One of history's most misunderstood figures, Marie Antoinette represents the extravagance and the decadence of pre-Revolution France. Yet there was an innocence about Antoinette, thrust as a child into the chillingly formal French court.Married to the maladroit, ill-mannered Dauphin, Antoinette found pleasure in costly entertainments and garments. She spent lavishly while her overtaxed and increasingly hostile subjects blamed her for France's plight. In time Antoinette matured into a courageous Queen, and when their enemies finally closed in, Antoinette followed her inept husband to the guillotine in one last act of bravery.In "To the Scaffold," Carolly Erickson provides an estimation of a lost Queen that is psychologically acute, richly detailed, and deeply moving.
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(226mm x 150mm x 25mm)
St Martin's Press
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
A glorious future was set for Marie-Antoinette - the youngest and most beautiful daughter of the all-powerful Maria Theresa - at the age of 14 she was to become a wife of future king of France, Louis XVI. The marriage of the young archduchess and the dauphin sealed a rather unnatural alliance between France and Austria, who settled their differences only 7 years earlier, but the truth is that Marie-Antoinette had been hardly prepared for her new exalted role. A court of Versailles was stiff and formal but at the same time full of intrigues and gossips and it's hardly surprising that Marie-Antoinette quickly got herself into difficulties. Louis was a shy, rather awkward young man and proved to be a boring companion for a fun-loving Antoinette. Unfortunately for her she her troubles did not end at the court. France was changing, French people begun to hate the monarchy, but as much as they respected their King they begun to hate his Austrian wife. At first they vilified for her spending habits, but within few years she became the most hated figure in the revolutionary France; criticized for her opposition to reforms, bad influence on the King and overall blamed for country's fiscal problems. But as presented by Erickson, Marie-Antoinette is one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood persons in the world's history. Yes, young Antoinette was frivolous and extravagant but with time she matured and became a capable, affectionate mother and devoted wife. Readers cannot help but to feel sympathy and compassion towards the late queen, especially moving is a part in which Erickson describes separation of Marie Antoinette from her young children. Yet again, beautifully written, easy to read biography, one that will be cherished by all history lovers. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Carolly Erickson
Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of "Rival to the Queen," "The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots," "The First Elizabeth," "The Hidden Life of Josephine," "The Last Wife of Henry VIII, " and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel "The Tsarina's Daughter" won the "Romantic Times" Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Hawaii.