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From Versailles to Boulevard du Temple, royalists to revolutionaries, art to science, Moran (Cleopatra's Daughter) returns with a new historical novel of fierce polarities. Set during the French Revolution, with an emphasis on the Reign of Terror, Moran's fourth deftly chronicles the consequences of seeking reversals in power-or liberty. Marie Grosholtz, the talented wax sculptress who would become Madame Tussaud, narrates with verve. She and her family are "survivalists" who "straddle both worlds until it's clear which side will be the victor..." but never come across as opportunists; they are resourceful, sympathetic individuals facing an unraveling nation and an increasingly angry mob mentality. Though readers may wince at the inevitable beheadings, the storming of the Bastille, and the actions of men like Robespierre, Moran tempers brutality with Marie's romance and passion for artistry; quiet moments in the family's atelier provide much needed respite. This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike.
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Marie Tussaud, she of the wax museum, lived a long and colorful life, but the focus here is on 1788�94, when she was a young woman in Paris. Under the tutelage of a Swiss doctor whom she calls her uncle, she has become an accomplished artist as well as an astute businesswoman, helping to run the family firm, the Salon de Cire, with its changing array of exhibits of historical and contemporary figures in wax. Hired as a wax tutor by the king�s sister, Madame Elisabeth, she gains an entr�e into Versailles. Her uncle�s home, meanwhile, serves as a regular meeting place for Robespierre and other revolutionaries. First and foremost a survivor, during the Revolution Marie makes models of its heroes and its victims alike. Moran takes liberties with the facts, as any historical novelist has a right to do; but some of her inventions tend to clutter up a story that is already fascinating on its own. Still, readers will be intrigued by Madame Tussaud, and by witnessing a tumultuous era through her eyes. --Mary Ellen Quinn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Michelle Moran has done it again; she's crafted a compelling story about a point in history and made it interesting & a page turner. Read morePublished 9 days ago by TeeJay
I learned some interesting things about the French Revolution, however, it became a little tedious toward the end of the Revolution. Read morePublished 26 days ago by EJL
Whenever I read historical fiction I always mourn what was my History Lessons in school. History, was boring. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Maive
Great way to enjoy more details of the French Revolution and the book also brings to light that it wasn't necessarily easy to choose one side or the other.Published 1 month ago by Stacy D
I'm a big fan of historical fiction so I enjoyed the story/history of it. It makes me appreciated wax as an art form and not think of the Madame Tussaud's as hokie and touristy.Published 1 month ago by Terri Rush
3.5 total stars. 3 mostly for how much I liked the overall execution (hummm...a pun?) and .5 additional stars for the ambitious nature on the part of author Michelle Moran. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Leslie Lindsay
Very fascinating about the building of "Madam Tussaud" Noe I'd like to visit one of those Museums. It is amazing how they could conceive those models.Published 1 month ago by Jane Coffey