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Confessions of Marie Antoinette: A Novel Paperback – September 24, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Marie Antoinette
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345523903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345523907
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The third installment of Grey's Marie Antoinette trilogy, following Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, captures the final years of Louis XVI's reign through the eyes of the legendary Austrian woman who became the French queen and never actually said, Let them eat cake. The author's extensive research shows in her detailed reconstruction of the political machinations that, over time, diminished the King's powers and turned the once-proud and ostentatious royal family into prisoners, stripped of dignity and privacy. Near the end, even their bread is crumbled before being served, to prevent anyone from smuggling messages inside, but Marie still manages to put on a brave face. As counterpoint, Grey depicts Parisian sculptress Louison Chabry, a real-life figure who encountered the French royals in October 1789 after participating in the renowned Women's March on Versailles. Amid the increasingly zealous and bloodthirsty revolutionaries, Chabry offers a more reasoned response, balancing her passion for change with compassion for the rulers who she believes are not the despicable tyrants portrayed in the rhetoric of the day. Historians will continue to debate whether Marie Antoinette was friend or foe to the French people, but Grey succeeds in bringing humanity and grace to the controversial queen. Agent: Irene Goodman, the Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)

Review

Advance praise for Confessions of Marie Antoinette
 
“Juliet Grey brings her trilogy on Marie Antoinette’s life to a triumphant finale, depicting with sensitivity and compelling vividness the collapse of a bygone glamorous world and the courageous transformation of its ill-fated queen.”—C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow
 
“A heartfelt journey with Marie Antoinette in her wrenching last days . . . We see the end looming that is still veiled from her eyes, and knowing her hopes are in vain makes it all the more poignant. Far from the ‘let them eat cake’ woman of legend, Juliet Grey’s Marie Antoinette reveals herself to be a person we can admire for her courage, her loyalty, and her love of her family and her adopted country, France.”—Margaret George

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Customer Reviews

This was very hard to read.
writergurl
Juliet Grey writes novels that are rich in historical fact but weaves a story that brings alive a part of history long past.
Darlene @ Peeking Between the Pages
I read the first two books in this trilogy and couldn't wait for the 3rd to come out.
Courtney Birst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By LCW VINE VOICE on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Juliet Grey has delivered an evocative telling of the last years of Marie Antoinette. The novel is set against an elegantly detailed background that pulled me into the story. From the jewelry to the clothes, the architecture, to the moods and emotions of the crowds. Never gratuitous or over the top but let me feel as if I was reading a movie.

The tone was absolutely sympathetic yet Marie Antoinette is given depth and a complexity that was believable. At times defiant and indigent, lustful for her lover, loyal to her husband, and always with a heartbreaking love for her children, she was complex and multifaceted.

The novel was fast paced and never lagged or got dull. I could barely put this book down and it was one of those books I couldn't wait to get back to.

I usually avoid novels about tragic female figures like Anne Boleyn, Jane Grey, or Marie Antoinette. Women who were ultimately pawns in the hands of men and who paid the ultimate price. It just makes for a sad story to which I already know the ending. I'm glad I went out of my comfort zone for this novel and feel well rewarded for doing so.

The author included a tidbits and fact section at the end which I loved. I wish more authors would do this. I highly recommend this novel and give it an easy 4 1/2 stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MusingCrow VINE VOICE on August 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Not too many books are powerful enough to bring a tear to my eye, but this book certainly did do just that!

I have always been dumbstruck at the savage brutality of the French Revolution. In my eyes it seems to have been bloodier, more disorganized and more devastating than America's own Revolution. I've read many non-fiction histories about the French Revolution and biographies of Marie Antoinette. I believe that it can be difficult to portray a historically tragic figure well, without overdoing either empathy or villainy, but Juliet Grey breathes life into this book. The characters grab you into their lives and keep you riveted to the pages. I began by reading this book in the morning as I had coffee and quickly began to just sit and read, and read through to the end in a day and a half (I had to do some regular life things inbetween the pages!).

The characters are brilliantly portrayed. The French Revolution and the devastation that it brought, not only to the nobility, but to the revolutionaries themselves, are portrayed so well that you feel as though you are a part of it all. It is as if you are a part of the destruction of so many priceless artifacts, you are standing by the scaffold as men and women are swiftly dispatched by the new nation's "razor" (the infamous guillotine) . The perils and fear that the royal family endured is palpable in the pages of this book, it no wonder that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white almost overnight. It is impossible to comprehend the terror that existed during these riotous times.

Juliet Grey paints her word images artfully, and I was pleased to find so much historically correct information.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gaele TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Releasing today, this conclusion to the Marie Antoinette trilogy has a well-known ending, but the journey to that end is riveting and rich with imagery. While essentially sympathetic to the oft-unsympathetic Queen, the story details a perspective that is often not shown in popular history: setting the characters and actions against the surroundings, described with lush phrasing that creates an easily visualized scene for readers.

This is my first encounter with both this author and series, although this book clearly is the later years of Marie Antoinette's life, I did not find difficulty with storyline, characters or following the story. While ostensibly this story is about the nobility and the horrors they faced in the revolution and upheaval, it also brilliantly details the deleterious affects the revolution had on the common people, as well as those in active support of the uprising. This provided a balance of perspective that, while not providing a clear line of who was right or wrong, did illuminate the situation from both sides, providing background information that helped better understand the motives and affects.

Of course, reading this story is much like seeing the movie Titanic, you know it won't end with a happily ever after, but the moments to the ending are moments to savor and appreciate, for the pure beauty of the writing, the characters that breathe forward from the story into your mind, and the descriptions that bring late 18th century France to life.

I received an ARC copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By delicateflower152 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The lush, descriptive language and the extensive research Juliet Grey employed in writing “Confessions of Marie Antoinette” elevate this fine historical novel above most current offerings of “historical” fiction. This novel is a true historical novel; it imagines, in an authentic manner, the actual events of and reactions within the period. It is not simply a romance, set within a significant period of history, in which the historic events take a secondary place to the characters’ romantic interests.

“Confessions of Marie Antoinette” provides a sympathetic perspective on Marie Antoinette and the French royal family. Narrated primarily in the first person, the book becomes Marie Antoinette’s personal testament of her last years and the French Revolution. The brief third person sections that focus on the sculptress, Louison Chabry, provide a balance to the story. Her ambivalent feelings with respect to the violence of the Revolution and with regard to the royal family probably reflect the emotions many individuals harbored, but were afraid to express.

However, Juliet Grey does not gloss over the arrogance of and unrealistic actions taken by French aristocrats and their supporters. For example, during an escape attempt the royals’ accomplice provides an enormous and luxurious berline – carriage – that is impossible to ignore. Even while imprisoned, Marie Antoinette wears fine clothing and satin shoes. While Louis XVI seems, at times, to appreciate the significant events and societal changes occurring, he naively attempts to appease the populace and the revolution’s leaders.

“Confessions of Marie Antoinette” is strongest in the portions dealing with Marie Antoinette’s love of her children and her realizing that she loves Louis XVI.
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