Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Hardcover – February 15, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
From Publishers Weekly
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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is about Marie Gresholtz who lives with her uncle Curtius and her mother Anne. They have a place on the Boulevard in Paris where they have rooms with wax statues that they use to tell the news. They are friends with many of the soon to be "patriots" in the French Revolution and they also have had King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette visit the wax museum. After this visit Marie Gresholtz is called to tutor Princess Elizabeth, King Louis XVI's sister, in the art of wax sculpting.
As the book continues we learn how the revolution starts, the many people included in it, the tightrope balance between being a patriot and/or a royalist. All through this time we keep up with many characters, including Gresholtz's 3 brothers, the royal family, the patriots, the dressmaker and many others. Also there is Henri, Gresholtz's next door neighbor and love interest and Lichin the shops only other employee, a teen boy who mainly announces what the attraction in the shop is that day. The book follows her from the beginning of the revolution to after the revolution and The author does do one of my favorite things about her books an afterword on what happens to some of the main characters.
So why in my opinion am I not giving this a higher review? Her Egyptian books were excellent, descriptive and hard to put down. This book put me to sleep many times. It does have action at some points and the last 200 pages speed up with complete action but it took so long to get there and so many characters, I would lose the way.
I did learn a lot about the French Revolution that I never knew. The wax news was interesting but a little too much was put in about it. The royal family are just visits here and there and those have more to do with wax modeling and religion then any of the intrigues going on. I would still recommend this book to historical fiction people and book clubs, especially history ones.
As tensions grow in Paris over issues with the monarchy and food shortages, Marie, her mother and 'uncle' must tread uneasily between the people and the royals. They cannot have their alliances questioned by either faction, and do everything they possibly can to give the appearance of their neutrality. Their very lives depend on it. Marie is made to create death masks of dead nobles whose heads have been paraded through the city. When the King and his family are forcibly removed from governance, everyone associated with them is also arrested and Marie is imprisoned. Each day she fears beheading, as the guillotine is in constant use. She believes her brothers, member of the Royal Guard, to have been killed.
Although the novel is not entirely historically accurate, it is a good representation of events and is written so well and so thrillingly, I had a difficult time putting it down.