counter create hit Abundance - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Abundance

Availability: Ready to download

"Like everyone, I am born naked." With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, the youn "Like everyone, I am born naked." With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, the young queen's life is joyful, poignant, and harrowing by turns. As her world of unprecedented royal splendor crumbles, the charming Marie Antoinette matures into a heroine of inspiring stature, one whose nobility arises not from the circumstance of her birth but from her courageous spirit. Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas, the young queen embraces her new family and the French people, and she is embraced in return. Eager to be a good wife and strong queen, she shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he repeatedly fails to consummate their marriage and in doing so, fails to give her the thing she—and the people of France—desires most: a child and an heir to the throne. Deeply disappointed and isolated in her own intimate circle apart from the social life of the court, the queen allows herself to remain ignorant of the country's growing economic and political crises. She entrusts her soul to her women friends, her music teacher, her hairdresser, the ambassador from Austria, and a certain Swedish count so handsome that admirers label him "the Picture." When her innocent and well-chaperoned pilgrimage to watch the sun rise is viciously misrepresented in satiric pamphlets as a drunken orgy, the people begin to turn against her. Poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge as the royal family and many nobles are caught up in a murderous time known as "the Terror." With penetrant insight into new historical scholarship and with wondrous narrative skill, Naslund offers an intimate, fresh, and dramatic re-creation of this compelling woman that goes beyond popular myth. Abundance reveals a compassionate and spontaneous Marie Antoinette who rejected the formality and rigid protocol of the court; an enchanting and tenderhearted outsider who was loved by her adopted homeland and people until she became the target of revolutionary cruelty and violence; a dethroned queen whose depth of character sustained her in even the worst of times. Once again, Sena Jeter Naslund has shed new light on an important moment of historical change and made that time as real to us as the one we are living now. Exquisitely detailed, beautifully written, heartbreaking and powerful, Abundance is a novel that is impossible to put down.


Compare

"Like everyone, I am born naked." With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, the youn "Like everyone, I am born naked." With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, the young queen's life is joyful, poignant, and harrowing by turns. As her world of unprecedented royal splendor crumbles, the charming Marie Antoinette matures into a heroine of inspiring stature, one whose nobility arises not from the circumstance of her birth but from her courageous spirit. Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas, the young queen embraces her new family and the French people, and she is embraced in return. Eager to be a good wife and strong queen, she shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he repeatedly fails to consummate their marriage and in doing so, fails to give her the thing she—and the people of France—desires most: a child and an heir to the throne. Deeply disappointed and isolated in her own intimate circle apart from the social life of the court, the queen allows herself to remain ignorant of the country's growing economic and political crises. She entrusts her soul to her women friends, her music teacher, her hairdresser, the ambassador from Austria, and a certain Swedish count so handsome that admirers label him "the Picture." When her innocent and well-chaperoned pilgrimage to watch the sun rise is viciously misrepresented in satiric pamphlets as a drunken orgy, the people begin to turn against her. Poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge as the royal family and many nobles are caught up in a murderous time known as "the Terror." With penetrant insight into new historical scholarship and with wondrous narrative skill, Naslund offers an intimate, fresh, and dramatic re-creation of this compelling woman that goes beyond popular myth. Abundance reveals a compassionate and spontaneous Marie Antoinette who rejected the formality and rigid protocol of the court; an enchanting and tenderhearted outsider who was loved by her adopted homeland and people until she became the target of revolutionary cruelty and violence; a dethroned queen whose depth of character sustained her in even the worst of times. Once again, Sena Jeter Naslund has shed new light on an important moment of historical change and made that time as real to us as the one we are living now. Exquisitely detailed, beautifully written, heartbreaking and powerful, Abundance is a novel that is impossible to put down.

30 review for Abundance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    This was an audiobook and I enjoyed it so very much! It was beautifully written, very poetic. Marie was only 14 when she was married off to the prince of Austria to fulfill the promise of a French-Austrian alliance. At the beginning the people of France loved her. She was a singular beauty and her husband was gentle and young, coming after the reign of his grandfather who was a dictator and a man abhorred by many people for his constant contingency of females and his lack of interest in correcti This was an audiobook and I enjoyed it so very much! It was beautifully written, very poetic. Marie was only 14 when she was married off to the prince of Austria to fulfill the promise of a French-Austrian alliance. At the beginning the people of France loved her. She was a singular beauty and her husband was gentle and young, coming after the reign of his grandfather who was a dictator and a man abhorred by many people for his constant contingency of females and his lack of interest in correcting the conditions that the common people were struggling with. As the years worse on fights were fought, citizens began to hate the royalty for it's constant show of personal abundance and lack of help for the poor. In the end they were all slaughtered including Marie Antoinette, her children ultimately also died. This was a time period that I was not very familiar with so I learned a lot here. The character of Marie Antoinette seemed to be a tragic story of a young girl who was thrown into a country and culture that she didn't really understand or like. I enjoyed the descriptions of life then, the incredible amount of money that the royalty spent on themselves without care of the peasants. They also didn't seem to see the tremendous rebellion that was coming, or they chose to ignore it. Very good historical fiction, beautiful writing. **I would recommend this book to any lovers of historical fiction, one of my all time favorites**

  2. 5 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    We begin at the age of 14, the innocence and exuberance of the first days of entering France. Her affection and friendship are immediate for her husband, Louis, the dauphin. Days are spent in splendor: hunting, shopping, gossiping, etc. There seems to be nothing serious occurring in her life until the death of the current king, Louis XV, creating her husband the reigning monarch and herself queen. But even then finances are far from her mind. This is the point when I realize that Jutland had dec We begin at the age of 14, the innocence and exuberance of the first days of entering France. Her affection and friendship are immediate for her husband, Louis, the dauphin. Days are spent in splendor: hunting, shopping, gossiping, etc. There seems to be nothing serious occurring in her life until the death of the current king, Louis XV, creating her husband the reigning monarch and herself queen. But even then finances are far from her mind. This is the point when I realize that Jutland had decided to proscribe to the belief that Marie Antoinette was a wastrel bubblehead, which is actually historically exaggerated. Jutland uses simplistic language and basic sentence structure. High intelligence level is definitely not needed to enjoy this book. It glosses over the main events of her life: her wedding and coronation; her supposed affair with Fersen; the Necklace Affair; the birth of her children, etc. The style is almost a dictation to a diary, first person.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    With this book I got into the head of Marie Antoinette. The author did all the research and based on the known facts delivered what she thought was going on in Marie Antoinette's head. She convinced me. At the end of the book is a list of source material, "A Brief Timeline of Events" and an interesting conversation with the author. Don't skip this; it is really good. The historical facts are clearly presented. You follow Marie from her coming to France as a naïve fourteen year old to her death at With this book I got into the head of Marie Antoinette. The author did all the research and based on the known facts delivered what she thought was going on in Marie Antoinette's head. She convinced me. At the end of the book is a list of source material, "A Brief Timeline of Events" and an interesting conversation with the author. Don't skip this; it is really good. The historical facts are clearly presented. You follow Marie from her coming to France as a naïve fourteen year old to her death at the guillotine. Toinette, as she is affectionately called by those close to her, has been maligned by history; I appreciated hearing a more balanced view. I empathized with her. I saw how she matured. I really did suffer with her when she couldn't become pregnant, through no fault of her own. That struggle felt very real to me, and when her husband, the Dauphin, finally did become aroused the author's lines beautifully portray the conception. You understood why before she had turned to gambling and frivolity. Quite simply, I like the sensual writing. I like the clear presentation of the historical facts. Never are they boringly presented. I believe we see here Marie Antoinette's view of what happened around her in the years leading up to her death. For me, only through empathy with historical characters does history become meaningful. ********************** After 20 pages: Some authors fit some readers. I very much like how this author writes. Mmm mmm, good stuff. I like the descriptive lines. I feel that I am in young Antoinette's head. I see her world from her point of view. This author studies the known facts and does not change them. Antoinette did not say, when told that the people of eighteenth century France were starving, "If they have no bread then let them eat cake!", and consequently that is not to be found in this book. What is found are the lines she did say. I have stupidly put off reading this book b/c royalty and historical fiction so often disappoint me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marin

    This was a very thin book -- interesting, but thin. And I don't mean it was a slim volume of delicate prose. It was watery and lacked important detail and missed the ambition of Naslund's "Ahab's Wife." With so many interesting and picturesque moments during the pre-French Revolution years, with all the excess and religious upheaval and all the parallels and differences betwixt the American and French Revolutions, Naslund chose to focus on Marie Antoinette's wardrobe and constant remodeling of var This was a very thin book -- interesting, but thin. And I don't mean it was a slim volume of delicate prose. It was watery and lacked important detail and missed the ambition of Naslund's "Ahab's Wife." With so many interesting and picturesque moments during the pre-French Revolution years, with all the excess and religious upheaval and all the parallels and differences betwixt the American and French Revolutions, Naslund chose to focus on Marie Antoinette's wardrobe and constant remodeling of various estates and apartments. When Louis XVI is taken from his family, there is no sense of loss, pain or fright for the reader. When Toinette herself is taken to the guillotine, it is anticlimactic. A fairly constant theme in books I don't care for is unsympathetic characters. Unsympathetic may not even be the best word, but books in which I simply don't give a damn about the characters. I don't love them, hate them, cheer for their triumph or demise. With a larger-than-life character with all the legend of Marie Antoinette, it may be more difficult to make her so dull than it would have been to make me love her or hate her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Letitia

    While astutely researched and poetically written, this basic issue with this book is that hardly anything happens in it 600 pages. Though highly sympathetic to Marie Antoinette, it failed to endear me to her throughout the course of the novel, and I was relieved upon her final beheading that I had, at least, finished this ponderous and meandering portrayal of a far more exotic and scandalous woman than is to be found anywhere in the pages of "Abundance." While astutely researched and poetically written, this basic issue with this book is that hardly anything happens in it 600 pages. Though highly sympathetic to Marie Antoinette, it failed to endear me to her throughout the course of the novel, and I was relieved upon her final beheading that I had, at least, finished this ponderous and meandering portrayal of a far more exotic and scandalous woman than is to be found anywhere in the pages of "Abundance."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Drawing from the same perspectival material as Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, this treatment of Marie Antoinette's life paints a sympathetic picture of France's girl queen. Unfortunately, it's also a boring one. Since Naslund's take is almost identical to Coppola's (sometimes eerily so), I recommend skipping the 600-page snoozefest and going with the two-hour movie, which at least features pretty dresses and New Wave tunes. Drawing from the same perspectival material as Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, this treatment of Marie Antoinette's life paints a sympathetic picture of France's girl queen. Unfortunately, it's also a boring one. Since Naslund's take is almost identical to Coppola's (sometimes eerily so), I recommend skipping the 600-page snoozefest and going with the two-hour movie, which at least features pretty dresses and New Wave tunes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    4.5 stars for the sweeping epic life story of Marie Antoinette, so beautifully told by Sena Jeter Naslund. I just loved this. For lovers of historical fiction, Sena is a beautiful writer. I hadn't known much at all about Marie Antoinette, but wasn't she a wonderful character? One can really see her inner mind, as these events were forming around her. She became queen at 14 years old. The book opens with this wonderful image of how the ceremony begins on an island between the two countries, where 4.5 stars for the sweeping epic life story of Marie Antoinette, so beautifully told by Sena Jeter Naslund. I just loved this. For lovers of historical fiction, Sena is a beautiful writer. I hadn't known much at all about Marie Antoinette, but wasn't she a wonderful character? One can really see her inner mind, as these events were forming around her. She became queen at 14 years old. The book opens with this wonderful image of how the ceremony begins on an island between the two countries, where one literally steps out of Austrian fashion, naked, into new clothes, a new name, and into a new country, into royalty. Thus begins a 14 year olds journey, where she becomes Marie Antoinette, devoted to her new country and new people, leaving the country and family of her birth. I never knew about the affair with the necklace, that appears to have many books written about that unfortunate time in history. The main point, is to illustrate that the French were growing exceedingly uncomfortable about their economy, and the citizens were starving, while the Royal court appeared to have great excess. This account depicts both Louis and Marie as trying to respond adequately and thoughtfully to the needs of the country, while unrest and anger and revolutionaries spoke out against the monarchy. In this rendition, the royals did everything they could to work with the needs of a quickly changing country, while the people felt more and more unrest, and increasing rage and disloyalty. The necklace seemed to be a whole part of that story. In the end, Louis and Marie both met an untimely end, due to the fervor growing in the country. Even then, they were loving patriots, and cared deeply for their citizens. Marie loved her husband, and showed great loyalty to him, but she also developed another great love later in her young life, who was a male best friend. He was a confidant, soulmate, and twin. In this rendering, nothing untoward happens with this man, who was a favorite and good friend to both the couple at the court. But of course, this friendship is depicted horribly from the eyes of the constituency. Or at least that she ran around gaily, while others starved. It was a pure friendship, but a deep love nonetheless. How refreshing to remember a time, when one can have a pure deep love in their lives, with no need to act on it and to destroy the life one's built. But to have it in one's life as a fulfilling dimension. I think that would be rare to exist these days, and I thought it was just lovely.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I've just begun this book, and--contrary to some reviews--I love the measured voice. It's beautifully written, beautifully observed. I loved Ahab's Wife, as well, and Abundance has that same remarkable quality of pulling you gently into another world. Sena Jeter Naslund is a wonderful writer. I've just begun this book, and--contrary to some reviews--I love the measured voice. It's beautifully written, beautifully observed. I loved Ahab's Wife, as well, and Abundance has that same remarkable quality of pulling you gently into another world. Sena Jeter Naslund is a wonderful writer.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    Marie Antoinette has intrigued me for years and I have read countless books about her, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Told in diary form, this book provides a rare, intimate insight into the life of the Queen; her most private thoughts and feelings from the moment she steps onto French land at the young age of fourteen, to the moment she meets her tragic fate. Although it is fiction, it's clear that the author did her homework and based much of what she wrote on actual documentati Marie Antoinette has intrigued me for years and I have read countless books about her, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Told in diary form, this book provides a rare, intimate insight into the life of the Queen; her most private thoughts and feelings from the moment she steps onto French land at the young age of fourteen, to the moment she meets her tragic fate. Although it is fiction, it's clear that the author did her homework and based much of what she wrote on actual documentations and letters written by Marie Antoinette herself. I loved the light in which Naslund portrayed the highly misunderstood Queen (no, she did NOT really utter the words, "Let them eat cake"). Every sentence in this book is beautiful, poetic, graceful, and carefully constructed, making it even more of a pleasure to read and one of the main reasons why I enjoyed it so much. Although towards the end I found myself growing a bit impatient, as it IS lengthier than need be, overall I liked it and would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I liked this book a lot less than I was expecting to. I had read and loved Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits, so I knew I liked the author. But it was kind of like getting stuck talking to someone boring at a party. The book is told in the first person from Marie Antoinette's point-of-view. I don't know if it was Naslund's goal to make her likable or sympathetic, but she came off as self-centered, petty, and oblivious, even if (as Naslund points out in the forward) she didn't actually say "Let them ea I liked this book a lot less than I was expecting to. I had read and loved Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits, so I knew I liked the author. But it was kind of like getting stuck talking to someone boring at a party. The book is told in the first person from Marie Antoinette's point-of-view. I don't know if it was Naslund's goal to make her likable or sympathetic, but she came off as self-centered, petty, and oblivious, even if (as Naslund points out in the forward) she didn't actually say "Let them eat cake." She certainly did make Marie Antoinette seem like a real, albeit flawed, person, though, and maybe that was Naslund's goal all along. Although I did learn a few historical details I didn't know before, she's never been an object of fascination for me (like, say, the Romanovs). And the one detail that I already knew from the Coppola movie--that she had to leave her beloved dog, Mops, behind when she left Austria--was ruined when I learned that when she was reunited with Mops and wasn't very interested in him. Writing fiction about such a well-known historical figure--especially one with such a famous death--presents an interesting challenge because the reader knows what is coming all along. If she'd been written as more likable, I would have been dreading the march towards the Guillotine the whole time, hoping that maybe the author would rewrite history and give her a last-minute fictional pardon. As it was, though, I was really looking forward to the execution. I didn't hate the book, but I was definitely disappointed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    spooky

    this book is so poorly written it makes me want to puke. i got to page five and hurled it across the room. with 600 pages to it's name, it made a loud noise. the opening sequence is of the famous handover of marie to her new party. she describes her nipples in detail, her pubescent body. dude, she's 14. i am not about hearing this. and for no reason. i feel free to criticise naslund's style because i read "ahab's wife" and was equally offended. that's right. offended. in ahab's wife naslund make this book is so poorly written it makes me want to puke. i got to page five and hurled it across the room. with 600 pages to it's name, it made a loud noise. the opening sequence is of the famous handover of marie to her new party. she describes her nipples in detail, her pubescent body. dude, she's 14. i am not about hearing this. and for no reason. i feel free to criticise naslund's style because i read "ahab's wife" and was equally offended. that's right. offended. in ahab's wife naslund makes metaphors out of "she was big and round. the world.. i mean, "mrs. so and so." wtf kind of bass ackwards writing is that? why don't you just stab me in the face and tell me i had a speck on me? Naslund is coming to UofL to do a reading soon. i'll be there with eggs and rotten tomatoes and a great big paper shredder. bring your copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jescee Bennett

    Wow! This book was a struggle for me. At first I hated it, because i didn't like the author's style in writing the story. Once I got used to it, it all fell into place. This story really was good. It's a story about Marie Antoinette and her life as the queen of France until the French Revolution. Throughout the book I felt sorry for her and how misunderstood she was, not only by the people of France, but throughout history. I gained a new respect for her and Louis XVI. This is definitely a perio Wow! This book was a struggle for me. At first I hated it, because i didn't like the author's style in writing the story. Once I got used to it, it all fell into place. This story really was good. It's a story about Marie Antoinette and her life as the queen of France until the French Revolution. Throughout the book I felt sorry for her and how misunderstood she was, not only by the people of France, but throughout history. I gained a new respect for her and Louis XVI. This is definitely a period of history that I am not very familiar with, but having read this book I am interested to find out more. Definitely a book worth reading for those that love history.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane Greene

    This book was difficult in the beginning. Since it is written as spoken by Marie Antoinette it was filled with statements starting with "I". At first it was quite redundant and then I began to realize it was a brilliant way to tell her story...in a self-centered way. The author does a wonderful job telling how Marie's life was very sheltered and lavish. She portrays Marie as an innocent naive young girl going from her very restricted and sheltered environment as a child, to meeting her new count This book was difficult in the beginning. Since it is written as spoken by Marie Antoinette it was filled with statements starting with "I". At first it was quite redundant and then I began to realize it was a brilliant way to tell her story...in a self-centered way. The author does a wonderful job telling how Marie's life was very sheltered and lavish. She portrays Marie as an innocent naive young girl going from her very restricted and sheltered environment as a child, to meeting her new country and husband as a young 14 year old child. Yes, Marie did love beautiful extravagant "things" but that was what she was provided with and what could be deemed as "normal" in her world. I grew to admire her since she was able to see beyond her beautiful, glittered life to the plight of the common people around her. Naslund does a very nice job of showing Marie's growth from the child to a woman who truly loves her husband, her children and the people of France despite their cruel gossip and views of her as their queen. Even though I knew what tragic fate awaited her, I found myself hoping for her survival. Here was a woman who was generous of heart, who was able to maintain dignity and strength even when stripped of her children and wealthy trappings. My childhood memories of Marie's history were of a woman who took the food from her people's mouths to pay for elaborate clothes and hairstyles and uttered "let them eat cake". This book reveals the true person behind the name Marie Antoinette. I truly enjoyed the author's lavish and poetic dialog used to tell Marie's thoughts.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    This book was ok. It was ok in the beginning, ok in the middle, and ok at the end. Honestly, nothing about this book really stood out to me. It was interesting learning more about the time period and sort of about the lifestyle of the court, but I didn't find the story as it was written to be particularly moving. In the beginning of the book, Marie Antoinette is portrayed as this naive, innocent girl whom everyone loves. By the end she is a naive woman who everyone hates. I guess I can see how i This book was ok. It was ok in the beginning, ok in the middle, and ok at the end. Honestly, nothing about this book really stood out to me. It was interesting learning more about the time period and sort of about the lifestyle of the court, but I didn't find the story as it was written to be particularly moving. In the beginning of the book, Marie Antoinette is portrayed as this naive, innocent girl whom everyone loves. By the end she is a naive woman who everyone hates. I guess I can see how it would seem she was sincere in some of her gestures, like trying to bail all of her friends out of debt, but come on. Enough is enough. I really wanted to feel bad for her but sometimes I really didn't. I did feel bad at the end because it does seem that she was beheaded for no good reason. One thing that drove me nuts was the flowery language that the author used. I don't know if she was writing that way because she thought that's how Marie Antoinette would have talked, and it was in her voice, but I felt it was a bit over the top. One thing that was interesting about this book is that it approached the topic of the French Revolution from the perspective of the royals. Most works of fiction about the French Revolution that I have read have been from the perspective of the revolutionaries. So it was interesting to see a different side. This book did make me more curious about the French Revolution in general. Maybe I'll finally read Les Miserables.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    An utterly delicious and satisfying read. Of course, given the book is about Marie Antoinette, we all know how it ends. But I really loved the buildup. This book is long as it takes us from when she first goes to France at 14 all the way up to her death. But it was a very fast read. Some of the viewpoints feel immature/childish but it's written from her POV so I think it's intentional given how young she was when this all began to unfold. There was a lot I didn't know about her and her marriage, An utterly delicious and satisfying read. Of course, given the book is about Marie Antoinette, we all know how it ends. But I really loved the buildup. This book is long as it takes us from when she first goes to France at 14 all the way up to her death. But it was a very fast read. Some of the viewpoints feel immature/childish but it's written from her POV so I think it's intentional given how young she was when this all began to unfold. There was a lot I didn't know about her and her marriage, so this filled in the gaps. There were definitely a few scenes that progressed time but not the story, which is why this is just short of 5 stars. But, overall, I just adored this book and was constantly sneaking in pages whenever I could.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Just arrived from US trough BM. It took me some time to go through the plot of this book. The beginning was a little boring since Antoinette's story was interlaced quite a lot with her mother's letters. The plot flows more naturally after Marie Therese death. Since I've already read Antonia Fraser's book, both stories are complementary in the sense that in Fraser's story, Antoinette biography is ended by the Royal family escape to Varennes and in Naslund's her prison and execution is described in Just arrived from US trough BM. It took me some time to go through the plot of this book. The beginning was a little boring since Antoinette's story was interlaced quite a lot with her mother's letters. The plot flows more naturally after Marie Therese death. Since I've already read Antonia Fraser's book, both stories are complementary in the sense that in Fraser's story, Antoinette biography is ended by the Royal family escape to Varennes and in Naslund's her prison and execution is described in details. Another interesting point not mentioned in Fraser's book is her relationship with Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun, a famous painter and portraitist who managed to escape to the fury of the French Revolution.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Noran Miss Pumkin

    So far, lovely reader--very detailed --like a dairy. 15 Cds--was far cheaper than the book-via ebay. June 2nd, 2011. I feel the book would have rated 3 stars, but he lovely reader, via the BBC-makes this love tale of Marie Annoinette a pleasure and a delight to listen to. The florid details of the author, while tiresome when reading, come alive with the audio. I came see the palaces and gardens so easily. I see how Marie started early on causing her later demise. The history is most accurate, and So far, lovely reader--very detailed --like a dairy. 15 Cds--was far cheaper than the book-via ebay. June 2nd, 2011. I feel the book would have rated 3 stars, but he lovely reader, via the BBC-makes this love tale of Marie Annoinette a pleasure and a delight to listen to. The florid details of the author, while tiresome when reading, come alive with the audio. I came see the palaces and gardens so easily. I see how Marie started early on causing her later demise. The history is most accurate, and I have googled along with the audio--learning much along the way. It starts with her literally leaving everything Austrian Behind her-including her dog Mops, and being clad in all that is French prior to entering her new homeland. !5 years old, and at 20 of age a Queen-still a virgin too. The discussion of her spending, her portraits-some done by a lady artist no less. The King finally learning to love her completely and both never cheating physically on the other. It was interesting to learn her eldest daughter survived the executions that took so many heads. She was traded for someone. The florid writing style goes well with how Marie is presented by the author. The reader is 5 stars, the book being 3, had I had to read it. It has been a good learning experience for my hubby and myself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    julianne

    Firstly the picture of the cover of the book does it no justice, it's truly beautiful and textured so that it feels wonderful in the hand. The author is sympathetic to Marie Antoinette even through the period of her worse excesses, this was an okay read. The depth of research is impressive, but ultimately we learn nothing new. At times the voice of Marie Antoinette seemed a little too vapid, too self-centred. Obviously we all know how the story ends but I admit to being bored in the last third o Firstly the picture of the cover of the book does it no justice, it's truly beautiful and textured so that it feels wonderful in the hand. The author is sympathetic to Marie Antoinette even through the period of her worse excesses, this was an okay read. The depth of research is impressive, but ultimately we learn nothing new. At times the voice of Marie Antoinette seemed a little too vapid, too self-centred. Obviously we all know how the story ends but I admit to being bored in the last third of the book and was tempted to put it down.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Npldirector

    An excellent book, I recommend it highly. The author does a marvelous job telling the story from the perspective of Marie Antoinette herself, beginning with the day that she leaves her home in Austria as a very young teenager.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    This extremely thorough but fictionalized account of the life of Marie Antoinette was just ok for me. The dialogue felt dry and the pace was too slow. Also some of the internal dialogue was just odd. The entire birth scene of Madam Royale is just ludicrous. I've had natural childbirth. It's not at all dreamy. It's painful and hardwork. I'd definitely read another book by this author. This extremely thorough but fictionalized account of the life of Marie Antoinette was just ok for me. The dialogue felt dry and the pace was too slow. Also some of the internal dialogue was just odd. The entire birth scene of Madam Royale is just ludicrous. I've had natural childbirth. It's not at all dreamy. It's painful and hardwork. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    JG (Introverted Reader)

    What I knew about Marie Antoinette before reading this book (spoilers ahead if you don't know anything at all about her): She was married to Louis XVI, she said "Let them eat cake," she was queen during the French Revolution, and (possible spoiler here)-------------------------she was beheaded. That was it. Three out of four isn't bad. She never actually said "Let them eat cake." According to the author, it was the wife of Louis XIV, two generations earlier, who said that. So, if you ever win to What I knew about Marie Antoinette before reading this book (spoilers ahead if you don't know anything at all about her): She was married to Louis XVI, she said "Let them eat cake," she was queen during the French Revolution, and (possible spoiler here)-------------------------she was beheaded. That was it. Three out of four isn't bad. She never actually said "Let them eat cake." According to the author, it was the wife of Louis XIV, two generations earlier, who said that. So, if you ever win tons of money on Jeopardy for knowing the correct question to this answer, I expect a small slice of the pie for enlightening you on that point. :-) Okay, seriously, I'm avoiding writing this review, because I'm not going to do the book justice. The whole appeal is how Marie Antoinette just came to life in these pages for me. So she was a real person--it's hard to make characters seem this real, whether they're historical figures or not. In fact, it might be harder when most people just have a vision of a thoughtless queen who wasted money while her people starved. But she was so complex, I just can't even begin to spell it out. I didn't always like her, but she was always real, and I could see how some of what happened was her fault, but some things were beyond her control. I got to the last section, during the revolution, and found myself wanting to drag my feet through it and avoid the unavoidable. But I wanted to see exactly what happened, and Sena Jeter Naslund's writing style is just beautiful to me, so I found myself actually racing through it. And she handled the ending beautifully. I should never have doubted her. The wild emotions going through Marie Antoinette, the disbelief, avoidance, everything just seemed authentic. I guess we can't really know what was going on in her mind, but I can buy this version. I have to say that Sena Jeter Naslund is a beautiful, beautiful writer, but what really impressed me was her foreshadowing in this book. It could have been all clunky, clumsy, and obvious, but instead it was very delicate and deft, and every time I picked up on something, I found myself thinking something along the lines of, "Oh, you are good, Ms. Naslund. Hats off to your artistry." So, I highly, highly recommend this book. I can't believe I let it languish at the bottom of my "borrowed-to-read" pile of books for so long. Don't you do the same.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Florinda

    At the age of fourteen, Princess Maria Antonia of Austria was sent to France to be married to the fifteen-year-old Dauphin (crown prince) Louis Auguste, thus forging an alliance between their countries and re-christening her as the French Dauphine, Marie Antoinette. Such alliances are cemented by producing heirs, but it takes several years and ascension to the throne before this marriage is consummated successfully, and a second pregnancy before a prince is born. The queen-to-be diverts herself At the age of fourteen, Princess Maria Antonia of Austria was sent to France to be married to the fifteen-year-old Dauphin (crown prince) Louis Auguste, thus forging an alliance between their countries and re-christening her as the French Dauphine, Marie Antoinette. Such alliances are cemented by producing heirs, but it takes several years and ascension to the throne before this marriage is consummated successfully, and a second pregnancy before a prince is born. The queen-to-be diverts herself with court life and gambling in the years prior to motherhood, less interested than her husband in reading or learning about the people they rule. When years of poor crops, poverty, and anger at the extravagances of the royal court finally provoke the French people to revolt, the queen never quite believes that their love for the monarchy, who have been chosen by God to rule over them (the "divine right of kings"), could have been so diminished, even as her family and friends are driven into exile, imprisoned, and put to death. Marie Antoinette's public image has been undergoing some favorable revision in the last few years; for one thing, historians have absolved her of that "let them eat cake" quote. This historical novel, narrated in "Toinette's" voice, begins with her journey from Austria to meet her husband and goes to, literally, the end, as the guillotine drops toward her neck. She comes across as fairly likable, sweet, sheltered, and rather clueless, genuinely having little understanding of life outside the court. Her attitude toward the French people seems more oblivious and unaware than venal or malicious, although the agitators among the revolutionaries paint her, and the rest of the aristocracy, as evil. Not many of the supporting characters are very well developed, but that actually seems in character for a first-person narrative about someone who really is the center of her world. The writing itself is a bit pedestrian, and the story drags in spots, but that's probably appropriate in describing lives that are very privileged and to some degree aimless. And as with most fiction built around historical figures, you already know how it has to end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kayte Korwitts

    Even if I hadn't read the author bio, I definitely recognized the power of the poet in this novel. There were several points throughout my reading of this where I stopped after a sentence and repeated it aloud to myself. The prose is glitteringly gorgeous and positively bleeds romance. Naslund's Antoinette is a passive, crystalline creature whose unfailing adherence to etiquette and good manners speaks more to the times she lived in than to the essence of her character. She's distant although em Even if I hadn't read the author bio, I definitely recognized the power of the poet in this novel. There were several points throughout my reading of this where I stopped after a sentence and repeated it aloud to myself. The prose is glitteringly gorgeous and positively bleeds romance. Naslund's Antoinette is a passive, crystalline creature whose unfailing adherence to etiquette and good manners speaks more to the times she lived in than to the essence of her character. She's distant although empathetic to the very end. Naslund's writing style parallels the opulence of 18th century France and the indulgences of her heroine and I definitely believe that without the beauty of the prose, this book would have lost much of its narrative purpose. For after all, Marie Antoinette's life really was not marked by anything exceptional that she had done or that her husband, Louis the XVI had done for their country. Repeating aloud to her ladies-in-waiting and in private to the King that she only wants what's best for France was not enough. The central events that shaped this woman's life of privilege and ennui was what happened to her in the beginning, her transfer from Austria to France and what happened to her in the end, her imprisonment and eventual execution.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kriste

    Not the typical tale of Marie Antoinette. Did you know she didn't actually say "let them eat cake?" I was shocked -- that's all I really knew about Marie Antoinette... well, and the bit about the guillotine. This author portrays her as a kind, loving, compassionate queen, born to love and lead, ultimately giving all for France. I found this book fascinating, more than a little disturbing (in a way I can't completely describe) and actually a page turner, just as the cover promised. Not the typical tale of Marie Antoinette. Did you know she didn't actually say "let them eat cake?" I was shocked -- that's all I really knew about Marie Antoinette... well, and the bit about the guillotine. This author portrays her as a kind, loving, compassionate queen, born to love and lead, ultimately giving all for France. I found this book fascinating, more than a little disturbing (in a way I can't completely describe) and actually a page turner, just as the cover promised.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Quotable: Teeth are a key point in the pantheon of beauty. Drinking their glasses of wine, the others relax and shed their fatigue with the imbibing. Though I am tempted to join them, I remember my promise to my mother, and I know that in this she is right. I will never drink wine. Draw your gaiety from your own heart, she told me, “Be chaste in this matter and you will never regret the pure clarity of your mind.” “Can two people share the same delusion?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. “A hundred can share Quotable: Teeth are a key point in the pantheon of beauty. Drinking their glasses of wine, the others relax and shed their fatigue with the imbibing. Though I am tempted to join them, I remember my promise to my mother, and I know that in this she is right. I will never drink wine. Draw your gaiety from your own heart, she told me, “Be chaste in this matter and you will never regret the pure clarity of your mind.” “Can two people share the same delusion?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. “A hundred can share the same delusion. A thousand, or tens of thousands.” Next, the King is clothed in ways that remind everyone of the union of church and state, in a deacon’s blue dalmatic, and over that is placed the coronation robe, also blue and embroidered in fleur-de-lis, with a lining of ermine. He extends his hand and receives a ring and a scepter. [T]he nobles are outraged at the thought of paying equitable taxes. How can I play my ole – that is to say, how can one maintain her identity without the proper costume? Only a barbarous nation claims execution is justice. I wish that I had chosen to have less so that the people of France might have had more. I wish them happiness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I have always found the story of the last queen of the French monarchy to be nothing less than utterly fascinating. I was not disappointed in the least by this historically-based novel written from Marie Antoinette’s point of view. The voice the author created for her was charming, nuanced, and matured with Marie Antoinette through the beautifully descriptive pages from her introduction at 14 to her untimely death at 37. What particularly struck me was in the end, when Marie was facing imminent I have always found the story of the last queen of the French monarchy to be nothing less than utterly fascinating. I was not disappointed in the least by this historically-based novel written from Marie Antoinette’s point of view. The voice the author created for her was charming, nuanced, and matured with Marie Antoinette through the beautifully descriptive pages from her introduction at 14 to her untimely death at 37. What particularly struck me was in the end, when Marie was facing imminent arrest and likely death, she became so disoriented, first and third person began interchanging, lending a hysterical quality to the clearly tumultuous time. This added a depth of experience that jumped from the page. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who quipped something like, “had there not been a queen, there would have not been a revolution.” What a burden to bear throughout history! I found Naslund’s Antoinette (and, if accurate, likely the real one) clever though naive, charming though fierce, and innocent though ultimately guilty for her own demise. What a contradictory historical figure? Overall, I found it beautifully written and a pleasure to read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  27. 4 out of 5

    Milliebot

    This is one of those books that I enjoyed while reading, but have almost nothing to say about afterward. The writing was good, but there was nothing standout that I feel I need to talk about. If you enjoy reading about Marie Antionette (as I do) then you'll likely find this engaging. It wasn't particularly moving, but it did paint an interesting picture of the Queen. She is spoiled and spends vast amounts of money, yet considers herself economical and did seem to truly care for the people of her This is one of those books that I enjoyed while reading, but have almost nothing to say about afterward. The writing was good, but there was nothing standout that I feel I need to talk about. If you enjoy reading about Marie Antionette (as I do) then you'll likely find this engaging. It wasn't particularly moving, but it did paint an interesting picture of the Queen. She is spoiled and spends vast amounts of money, yet considers herself economical and did seem to truly care for the people of her country. This is a long book though and the print in my edition was fairly small, so while I would read for long periods of time, it felt like I wasn't making any progress. It was one of the slower books I've read this year and even though I enjoyed it, I was also wondering when it would be over. In the end, it's a middle-of-the-road read because I like the subject matter and the writing was decent, but it took too long to get through.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    To say that I disliked the first half of this book would be understatement. I trudged through it from time to time, finding that I severely disliked the queen and disgusted at how the court lived while the commoners of the country was scraping by. I shuddered at their ignorance, perhaps because I know how it ends. Once things started to fall apart around them, I found myself drawn in to the story, like a horror movie where you know that no one will make it to the end. And therein I saw with fres To say that I disliked the first half of this book would be understatement. I trudged through it from time to time, finding that I severely disliked the queen and disgusted at how the court lived while the commoners of the country was scraping by. I shuddered at their ignorance, perhaps because I know how it ends. Once things started to fall apart around them, I found myself drawn in to the story, like a horror movie where you know that no one will make it to the end. And therein I saw with fresh eyes the tragedy of the whole thing, of the madness that swept through France those final months of the queen's life (and did not end with her death) because instead of seeing it from a modern perspective in a history book I found myself transported to the queen's own experiences and thoughts, making it all the more painful. I, who saw the blade said to have be used that day and remained unmoved, find myself heartbroken at the end of this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I would like to have liked this book more. It is subtitled, "a novel of Marie Antoinette," and I didn't know much about her, so I was excited that this was picked for our library's History Book Club. However, I don't think I learned much more about her than I already knew. The novel didn't really, at least for me, give any real sense of the woman. Was she naive and ignorant or cunning and profligate? Did she understand how the people of France felt or just put on a good face when confronted? Did I would like to have liked this book more. It is subtitled, "a novel of Marie Antoinette," and I didn't know much about her, so I was excited that this was picked for our library's History Book Club. However, I don't think I learned much more about her than I already knew. The novel didn't really, at least for me, give any real sense of the woman. Was she naive and ignorant or cunning and profligate? Did she understand how the people of France felt or just put on a good face when confronted? Did she love her husband or just consider him a means to an end? Perhaps the author wants us to ponder these questions, but I don't feel she gave me enough real information upon which to form any answers. I couldn't really tell how the author even felt about her subject. Overall, I was just disappointed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crikkett

    Naslund clearly did very thorough research and consulted primary and secondary nonfiction sources in preparing this novel. As such, it is often an engaging read and seems to present a deep sense of the first-person experiences of Marie Antoinette from the moment just before her entry into France at age fourteen until the instant before her death. As I read, however, I couldn't shake my awareness of how one-sided this narrative is in presenting such a sympathetic picture of an extremely privilege Naslund clearly did very thorough research and consulted primary and secondary nonfiction sources in preparing this novel. As such, it is often an engaging read and seems to present a deep sense of the first-person experiences of Marie Antoinette from the moment just before her entry into France at age fourteen until the instant before her death. As I read, however, I couldn't shake my awareness of how one-sided this narrative is in presenting such a sympathetic picture of an extremely privileged young woman who pursued frivolous and expensive entertainments while the people of her realm starved. This book was also just much longer than it needed to be.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.