Book Review: Marie Antoinette, The Journey by Antonia Fraser
I recently finished this biography of the ill-fated Queen of France, famous for words she never uttered. Sent from her home in Austria at the age of 14 to be wed to the future King Louis XVI, her tumultuous life at Versailles is vivid in Antonia Fraser’s book.
What I liked about the book:
Everything. A well written, detailed account of the Queen of France, you can’t help but feel enmeshed in the daily life of Versailles during her reign. From the descriptions of the clothes to the intimate letters she wrote and the abuses hurled at her, Marie Antoinette’s life feels timely and timeless in Antonia Fraser’s pages. A young ‘celebrity’ who for awhile gets caught up in the spoils of her fame, the Queen seemed doomed from the start. Accused of being not too bright, a lesbian, an adulterer, and burdened with the nickname ‘Madame Deficit’ for her lavish spending, Marie Antoinette weathered her bad press in style. She also showed tremendous courage and unwavering dedication to her husband, refusing ever to leave his side as revolution broiled around them. During her trial, her composure under intense questioning and horrible accusations remained steadfast. Certainly, I will never forget her journey and the sad ending to her too short life.
What I disliked:
For me, there was nothing to not like in this brilliantly crafted book. I loved Antonia Fraser’s style, which felt both intimate and removed at the same time. Ms. Fraser’s well researched biography might have read as ‘just the facts, ma’am’, but instead felt current and as if I was seeing history before my eyes.
I rate this book a 5 out 5 stars and give it my enthusiastic recommendation. Marie Antoinette and her entourage spring to life on the pages of the book and are not easily forgotten.