I don’t know if I could have been more realistically thrown back in time to the French Revolution and the final days of Marie Antoinette as I was while reading Juliet Grey’s latest novel Confessions of Marie Antoinette. This is the final novel in an excellent trilogy with Becoming Marie Antoinette (my review) and Days of Splendor (my review) as the first two. This has been an excellent trilogy but I have to say that I think this final one may be my favorite. I don’t ever remember shedding a tear reading historical fiction but I did with this one as Juliet brought this novel to life for me and I felt my heart break for Marie Antoinette.
The novel is told through Marie Antoinette’s eyes as her husband Louis XVI’s reign comes to an end and he is killed. The French Revolution is in full force and I am once again horrified at the brutality and violence that people engaged in. All common sense was gone and men, women, and children were brutally murdered all in the name of overthrowing the King. It was during this time that Marie Antoinette and Louis, along with their children, found themselves on the run although to no avail. As things become increasingly worse for the family they are imprisoned and no longer even able to go outside. Every move they make is closely watched in case they try to smuggle messages or attempt an escape. While some are still loyal to the couple and try to help them it seems they are thwarted at every turn. When Louis is hauled away in front of his crying children it is the last the straw for Marie Antoinette and she knows that it is the end – the end of the once happy world they knew.
What I loved most about the novel was the portrayal of Marie Antoinette. It doesn’t portray her as the woman that the people hated but instead a loving mother, loyal wife, and very proud and courageous in the face of adversity. As her family suffers one blow after another she still holds her head high. Even after Louis is executed and she is thrown in the tower in a tiny cell with no luxuries or freedoms she still refuses to let them see her cry. There is one thing though that breaks her and that is being separated from her children and even worse her son is who is being schooled to despise both his parents. Her heart broken by both the loss of her husband and children she still continues to stand up for herself. Unfortunately the way of the times then wasn’t in her favor and she too is eventually executed.
As often happens when I read historical fiction I cringe at the way people were treated when out of favor and it was so easy for it to happen. One minute you could be a King as Louis was and the next you find yourself being executed. As I was reading I felt as though I was in the pages of the book myself experiencing the losses and humiliation as Marie Antoinette did. History still debates whether the people loved or hated her but in reading this novel you can see that there was likely a real woman behind it all – a woman who felt and loved deeply.
Confessions of Marie Antoinette is a must read for historical fiction fans. You don’t have to start at the beginning of the trilogy to follow along with this one but in my opinion it is well worth reading them all. Juliet Grey writes novels that are rich in historical fact but weaves a story that brings alive a part of history long past. I loved it!
Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to pop in and check out the other tour stops. You can connect with Juliet on her website as well as Facebook. You can pick up your own copy of Confessions of Marie Antoinette at Amazon and Amazon Canada.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (US only)
I have one copy of Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey to share with my readers. To enter…
- Leave a comment entering the giveaway for one entry.
- Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
This giveaway is open to US residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on October 29/13. Good luck!
Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.