others I like better”Becky F wrote this review Sunday, October 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting. ”Stephanie W wrote this review Friday, September 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I was relieved to discover this book is the first in a trilogy. It is interesting, the characters are well-developed, and while it is a bit slow-moving that seems appropriate to its theme. I don't feel it stands very well on it's own, as almost all of the book was clearly setting the stage for what comes next, a device that is very well executed if it takes place in the first third of a book. I realize this is probably a strategy to sell more books, since one is dying to see how this very different version of Marie Antoinette becomes the historical figure most famous for her death. It will work too, since I have every intention of reading the next in the series. Yet, one would hope that a well-crafted trilogy would draw a reader into its next volume by its merit alone, not by a cleverly devised cliff-hanger. That said, I did enjoy the book and really appreciate a more accurate historical view of the main character, and look forward to how she is developed in the following volumes. ”Lauren C wrote this review Saturday, August 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An engrossing read. I was fascinated by the authenticity with which the author tried to portray Marie Antoinette and her story. It was interesting how the plot of power and politics was controlled with the art of fashion and lavish lifestyles of the royals. ”Candace D wrote this review Wednesday, August 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting. Leaves you wanting more, thus the second book (& 3rd) in the series.”Tonye W wrote this review Monday, July 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Think you know Marie Antoinette's story, think again. Author Juliet Grey did meticulous research before writing this novel. Before Marie could marry Louis Auguste she had to go through an extensive makeover. I've read several stories regarding Marie Antoinette and this is the first time I've heard that she went through a "makeover". All the events and people detailed in the makeover are based on fact. All correspondence contained in this book are also based on actual letters written/sent. I personally perfer reading about the later years of her reign, but I did enjoy learning about the early years as many authors skim right over it. I really felt Grey brought new information to the table regarding Marie Antoinette and I look forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy. Great work of historical fiction. Highly recommend.