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Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, May 22, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
In many historical novels about well-known figures, authors tend to jump from one Big Event to another, serving history while at the same time slighting character. Naslund tends to move in the opposite direction. While she covers all of the usual set pieces of Marie Antoinette's life--her husband's difficulty in consummating their marriage, her reluctance to acknowledge the Comtesse du Barry, her public childbirth, the Affair of the Necklace--Naslund tends to focus more closely on her more everyday, mundane interactions with her family and friends, at least until the revolution overtakes all normalcy. I especially liked the queen's reminiscences about the hippotamus and rhinoceros in her childhood home, the scene where the royal family witnesses the launch of a hot air balloon, and the later scene where the queen is served "fruit" that turns out to be small balloons. (Through a later scene where another balloon launch ends in tragedy, Naslund neatly inserts a sense of impending disaster for the royal court as well.)
Once fate overtakes the royal family, Naslund conveys the increasing terror of their lives powerfully.Read more ›
If you want exceptional research and well-written biography, read Antonia Fraser's "Marie Antoinette: The Journey". If you want page-turning historical fiction, try Victoria Holt's "The Queen's Confessions".
Most know her as a queen who literally lost her head during the French Revolution, and she's become a byword for frivolity, strange fashions, and bad behavior. Others see her as a martyr, a symbol of monarchy, and a misunderstood woman. Most of the historical fiction that I've read about her has been extremely missable, done in a syrupy, trite way that insults both the subject and the reader -- the worst offender in that regard is Kathryn Davis' Versailles.
This narrative about Marie Antoinette is told from the point of view of the queen herself, arriving at the city of Strassbourg at the tender age of fourteen. It's the first time that she's been away from her harridan of a mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and young Marie is homesick, and more than a little afraid and excited by her new status of being married soon to the heir of the King of France. But first there is a ritual of undressing from her Austrian clothing, and coming to France as a naked girl to mark that she is now 'French'. Even her beloved pug dog, Mops, is going away. And used to her numerous siblings and parents, Marie finds the stifling etiquette of the French court incomprehensible.
From being married to the shy, socially awkward Dauphin, Louis Auguste, to the machinations of the three spinster daughters of Louis XV, Marie finds Versailles to be a place of contradictions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book and the writing made me feel as if I was right there with Marie Antoinette. I never knew her history but from what I read since this story seems it could be very... Read morePublished 4 days ago by eileenjude
Makes the case against monarchies. I didn't expect a happy ending of course but I found the story sad and somewhat boring. It is hard to find sympathy for people so foolish. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Meg Nelson
The book had a really slow start, but eventually I couldn't put it down and, since I did not know a lot about Marie Antionette, it made me very curious about some of the characters... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michelle Fox
Although I loved Ahab;s Wife, I have not cared for Ms Naslund's other books. I probably would not have read this one except that, 1) it was cheap on Book Bub, 2) I took a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dr. Elizabeth F. Carter
slow moving but did learn a lot about her. Been very busy so have not been able to finish the book.Published 4 months ago by Virginia
I'm sure that much research was done by Ms. Jeter Naslund. This was a fascinating read. One certainly gets the feeling of the Queen's excesses, yet also, one seems to know her and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by P. Hart