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The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette Hardcover – April 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152063765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152063764
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,553,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9 This novel about the ill-fated queen covers her life from age 13 when, as an Austrian princess, she prepares to marry the French dauphin to her death by guillotine in 1793. The final section is told by her daughter Marie-Therese, the only family member to survive the Revolution. Meyer writes in a lighthearted, casual style, vividly portraying the historical era and aptly defining unfamiliar vocabulary. However, Marie-Antoinette's occasional sympathy for the poor and interest in politics is inconsistent with her flighty, self-indulgent character as presented in most of the book. (Frankly, she comes across as a total airhead.) In addition, after the first 100 pages, The Bad Queen turns into a speedy recitation of events, skipping through years at a time with little insight or development and little spark or personality from the narrators. Kimberley Brubaker Bradley's fascinating novel The Lacemaker and the Princess (S & S, 2007) features Marie-Therese and does an excellent job of integrating events leading up to the French Revolution with life at the palace of Versailles. Although it doesn't have as much material on Marie-Antoinette, it's more interesting and better written. Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
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From Booklist

In this latest Young Royals tale, Meyer portrays the teenage Austrian princess “dealt” to France in marriage by her mother—might there be a sympathetic figure behind the persona of the woman mainly known for her extravagance and gruesome end? With the gorgeous clothes, sumptuous surroundings, and seemingly limitless wealth, Marie becomes a prisoner of royal pomp and circumstance with no concept of governance or political savvy as France descends into a revolutionary bloodbath. Historical-fiction fans will be swept up in the cruel fates of the monarchs and political forces, particularly as the drama escalates into horror. Grades 7-10. --Anne O'Malley

More About the Author

My first book, MISS PATCH'S LEARN-TO-SEW BOOK, published more than forty years ago, was intended to teach young girls how to knot thread, make a neat stitch, and sew simple items. The main character of my most recent book, THE WILD QUEEN, Mary, Queen of Scots, is a far cry from the roundish, gray-haired lady with a needle in her hand and spectacles on her nose. Since the thrill of seeing that first book in print, I've written over fifty more books, non-fiction and novels (most recently, historical fiction). In the process I've learned more about writing and a lot about history, a subject that was not my favorite when I was a young student but has become my passion--a passion I love to share with readers.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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By the end of the book I felt as though I knew Marie Antoinette very well, and I actually felt sorry for her.
M. McQueen
Historical fiction fans and any reader who enjoys a tragic romance will surely enjoy Caroline Meyer's The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette.
Melissa D. Mckee
I highly recommend this book, and the other Young Royals books, to readers who enjoy young adult historical fiction.
Rebecca Herman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JK8 VINE VOICE on March 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Bad Queen is the story of Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France who was married to King Louis XVI and ultimately was guillotined when the French Revolution happened. The story takes us from her beginnings in the Austrian Hapsburg court of Empress Maria Theresa who was Marie's mother. Marie's real name was Maria Antonia, but she had to change it to a French-sounding name when it was decided that she would be a match for the dauphin of France. She had to stop speaking German and had voice lessons in French.

This is the full and complete story of Marie and I am sure that basically the facts are true although Marie's feelings and some of her acts in this novel have been dramatically padded out - but in any case it is a good read. It details all the tutoring and practicing Marie endured before she was sent to France to be the dauphine. She had to have her teeth straightened (by wearing golden braces on her teeth) and having her hair done so that her low hairline did not make her appear unattractive (ultimately her hairdressers decided she should wear her hair up, of course). She was groomed for being queen of France before she was a mature adolescent, and every month she waited breathlessly for the onset of puberty. These parts of the story - her puberty, her wishing to grow breasts and become a woman, her attempts to become pregnant and bear a child to inherit the throne - are all handled very sensitively so that the book is suitable for young adults.

The chapters of the book are the list of dos and don'ts listed by her mother the Empress before she left for France. Some of the rules she obeyed, and some she decided to not pay attention to.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jennahw VINE VOICE on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have already been interested in Marie Antoinette, so I thought this might be a fun read. There will be some SPOILERS in this review, but not really because it's all historical fact. The book is written from the POV of Antoinette.

The very beginning of the book deals with Antoinette getting ready for her marriage (under the direction of her impossible to impress mother) and traveling to meet her husband. Some of the details involved in that arrangement were very interesting. Things happened to her that you think would never be 'standard tradition' for a queen.

After the couple marries, the queen frets for many, many years because the marriage is not consummated. The king is shy and not interested, despite Antoinette trying desperately to seduce him. While the book discusses this problem a lot, they skip over the actual bedroom part to make it very YA-safe. In fact, early on she *thinks* they have finally 'done the deed', only to find out much later that they still hadn't. During this time the queen's excesses are extravagant, and the citizens of France are becoming worse off. Though the king and queen love each other, it is not a passionate or romantic relationship.

Things start moving faster after Antoinette finally has children. The state of France quickly declines, and before we know it the royal family is imprisoned. This part of the story is truly heartbreaking. The book shows Antoinette in a sympathetic light - she had fancy balls and spent too much money and did not listen when warned, but she also wasn't cut out for the job, did not truly mean any harm to the people, and was lonely and sad for much of her life. Still, the book does not give her an out. It shows how stupid she is being and she is constantly given warnings she could have heeded.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I must say I really enjoyed this book ~ this is my first read of any of Carolyn Meyer's 'Young Royals' Series, and this one, 'The Bad Queen', is a fun, young-perspective narrative of the life of Marie Antoinette. Throughout the entire book, I could really see that the author was a big fan of Sophia Coppola's film, which this book seemed to follow along those lines much of the time: the life & struggles of Marie Antoinette are told through short chapter diary entries, in which a rule that she must follow is laid out by others, and then the chapter narrates her life at that point, and how she did or did not follow that rule:

A clever & interesting interpretation of how Marie Antoinette lived, using historical facts as back-up, this book is written in such a way to make it interesting to younger readers or readers of romantic historical fiction: I would not recommend this to anyone in search of a biography or detailed historical fiction, nevertheless, I truly enjoyed this read & would be happy to read more from this author: I have read much about Marie Antoinette in the past, and the freshness of the way this is written, makes it compelling & fun to read: I really liked it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorel Shea VINE VOICE on June 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Carolyn Meyer writes fascinating historical fiction for juvenile readers. The Bad Queen is a more sympathetic look at Marie Antoinette than I've seen, though she pulls no punches when it comes to describing Marie's careless way with money during an economic crisis. She also is frank about Marie's indiscretions with a handsome courtier, though the scenes are PG 13 in content, and not anything I consider overly offensive. We also learn of the heartbreak Marie suffered being separated from her family, and her highs and lows as a wife and mother. Meyer is a delight to read, and I like the fact that Marie Antoinette's faults were not overlooked or sugar-coated, but she does not seem as evil as history has cast her.
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