Review: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

by 7/18/2017 0 comments
I love historical fiction and romance and knowing a little about Marie Antoinette, I thought this novel would be a nice change of pace for me. It was the first in a series, and I think I would like to continue and see how the series evolves. This first novel focused on the arch duchess of Austria in her childhood and the early years of her marriage, and really shows how the Austrian girl turned into the French Queen.

Series: Marie Antoinette, #1 
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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By the time the novel ends, Marie Antoinette really is the queen of France, and not just the Dauphne, but we don't see any of her life as queen. The later books will focus on that, and that's why I'm so curious to read them. I've always been interested in Marie Antoinette and her famous words, "let them cake" although it's largely thought now she never said such a thing. But how does a woman become so hated?

This novel begins with Marie Antoinette as a small girl, and we see her as a silly, inattentive pupil who is perhaps too naive and artless for her own good. She doesn't have a mind for political shrewdness like her sister or mother, and instead wants only to please her mother by marrying the Dauphin of France, Louis who will one day be king. She even hopes that he will love her, something someone in her position at the time would not likely expect. Realizing that she is too Austrian and too uneducated to ever please the French, Marie Antoinette sets about doing everything her mother and the French ambassador advise, including getting eighteenth century braces to correct her teeth. She hopes she will please Louis and not fail her mother in the one task she must perform for Austria, to marry and bear an heir.

One has to wonder why her mother chose Marie Antoinette from her many children to marry the French Dauphin. It seems Marie Antoinette is utterly unsuited to the destiny her mother has designed for her, and even once she marries Louis and is adjusting to life at the French court, she hardly seems much different than the utterly uninformed girl she was at the opening of the novel. She is completing lacking in understanding of the machinations of the French Court, and eventually has to swallow her pride and acknowledge the king's mistress because she just can't see the political necessity of doing so. Nor can she get her husband to bed her. From what little I know of the couple, Louis did have trouble consummating the marriage, but I have to believe that after such a lengthy marriage Marie Antoinette herself might have been more bold in her efforts rather than patiently waiting and sweetly comforting Louis.

Just as the novel starts to get good--that is, Louis is king and we can't be far away from more interesting history, the novel ends leaving me hoping that the next novel will really sink its teeth into the life of this doomed royal couple. This first novel was interesting to read, but needed more omph and I hope the next novels in the series provide that.

Happy Reading,

Jewels E


I'm a thirty something girl who loves to read, write and dream. Because I'm so addicted to the written word in all its forms, I created this blog to share the books that devastate me with you.