August 28, 2011
Sunday Spotlight On: Historical Fiction
Marie Antoinette #1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Marie Antoinette gets a revival and a more flattering coat of paint in this first installment of the new Marie Antoinette series by Juliet Grey.
What can I say? I have always been fascinated with a handful of historical leading ladies and Marie is one of the top 5. When I thought of her before this book, I pictured lush, scrumptious desserts and wispy cotton candy hair piled high on an overly pampered and exceedingly empty head. Think the Kirsten Dunst movie adaptation, which I loved by the way. After reading Becoming, which chronicles Marie's story from childhood to her husband's rise to the French throne, I feel like historians and poorly informed high school history teachers have been pulling the wool over my eyes. I realize this is historical fiction, however the author leaves us readers a note at the end about what is historically accurate and what she embellished for story's sake.
Written from Marie's perspective and supplemented by journal entries and correspondence between the major players in her accession to dauphine, Becoming Marie Antoinette allows the reader to feel a kinship with this infamous historical figure. Another thing that struck me as unique and pleasing was Grey's characterization of Louis Auguste. Rather than the cold, indifferent husband he is most commonly represented as, Grey offers us a shy, and painfully socially awkward boy. The way she progresses the relationship between him and Marie is both frustrating and achingly sweet.
This book would be a great way for anyone interested in learning more about this wonderful heroine, to become better acquainted with the young Marie Antoinette. I enjoyed reading this book very much and look forward to the next release, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, which is expected to be published sometime in 2012.