Marie Antoinette The Journey Author:Antonia Fraser France’s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous “Let them eat cake,” was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this esse... more »ntially lighthearted, privileged, but otherwise unremarkable child was thrust into an unparalleled time and place, and was commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in history. Antonia Fraser’s lavish and engaging portrait of Marie Antoinette, one of the most recognizable women in European history, excites compassion and regard for all aspects of her subject, immersing the reader not only in the coming-of-age of a graceful woman, but also in the unraveling of an era.« less
I had read a book on Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI when I was much younger, so I had an understanding of the subject matter. When I saw the movie with Kirsten Dunst, I wanted to read Antonia Fraser's version, since I enjoyed the movie so much. I must say that I enjoyed this book MUCH better than the first. The detail in her research is incredible and she does, indeed, bring the court to life. Even though one understands the French peoples necessity in a revolution (they were literally starving, etc), Fraser shows you the human side of the royalties involved. It broke my heart to see how they were ultimately treated in the end. Upon finishing this book, I had lots to think about. BTW, I read it while I was in Paris and touring Versailles at the same time as reading about the court life there in action was an amazing experience!!
This is a an excellent biography of Marie Antoinette that reads like a fiction novel. The details of the court at Versailles and Marie Antoinette's life-- from her marriage at 14 to her death by guillotine-- are fascinating. I could not put this book down!
I'd never swap this book, but I accidentally bought two (that's how much I enjoyed it). A fact-filled and well-written biography of the famous French queen. Used as the basis for the recent movie. Lots of pictures included.
This wonderful book does something I wasn't sure would happen with any Marie Antoinette biography; it humanizes her and makes you empathize with her.
We learn what it was like in the Viennese court of MA's mother, Empress Maria Teresa of Austria. MA's was a happy childhood, but as she got older, her childhood became marred with the pain of separation. The death of her father and a sister, and then the feelings associated with the Habsburg daughters being married off to their respective royal grooms, including Marie Antoinette herself.
When Marie Antoinette arrives in Versailles, she has a lot of youthful problems. Cattiness from the other women of the royal court, Louis Auguste (later to become Louis XVI).
This is explored, as well as Marie's years as she grows into a mature young woman and mother of four.
However, something was rotten in the state of France. Poverty, hunger and general unrest cause the French public to take a closer look into MA's personal indulgences, a fault of hers that Fraser is willing to admit as much, but Fraser also presents evidence that MA was trying to tone down her conspicuous consumption, and also had a heart for the poor.
The later chapters deal with the royal family's arrests, escape attempts, and the eventual executions of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and many people they cared about during the Reign of Terror. We learn what became of the two children that survived MA.
Finally, one recurring theme is the exploration of why MA was so reviled by the non-aristocratic French. Fraser makes the compelling arguement that MA was simply an easy scapegoat, as she was a foreign-born princess from a country that often had designs on removing French sovereignity.