Thursday, April 16, 2009

Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my kind of history. If those shows on the history channel about medieval weapons are history for boys (Yes, Freud. It always comes back to sword length), this is history for us girlies. It feels like reading an 18th century tabloid. In a really good way. I could not put it down, not even to brush my hair. (I needed one of Marie's famous horse-hair wigs. Maybe the one with the model ship propped up in it as a hair accessory). 

I loved the politics, the history, and Fraser's analysis, liberally sprinkled with details about the cut and fabric of her gowns, the food on her table, and the horribly wacky rules of life at Versailles. These items are like the chips in the Tollhouse cookie of history: not so delicious all by themselves, but in context, they make the whole a divine creation.

I saw the movie, and liked it, cause it is gorgeous and has a fab soundtrack; but it doesn't bear much resemblance to the book.

If you like this, try Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (an across-the-pond contemporary of Marie's), and To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette. (And then visit Versailles, the Petit Trianon, and the Conciergerie). Also, try Fraser's The Wives of Henry VIII. I'm going to read Alison Weir's book about Henry and his ladies next. Also just bought The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline, by Flora Faser. Don't know if she is any relation to Antonia.

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