Monday, October 14, 2013

Confessions of Marie Antoinette - Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
Ballantine, 2013 

Source? the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Why? I only knew the legend...and the controversy behind the legend...I wanted to know more.

What next? I'll be spending some time with Grey's extensive bibliography :)

Golden Lines

They call me l'Autrichenne - the Austrian bitch - but I have been a Frenchwoman since I was fourteen, for longer than many of the rioters are old. (41)

It pains me to live a lie, but I also tell myself every day at Mass when I seek forgiveness for my transgressions that at least we live.  We play our enemies' game, but do so in our own way, so that we don't seem transparently false by appearing overzealous to adopt an ideology we cannot possibly accept or believe in.  (69)

We are lost.
Utterly lost.  And all because in this upside-down world an old man still respects his sovereign. (155)

In my view, the best thing would be a return to absolute monarchy: We are not a nation of shopkeepers like the English. (180)

Louis is more morose than ever.  He spends hours in his library.  His prayer book is never far from his hand and he is rereading the life of Charles I of England, a monarch whose unhappy fate he has always sought to avoid. (196)

That night, the nation's razor, Dr. Guillotin's hideous invention, is moved from the courtyard of the Conciergerie to the center of the Place du Carrousel, directly opposite the central portal of the still smoldering Tuileries Palace. (263)

We are being visited by the slaughter of the innocents.  What has this to do with revolution?  With the formation of a republic from the ashes of monarchy? (278)

"I heard you crying, Maman." Madame Royale tiptoes into my bedchamber and slips under the coverlet beside me.  My thirteen-year-old daughter wraps her arms about my neck, and burrows against me as if she wishes to crawl back inside my body where it is warm and innocent and safe. (284)

I have run out of time. (361)


Confessions of Marie Antoinette walks the reader through the last years of King Louis XVI's reign, the politics of the French Revolution, and The Reign of Terror.  Austrian born, controversial queen, Marie Antoinette lives her last days as a prisoner of the Nation.  

What I Liked

I love the way Grey is able to paint an honest picture of Marie all her high bred such a way that the reader is able to see her through the eyes of her birthright and a monarchy amidst Revolution and not through a 21st century perspective.  

The history - wow...I really need a refresher on both the Revolution as well as the French monarchy.  I did feel left out a time or two, but just because I didn't recognize some of the names.  I plan to remedy that soon.

The violence - now, don't get me wrong...I didn't "like" the violence.  But, I think it's easy for the realities of history and especially war or revolution to be forgotten among the shouts of patriotism, the chest thumping victories, and the egotism.  People die.  People, including men, women, and children. And, sometimes very painful horrendous deaths.  

What I Didn't Like

The sadness - like King Henry VIII, I've always felt sorry for Marie Antoinette.  If you are the least bit familiar with her story, you begin this last book of the Grey's trilogy with the knowledge that there won't be happily ever after ending.  What truly adds to the sadness of her story is Grey's use of Marie Antoinette herself as the narrator.

The irritation - Marie Antoinette is much maligned in history, and there were certainly genuine reasons. Even though I have always felt sorry for her, even I clenched my teeth when she ordered a new wardrobe or commissioned toilet water or was worried about what furniture she could or could not take with her as she, King Louis, and their children attempted to escape for their lives.

Overall Recommendation

If you like historical fiction that is rich with historical detail and holds true to the history instead of replacing reality with fantasy, then you'll want to read Grey's trilogy of Marie Antoinette.

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour


Tuesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 18
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Friday, September 20

Monday, September 23
Review at Reading Treasure
Review at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, September 24
Interview at Reading Treasure

Wednesday, September 25
Interview at Diary of a Book Addict

Thursday, September 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 27
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, September 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, October 1
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 2
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Author Live Chat at Scandalous Women

Thursday, October 3

Friday, October 4
Review & Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 7
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Devourer of Books

Tuesday, October 8
Review at Medieval Bookworm
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, October 9
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Thursday, October 10
Review at Between the Pages

Friday, October 11
Interview at Between the Pages

Monday, October 14
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 15
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, October 16


  1. This sounds right up my alley! Thanks for another great review, Patti!

  2. Thanks for the great review! I am addicted to historical fiction books, so will definitely be checking this one out. If you ever want to check out another great historical fiction, you must check out "A Thousand Years of Johnny Von" by Edith M. Cortese. The historical love stories are weaved with Estella’s (the main character) present day experiences. Fun and light read.