The award-winning biographer of such historical figures as Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, and King Charles II now pens a riveting portrait of the young Archduchess of Austria, who arrived in France in 1770 to marry the future Louis XVI and was guillotined 23 years later. of color and b&w photos.The award-winning biographer of such historical figures as Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, and King Charles II now pens a riveting portrait of the young Archduchess of Austria, who arrived in France in 1770 to marry the future Louis XVI and was guillotined 23 years later. of color and b&w photos.Read Less
This biography by Antonia Fraser is very entertaining and interesting! It reads more like a novel than an academic biography. I found myself rooting for Marie Antoinette's escape even though I knew what the ending would ultimately be. In the movie based on the book, Sofia Coppella focused on the parts of the book that pertained to Marie Antoinette as a person. Ms. Coppella created an intimate portrait of the heroine that gives us a perspective on what it must have been like for a young girl to be thrust into the horrendous situation that was Versailles at that time. Overall, the book and the movie were very different and had different foci. They, therefore, both succeeded -- but in different ways. Read and watch and then tell us what YOU think!!
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-23 A child-princess is married off to a husband of limited carnal appetite. Her indiscretions and navet, scorned by elderly dowagers, are coupled with charity, joie de vivre and almost divine glamour but her life is cut brutally short. The queen of France's life is rich in emotional resonance, riddled with sexual subplots and personal tragedies, and provides fertile ground for biographers. Fraser's sizable new portrait avoids the saccharine romance of Evelyne Lever's recent Marie Antoinette, balancing empathy for the pleasure-loving queen with an awareness of the inequalities that fed revolution after all, Marie herself was fully conscious of them. Her subject shows no let-them-eat cake arrogance, but is deeply (even surprisingly) compassionate, with a "public reputation for sweetness and mercy" that is only later sullied by vituperative pamphleteers and bitter unrest. She would sometimes be trapped by ingenuousness, and later by a fatal sense of duty. Yet her graceful bearing, acquired under the tutelage of her demanding mother, the empress Maria Teresa, made her an unusually popular princess before she was scapegoated as "Madame Deficit" and much, much worse. The portrait is drawn delicately, with pleasant touches of humor (a long-awaited baby is conceived around the time of Benjamin Franklin's visit: "Perhaps the King found this first contact with the virile New World inspirational"). Fraser's approach is controlled and thoughtful, avoiding the extravagance of Alison Weir's royal biographies. Her queen is neither heroine nor villain, but a young wife and mother who, in her journey into maturity, finds herself caught in a deadly vise. Color and b&w illus. (on sale: Sept. 18) Forecast: Fraser needs no introduction to American audiences. She will come over from England for a five-city tour, and with widespreand favorable reviews, this should have no trouble making the bestseller lists. It's a BOMC, History Book Club, Literary Guild and QPB selection. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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