Abundance A Novel of Marie Antoinette Author:Sena Jeter Naslund Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas -- eager to be a good wife and strong queen -- she warmly embraces her adopted nation and ... more »its citizens. She shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he repeatedly fails to consummate their marriage and in so doing is unable to give what she and the people of France desire most: a child and an heir to the throne. Deeply disappointed and isolated in her own intimate circle, and apart from the social life of the court, she allows herself to remain ignorant of the country's growing economic and political crises, even as poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge. The young queen, once beloved by the common folk, becomes a target of scorn, cruelty, and hatred as she, the court's nobles, and the rest of the royal family are caught up in the nightmarish violence of a murderous time called "the Terror."
With penetrating insight and with wondrous narrative skill, Sena Jeter Naslund offers an intimate, fresh, heartbreaking, and dramatic reimagining of this truly compelling woman that goes far beyond popular myth -- and she makes a bygone time of tumultuous change as real to us as the one we are living in now.« less
Anna L. reviewed Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette on
10 member(s) found this review helpful.
If you like fiction based on historical fact you'll appreciate this book by Sena Naslund. Naslund blends letters from Marie and her mother in Austria against the background of the Court of Versailles. If you've been lucky enough to travel to Paris and seen Versailles, you can really see the events as they occur. If you haven't, rent the movie Marie Antoinette which helps you "see" the court as protocol ruled it during the 18th century. It's a wonderful read.
History has portrayed Marie Antoinette as an extravagant, and sometimes cold monarch - Naslund gets the reader past that, to see the young Austrian girl sent to a foreign land to marry the man who would be king. She brings a reality and presence to the world of Henry XVI and Marie Antoinette that few others have managed to accomplish. This is a page turner, and well worth the read!
Loved this book, I know its not historically correct but never the less I loved it, Could imagine how they were dressed and what life might have been like. Would recommend to any one who likes historical novels
An overwhelmingly intimate portrait of France's last, ill-fated queen, "Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette" is also one of the finest historical novels I've ever read. The book begins with the 14-year-old Marie's trade-off to France and ends with her execution, so any and all events in the woman's life are covered throughout the narrative. Told in first person through many short chapters, divided further into five acts in the tradition of a Shakespearean tragedy (the perfect word to describe Antoinette's life), the novel offers views into Marie Antoinette's internal conflicts as she tries desperately to fulfill her roles as princess and eventually Queen of France, all while growing up and living in one of the most outrageously opulent palaces in Europe. Court gossip, fashion and food, and sexual scandal are all present, as are the more quiet moments of the Queen's life. The picture author Sena Jeter Naslund conjures up is of a typical woman trying to be the best wife, mother, and woman she can be. This is a truly sympathetic book and reveals how Marie Antoinette was at most a scapegoat for the rightfully-angry French citizenship to blame. If you're at all interested in Marie Antoinette, be sure to give this fantastically-written historical fiction novel a read!