Page turner. Nice historical fiction. An even better "diary" account of Marie Antoinette is "The Queen's Confession" by Victoria Holt. Erickson's version is a lighter read, and casts a very sympathetic hue on MA and her tragic life.
This book was a joy to read and easy to understand even if you are not up on all of your historical facts. I was surprised to see how much of the book was really true. Very few of the details were fictional. A quick read and very interesting.
I loved this book. I'm a fan of historical fiction, and this book satisfied; I felt as though I learned something about Marie Antoinette and life in France during that time AND I was completely caught up in a very engaging story!
I think a friend recommended the book to me and I thought it sounded interesting. Carolly Erickson was very new to me and I think I might just look into other books by her. She gives this feel that she isn't the one that is writing but rather Queen Mary Antoinette. It really feels like the Queens diary.
You get to experience life through Marie Antoinette's eyes as a young girl before her betrothal to Prince Louis (later King Louis the VXI). We get to see her perspective on meeting Louis for the first time and his awkward social skills. She continually relates Louis inability to act as King along with the poor decisions being made on a regular basis, many things she contributes to unknowingly or without full understanding. You do get the impression that as young as she was, she didn't understand the predicament she had gotten herself into until it was too late.
I can't say I knew much about Marie Antoinette before I started reading this book, or her children, except that she was beheaded by the guillotine. Because of my lack of knowledge I read up on her, her son, the downfall of her and her husbands reign and the time leading up to their deaths.
No one can say that they were a good ruling monarchy. In fact, from everything you read you begin to realize that Louis was a very poor monarch and Marie Antoinette pretty much acted the part of a teenager having fun and partying and carrying on. While Louis continued to make poor decisions, in Marie Antoinette's later years she started to realize the problems going on in their monarch and tried to her limited ability to do something but having little experience and next to no allies, there was little she could do.
I think the book accurately accomplishes portraying this fact. While you know what is going to happen to Marie Antoinette you still have a sense of excitement and hope at all the escape attempts and the promises made by Count Fersen (a real life love) to try their best to help her and her children. There are so many moments that really pulled a few tears for me, so of them sad life events and others just the bitter sweet finality of history.
While everything written in this "diary" is not true, it seems that Carolly Erickson did her best to portray Marie Antoinette's world and entries with as much true facts as possible. And while some characters are made up to add something to the story, a lot of the people in the story were actual people in Marie Antoinette's life.
This book is well worth the time it takes to read it.
I have never read a historical fiction before, but I really enjoyed this. I liked the diary-written format and enjoyed my daily lunch break reading. I may even look for the recommended book "Diary and Correspondence of Count Axel Fersen."
Interesting perspective...I enjoyed it for a change. It did, however, leave me somewhat unfulfilled...wanting to know more about Marie Antoinette. Maybe that is what literature is supposed to do though?!
Very good book and a fast read! A really different (and refreshing) perspective of Marie Antionette and how she lived. You'll find yourself wishing for a better outcome at the end - even though we all know history can't be changed. Highly recommended!
I absolutely loved reading this book! I a a great fictional adventure with Marie Antoinette. I felt that reading through it that the events that happened and what she wrote in her diary could have been true.
One of those books that even you know what the outcome will be, makes you want to keep reading. Good descriptions of the court prior to and including the French Revolution!!!Also, the alliance with Austria!
I gave the book 3 stars because it seemed a bit fluffy for my taste and it also seemed like the author took a bit too much liberty with the facts. I did like learning more about Marie Antoinette and it has motivated me to learn more about her.
I found this to be an unrealistic imagining of Marie Antoinette's life. The portrayal of Antoinette was flat and one-dimensional. A shame, since she was perhaps one of the most complex and interesting historical figures in the courts of Europe. While the factual historical content (births, deaths, etc) was accurate, many of the embellished details (the way her secret romances were conducted) were not exactly believable, or even compelling. For me, this book was caught somewhere between historical fiction and fluffy romance novel, not really committed to being one or the other, and therefore not satisfying.
I'm slowly reading this one, drawing it out to enjoy it for as long as I can. This is written like an actual diary, which makes it so much fun! Who doesn't like snooping in someone elses diary? [ I'm the youngest of 6, don't judge me. ]So it sorta feels as if you're actually snooping into Marie Antoinette's personal diary.
I loved this book and, not surprisingly, it was far better than the TV movie that was based upon it. Marie's voice was clear, emotional, strong and vibrant. You could see her child-like qualities, how she evolved and grew with age and experience and understand her perspective on the times. Too bad her husband, the King, was such a dolt and didn't take her warnings and council seriously or she might of lived to see her grandchildren.
This was an enjoyable, light historical fiction read. If you are looking for a meaty, comprehensive HF read on Marie Antoinette this will probably disappoint. But if you are being introduced to Marie Antoinette or the French Revolution this should be a perfect fit. This reminded me of Robin Maxwell's The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn.
Erickson's use of the diary format gives you the immediacy of being transported to the French courts. The picking of fabrics for gowns, the elaborate hair designs, the embroidered slippers, all these frivolous but joyful things that help Marie Antoinette cope with the disappointments of her marriage and trying to fit in at this foreign court and its workings. Erickson does paint a sympathetic figure but does not shy away from showing how out of touch she was with the common people, both her lack of understanding and sympathy and her belief from birth that royalty are indeed above the people. Erickson lets us see her growth from a young woman, girl really, to a wife who grows genuinely fond of her husband and a loving mother. Her maturation and acceptance of what is happening is compelling and poignant for the reader.
This book is written in the format of a diary (hence the title). Marie Antoinette tells us her story as it happens. Now since this IS historical fiction there are characters that are made up (such as Eric, Amelie and Sophie) to make the story run smoothly. I thought that Erickson did a good job at that. The characters she added just enhanced the"true" story.
Marie Antoinette is married to Louis XVI when she is only 14 years old. It was a very well know fact that the marriage was not consummated for nearly seven years. The result of this is that the citizens starting printing pamphlets that were centered on the queen finding sexual relief in others (men and women). To make herself feel better, Marie engrosses herself in fashion, buying the newest dresses, shoes and gloves. Louis is historically noted for being weak and cowardly and in Erickson's book she really shows how Marie Antoinette has to treat him as a child and not a husband.
During this time, France's debt is steadily increasing. Their debt from the Seven Years' War still hadn't been paid and now they were embroiled in Great Britain's war in the North American colonies. Erickson describes the life of the normal citizen and it isn't pretty. There are fights over bread and people living in filth. Yet Marie Antoinette continues to redecorate and buy dresses which further infuriates the people (wouldn't you be upset?)
As we know, Marie Antoinette's marriage is eventually consummated and children are born. She continues her affair with Count Axel von Fersen during the entire marriage which fueled the rumors of illegitimacy of the children. Erickson's character Amelie (the bitter wife of a childhood friend) does bear some similarities to Jeanne of Valois-Saint-Remy who was known to be a big enemy of hers. She was imprisoned and then escaped and published pamphlets about her supposed sexual encounters with Marie Antoinette.
Of course as we know, the French Revolution began. The royal family was imprisoned and both Louis and Marie were executed by the guillotine. During the entire story we read about the many different attempts and plans to rescue the family. The one plan that Louis finally gave into unfortunately didn't work because of his indecisiveness. Since he couldn't decide who would play what character, they were late in departing and were caught within 24 hours. It will always make me wonder what would have happened if Louis would have left France when things started going downhill or if the rescue attempt did work. What if Marie Antoinette left with Count Axel? How different would France be today?
This was a great book. Erickson tells a fantastic story of Marie Antoinette. Even with the added "stuff" that comes with historical fiction, she doesn't overdo it.
I liked this book and read it quickly. I didn't think it was as good as Phillipa Gregory's Tudor series, but a good book nonetheless. I've read others by this author and always find them to be interesting good books.
I became totally engrossed in this novel...once I started reading I couldn't put it down and read it in one day! I thought the author did a really great job of "maturing" Marie Antoinette through the journal entries which start before she marries Louis and ends when she is taken to the guillotine. According to the author's note, she did quite a bit of research into the queen's life...I have to trust her on this as I admit to not being a Marie Antoinette scholar...so often it's hard to separate fact from fiction in regards to her life. My favorite characters from the book were Axel, Eric, and de la Tour. And I actually found myself like Marie Antoinette, which I kind of found surprising.
Kimberley H. reviewed The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette on
This is a very good book. I'm sure it took some liberties with history, but that just made Marie Antoinette more likable in the story. Even though you know how the book will end, you find yourself wishing for a different ending.