Friday, May 29

Book Reviews: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Author: Juliet Grey
Title: Becoming Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 418
First Published: Janurary 2011
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?

Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.

Ooooh! What a bittersweet book. It was so hopeful and happy and left me with smile. However, 'tis a bitter smile because I know what is going to happen in the next two books. This book just takes place during her early life. Before marriage and a couple years into her marriage. So this is the point when everyone loves her and France is in an "okay" state. Peasants are still, well, peasants and poor. However, there is hope and things are okay and happy! 

My favorite of all her portaits

My second favorite

DARN YOU JULIET GRAY!!!!!! I wish I didn't know what was going to happen next. 

But yes, this was a lovely story and it was nice to see her time in Austria when she was young and innocent before having to deal with the shitty court. Yes, I call it "shitty", because the people are vicious and mean and just ignorant jerks. Yes, all the royalty back then had issues and a certain disconnect with the peasants, but the late 18th century court of France was the worse. I blame the Sun King. Not a bad king, but his influence trickled down and made the court stagnant and VERY disconnected with the people.

My only issue with this book is that some spots seemed to drag and seemed not worth mentioning at all. These scenes would be vividly described, while other important moments quickly mentioned and moved on. It was annoying, because I wanted some scenes to be better explained!

OOOH holy foreshadows! It marked every other page it seemed. Even someone who had no idea what was to be her doom could sense something bad was upon the horizon. I am not complaining, but it made the book even more bittersweet, because she was so innocent, but she seemed to feel something was going to happen.

Gah. The whole time I wanted to smack her mother, the Empress, because it was so obvious the Fates were trying to stop this marriage. EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG DID GO WRONG! Hell, Marie had to wear braces (which is true), change her hairline, and pray that her period would come (but of course it took its sweet time). Just so many things, that I would have stopped the process and changed the plans. Maybe that is just me. However, the Empress gets what she wants.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book. It has been one of the best novels about Marie Antoinette in a while. I would really like to find a book set in Louis Auguste's POV. That is one POV I have NOT read yet. There were some slow spots, but the rest held my full attention. I totally recommend this to those that like history or just a good people book. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Marie, Charlotte, Lambelle, & Mercy
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Du Barry (I have a love-hate relationship with her, I still want to be her for a Halloween) & the Aunts (Meh)


Anachronist said...

Oh a lovely nice historical fiction! What a pity most of people do know what happened next. Have you heard/read about the affair of the diamond necklace? It was a point from which everything went downward for Marie Antoinette and her public image. I wrote an essay about it not so long ago ;p (shamelessly autopromotion)

Melliane said...

It's great that you had a good time with this one. I haven't tried a book about this topic.

Blodeuedd said...

The cover woman reminds me of someone...

Carole Rae said...

Ana, I have read about that scandal. I still believe that it was not her, but someone acting as her to ruin her image. hahaha I'll have to read that essay!

Melliane :)

B, thats what I keep saying to myself...I just can't put my finger on it.