Title: Becoming Maria Antoinette
Author: Juliet Grey
Series: Maria Antoinette Trilogy,
Genre: Historical Ficition
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: Review copy from publisher
“This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette. Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.
Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.
Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.”
Becoming Maria Antoinette is book one of the Maria Antoinette Trilogy by Juliet Grey.
This book follows the life of the young Maria Antonia Archduchess of Austria from the moment of her betrothal to the Dauphine of France when she was just ten years old to her first years in France previous to her husband, the future Louis XVI ascension to the throne.
Maria Antonia has always known she would marry an important man, somebody beneficial to Austria. What she had never thought was that she would be married so young.
Antonia has mixed feelings about her betrothal to the Dauphine, she is sad to leave her house and her siblings so soon but at the same time she is very excited because one day she will be Queen of France and that is something of great importance, not just for her but for her mother’s political interests. But things were not as easy as signing a contract, Maria Antonia was found to possess many faults, as her lack of education and lack of proper court behavior and some physical imperfections too as crooked teeth and bad hair. To be able to make the French happy she goes through a very exhaustive preparation and transformation, no only intellectually but physically. She received lessons for many hours a day, while been subjected to the painful orthodontic treatment of the XVIII century (I don’t even want to think about that, auch).
Finally her betrothal is finalized and months later Maria Antonia is leaving her family, home and country behind to start a new life as Maria Antoinette the Dauphine of France.
Her first years in France are not easy, she is very young still and married to a teenager who doesn’t have any interest in her or in politics. She also doesn’t know who can she trust or whom to believe in a court full of gossip and intrigues, where everybody wants to use her as a pawn including her mother the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
Becoming Maria Antoinette was a really nice surprise. I have read books about Maria Antoinette but all of them were about her reign days and not the years previous to being queen, for that reason I found this book very interesting and enlightening. I didn’t know orthodontic treatments were practice during those days nor did I know how young she was and all the preparations she has to go through to be ready for France.
I found Mrs. Grey writing style ensnaring and real. For example Maria Antoinette’s character, she starts as a ten year old, her conversations and thoughts were clearly those of a girl her age, but as she is maturing those thoughts and dialogues mature as well. It’s the same with the evolution of the character of Louis XVI.
My final thought: I really enjoyed Becoming Maria Antoinette. I found it well written and historically accurate. It’s obvious Mrs. Grey did a tremendous job with her research, she knows what she is talking about, she owns her knowledge and gives it life throughout vivid descriptions of daily life situations. Descriptions that days after finishing the book I can still envision in my head.
Becoming Maria Antoinette was my first book by Juliet Grey but it won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to continue Maria Antoinette’s journey with the next installment of this series Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow due out summer 2012.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
Becoming Maria Antoinette
Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow
Other reviews Goodreads