By Kathryn Davies
Houghton Mifflin Company
We meet Marie Antoinette at the age of 14 on her way from Austria to France to marry the Dauphin, Louis. She is young, anxious, and completely unprepared for what her life will be. She soon finds herself married to young man who has more interest in locks than in her. Her position is precarious without an heir, as her mother constantly reminds her. To distract herself, she spends her time gambling away a French fortune.
In time, her and Louis find a happy companionship but before they are able to figure out their roles or who they are, they are crowned king and queen of France. Unable to handle the weight of ruling, France begins to crumble as they do nothing but watch.
I love reading about Marie Antoinette. She’s a tragic figure with so many rumors surrounding her any one in itself can be a story. I was expecting more of the same with this book and I found it, however, I also found an interesting re-telling of a story I was already familiar with. Told from Marie Antoinette’s point of view, you see the odd aloofness, the sense of confusion, sadness, and her need to be loved by her husband. I felt bad for her and, at the same time, completely intrigued and dumbfounded by her actions.
Interspersed throughout the story are small plays. People enter stage left and right and it’s almost as if you’re overhearing a whispered conversation in the palace with these short asides. It’s effective and broke up the story just enough to keep my interest. The book wasn’t what I was expecting and that was a nice surprise.