Thursday, May 1

Book Review: Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Author: Michelle Moran
Title: Madame Tussaud
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, War
Pages: 446
First Published: February 15th, 2011
Where I Got It: On my shelf (won in giveaway)

"Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away
from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
 
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse √Člisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
 
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and caf√©s across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
 
Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror,Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom."


This book has been sitting on my shelf for WAY too long. I am ashamed to say this. However, I have finally dusted this off and sat down with it. 

From page one I was absolutely in love. Rarely does one come across a book during this time period that really brings the Reign of Terror alive. Generally, the author will briefly skip over it or you only catch glimpses from Marie Antoinette's eyes or whoever. Marie seen all. She was not rich or an aristocratic who hide. To survive she went to all the beheadings and even had to mold someone the famous heads. She truly lived through it and even went to jail at one point, because she refused to mold anymore heads. I felt so bad for her. She truly was in the center of both worlds; she was from the streets of the lower class (due to the salon of wax she was able to be higher up) and she was discovered by the royal family and made to be Princess Elisabeth's art tutor. It was a fine line she walked, but she managed and lived. This is not a spoiler, because her wax salons are world wide and she known throughout the world!


I guess one would cal me a royalist, but I truly was rooting for the royal family. I know....it is pointless, because we all know how this tale ends, but ooooh I do wish it could have been different. It's so sad, because the King and Queen were naive. None told them the true truth of what was going on with the peasants. They had no real idea about how bad it was. The King believed in the good of his people. The Queen tried to appease everyone, but in the end she failed. She tried to be the most fashionable for the court, but then the poor ridiculed her and blamed her for the economy. When she tried to economize and wear no jewelry, the court ridiculed her and the poor didn't care. It's truly tragic. Especially what happens to little Louis-Charles. :(

Truly, I could ramble about this book all day. I honestly should make my book club read this when my turn to pick comes. hehehehe. 

In the end, I loved this book. It was dark, but hope was there. Perhaps not for the royal family, but it was there for Marie and her family and the salon. Michelle Moran did an amazing job and I look forward to read more of her novels! I recommend this for those that love history or even just a good book! I can see this transforming people into historical fiction nuts like me. Well, out of five stars I grant this 5 stars. ^.^

Favorite Character(s): Marie, Henri (d'awwwwe), Marie Antoinette, Princess Elisabeth, Camille (even though he was on the other side), and Wolfgang.
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Robespierre (a snake and evil. I would spit on him), Marat, Edmund, and Francois.


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