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Appropriately, Burney begins her performance in the adorable upper registers of the 14-year-old Marie Antoinette, shipped to France by her mother, the Empress of Austria, to marry the 15-year-old Dauphin and peacefully conjoin France and Austria. Unfortunately, Burney continues in this insipid tone throughout her reading, which is understandable as Naslund (Ahab's Wife) portrays Marie as Little Mary Sunshine until the moment of her death by guillotine at age 38. Her love affair with a Swedish diplomat is strictly platonic and her inability to empathize with the French people is laid to her paternalistic advisers. All this may or may not be historically true, but it leaves listeners with Marie's diary-style descriptions of her personal and court life: the Dauphin's sexual limitations, the birth of her children, her clothes and hairstyles, girlish friendships and expensive banquets. The abridgment reinforces this focus by cutting little early on, then skipping quickly from one incident to another as the revolution evolves. Naslund's writing is clear and vivid, but offers little for those seeking a deeper understanding of the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sena Jeter Naslund (Ahab's Wife, 1999) relies on the abundant romance and intrigue of 18th-century France to buoy the weaker moments of her narrative. Her Marie Antoinette is self-absorbed, coddled, and fluttery, a woman who seems to care more about friends and flowers than about the growing discontentment in her adopted country. Reviewers are divided on whether this depiction of the queen renders her an unsuitable narrator. Marie's perspective is a valuable reminder of her lifelong vulnerability and struggle to fit in, but her inability to see very far outside her head means the reader may occasionally miss out on valuable cultural context ? or simply lose interest.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Though too long, this was an excellent historical rendition of a life lived at a time we cannot imagine. Grace and naïveté rolled into one!Published 7 hours ago by Janr
A new way of looking at royalty. especially the 16th century French.The author built up a sound case for all of Marie's actions.. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Ken Millslagle
First person account of her life from childhood. So well written. You feel her emotions. Know what it was like to become queen. To be royalty. Now I want to visit The palace.Published 5 days ago by Col
History was never so clear to me through the characters and their thoughts of each other. It doesn't pay to point your finger at anyone until you live in their shoes. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Catherine R. Carkhuff
Didn't care for this book. It was a bit of a chore to make myself finish it.Published 13 days ago by Kimberly S Fergerson
REALLY enjoyed this book! It is a glimpse into the abundant life of kings and queens and a completely different take on Marie Antoinette. I really felt sad for her.Published 15 days ago by Still with it
I loved the way the whole book told the personal thoughts and feelings in MA's voice. By the last chapters I could barely finish reading knowing what the ending would bring. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Josie