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.
I found it to be a very entertaining read but it is certainly for enjoyment only and you will probably enjoy it more if you are not very familiar with the history of Marie Antoinette. If you are looking for historically accurate references, you should look elsewhere.
One of the biggest disappointments for me was that the entire Diamond Necklace Affair scandal of the 1780's was not included. This had to have been one of the biggest scandals of that time and it was one of the things I was interested in reading about from Marie's Diary point of view. I have an interest in history as well as fiction and enjoy incorporating the two and therefore was looking forward to this read. The book was rather frivolous (perhaps a bit like Marie Antoinette herself) but it was not all bad and enjoyed the backdrop of the French Revolution as well as the events leading up to Marie Antoinette being beheaded.
The author paints a more sympathetic picture of the Queen as perhaps since it was her diary, she did not realize how frivolous and extravagant she was while her subjects were suffering and starving to death.
It would have been a much better read if the author had input more historical relevance and not relied so heavily on the fiction aspect.
All in all, it was entertaining and if you are looking for a fast read and entertaining book and not any kind of historical relevance, than you should give this book a read.
Rating 3 out of 5