Saturday, May 25

Book Review: The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

Author: Carolly Erickson
Title: The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, YA
Pages: 343
First Published: 1997
Where I Got It: Borrowed from Library

*This review can also be seen over at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell*

"Imagine that, on the night before she is to die under the blade of the guillotine, Marie Antoinette leaves behind in her prison cell a diary telling the story of her life—from her privileged childhood as Austrian Archduchess to her years as glamorous mistress of Versailles to the heartbreak of imprisonment and humiliation during the French Revolution. 

Carolly Erickson takes the reader deep into the psyche of France’s doomed queen: her love affair with handsome Swedish diplomat Count Axel Fersen, who risked his life to save her; her fears on the terrifying night the Parisian mob broke into her palace bedroom intent on murdering her and her family; her harrowing attempted flight from France in disguise; her recapture and the grim months of harsh captivity; her agony when her beloved husband was guillotined and her young son was torn from her arms, never to be seen again.

Erickson brilliantly captures the queen’s voice, her hopes, her dreads, and her suffering. We follow, mesmerized, as she reveals every detail of her remarkable, eventful life—from her teenage years when she began keeping a diary to her final days when she awaited her own bloody appointment with the guillotine."

As many of you know Marie Antoinette is my second favorite female historical figure, so I'm bound to be rather skeptical. Yes, knowing the real and true history of the's hard to ignore the obvious (at least to me) inaccuracies. This, like many movies, are made to be overly dramatized and entertaining. Not a history lesson, so taking off my "history goru" hat and just enjoying the story made things 100% better.

I enjoyed the ride that Carolly Erickson presented. I did feel like she hurt the Queen's case more then helped though. She made her seem very selfish and vain. Yes, she was like that in real life, but this version of the Queen was rather different from other versions. Not only was she selfish and vain, but she was annoying at some points. It's hard to explain really, but I was NOT at all a fan of this version of the Queen. Granted it IS suppose to be in diary format, but still...

Also, I was surprised to learn that this falls into the YA category. Interesting...I didn't get the feel of "YA"ish to it. Eh, oh well. 

Even though I wasn't a fan of the Queen that Erickson presented, I must applaud the author for her writing skills. It was lovely and she made the world of France come to life. She made the fictitious and real-life characters blossom to life. I have read another book by Carolly Erickson...I am starting to like her more and more. Perhaps another book is on the horizon. We shall see.

In the end, this was okay. There are A LOT of historical inaccuracies and I wasn't too keen on the version of the Queen the author painted, but it wasn't bad. A nice read for a hot day by the pool. You do get the nice splash of drama, romance, fun, and in the end... tragedy. I would recommend this to open-minded History lovers and for those that like Historical Fiction. I shall stamp this with...mmmmm....(very undecided)...mmmmmm....3 stars.

Favorite Character(s): Count Ferson (such a dreamboat), Louis (can't help but want to pinch his cheeks), Madame de Barry (she always entertains me...I think I may be her for Halloween next year) and Princess Lambelle.
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Marie Antoinette (not too keen on how she was presented) and the Empress (meh)