Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.
Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.
Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate.
Ballantine Books | September 24, 2013 | 464 pages
Confessions of Marie Antoinette is the third and final installment in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette trilogy, following Becoming Marie Antoinette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (click on the titles to read my reviews). The focus of this novel is on the final years of Marie Antoinette's life, which coincides with the downfall of France's Bourbon dynasty. Told primarily from Marie Antoinette's perspective, Confessions takes place at the height of the French Revolution.
Much like the previous two novels in the Marie Antoinette trilogy, Confessions of Marie Antoinette is filled with rich period detail that brings revolutionary France and the tumultuous French court to life. While I was already familiar with the basic events and key figures of the French Revolution prior to reading this trilogy, the plight of the French royal family during the final years of Louis XVI's reign was relatively new to me. One of this novel's greatest strengths is Grey's ability to successfully capture the fear and despair of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI as they unsuccessfully try to keep the French monarchy from falling.
Although Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are not historical figures I've previously been particularly curious to learn more about, this novel has changed that. While I thought the book started out a little slowly, by the halfway point I was completely riveted by the story and eager to learn more about the events leading up to first Louis XVI's, and then Marie Antoinette's, deaths. Grey does such a good job of conveying the immense difficulties that they faced during their final years that I couldn't help but feel sympathy and sadness for their treatment at the hands of the revolutionaries, and I often found myself appalled at the level of hatred directed at Marie Antoinette in particular. One of the things I liked best about this novel, and indeed of the trilogy in general, is Grey's characterization of Marie Antoinette. In Grey's deft hands Marie comes across as a caring wife and mother, one who, although she has flaws, does not deserve the reputation given to her by history.
Recommended to fans of historical fiction set in France, especially those interested in the Bourbon monarchy and the French Revolution.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Confessions of Marie Antoinette is currently on tour. You can visit the tour schedule by clicking here.
About the Author
For more information please visit www.becomingmarie.com.
I'm pleased to host a giveaway for one copy of Confessions of Marie Antoinette (US only). Giveaway details are as follows:
- Giveaway is open to US residents only;
- To enter simply leave a comment below with your email address;
- The giveaway will run until midnight (EST) on October 13th, 2013.
- The winner will be selected using random.org