Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

This is the first book in a new trilogy.  It covers Marie Antoinette's life from when she was a pre-teen until she first became Queen of France.  She was raised with her brothers and sisters by the empress of Austria.  Her real name was Maria Antonia.  She knew that she would eventual be married off somewhere as her mother's political pawn but she had no idea that it would start at the tender age of ten.  

Her mother summoned her and told her that she was to be betrothed to the Dauphin of France.  Soon after that representatives of King Louis XVI started flooding in to assess Marie to see if she could indeed become the Dauphine of France.  They picked apart just about everything about her.  Her teeth weren't perfect, her hair, her posture, her education, and the list went on.  She had to endure braces for her teeth, a brace for her posture, numerous painful gadgets in her hair, etc.

Then, once she gets to court she finds a teenage boy who acts even younger than his years is her husband.  She is expected to start having babies right away but he is unable to consecrate their marriage.

Juliet Grey does not skimp on any detail, no matter how small.  I found myself getting bored in several parts of the book because of this.  Some of the details were important and interesting like what she had to endure with getting braces for her teeth and the torture she had to endure to get her hair just right.

The characters were well written.  I really enjoyed Maria's relationship with her sister, Charlotte.  Grey weaved a sympathetic  and compassionate relationship between Marie and her awkward husband. 
Though there are other books out there that deal with Marie in her earlier years, I hadn't read any before this.  Despite the parts that dragged, I did find this book worthwhile.  Will I read the next book in the trilogy?  I'm not sure at this point.

Cross posted at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time, where I am currently hosting a giveaway of this book.  Go here, to win.


  1. I really liked this book. I agree that there were a lot of details, but I'd never read about that period in history before, so it was all new to me. Maybe I would have felt differently if that weren't the case. Glad you seemed to like it overall though.

  2. I loved this book and breezed right through it. The only issue I had with it was the use of big words (while I like to think I'm quite knowledgable with big words, I found I had to use the dictionary on my Kindle quite frequently to find out the meaning of a word). I really found all of the details and what Marie had to go through quite fascinating. I was very disappointed when I reached the end and am anxiously awaiting the release of the second one!

  3. I just finished this book and enjoyed it. I am looking forward to the sequel.

  4. Marie Antoinette's life fascinates me and I don't think I've read anything in detail about her childhood. I'm sorry this one didn't turn out to be a favorite for you but I'm still looking forward to reading it.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.