Friday, January 4, 2013

Becoming Marie Antoinette

Author: Juliet Grey
Goodreads Rating: 3.78
My Rating: 3 Stars
Pages: 435
Reviewed by: Nicole

This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette. Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.
Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must changeeverything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.
Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.

I got this book from the library when I requested the second book in the trilogy on Netgalley. I didn't get approved for Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow but that was fine. I still had this one to read and it wound up taking me a few months to finally get to it. 

As much as I dragged my feet to finish this book, I was sad when it finished. I knew that there was more to Marie's story and I wasn't read to finish it. This book chronicled her life from the age of 12 until the death of King Louis XV. I found the very beginning chapters to be really rough to get through because very little happened in them.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again because it is through no fault of Grey's, that Historical Fiction about real figures tends to lack a clear plot line and it simply a re-telling of what happened. It was interesting to see what Grey imagined the daily life of Marie Antoinette, but in the end a lot of the book could have been cut out to make this 435 page book even half, and it still would have been good. 

It was sad to see how easily manipulated Antoinette was and how hard it was to adjust to a new court. I found that this book was very sympathetic to Marie, when most historians vilify her and her actions. Marie Antoinette is not a person that history looks upon kindly, and yet this book casts her in the naive, innocent role. I'm interested to see if this book is going to keep that up with her.

I loved how well researched this book was, it wasn't Grey's fault that the early years weren't that exciting, so I think I'm going to give the second book a chance when I get around to it. Also of note, I went into this book thinking that it was a young adult book because some people shelved it as such on Goodreads, it is in fact, NOT a young adult book. Do not be deceived because Marie Antoinette is so young in this book.

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