Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Pages: 453
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: August 9, 2011
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Readers meet Maria Antonia as a spunky child in Austria.  Her mother, forever scheming and desperately ambitious, has high hopes for her daughter.  Maria Antonia always knew that she would one day wed Louis XVI of France and she would end up as the Queen of France.  The story follows Marie as she learns about what it takes to be "worthy" for Louis and it's shocking to learn about the many things she had ti endure.  Once she finally is wedded to Louis, the story follows the many obstacles she had to face as a young girl in an intense and gossip filled court.  Becoming Marie Antoinette will please fans of historical fiction as it is smart, yet extremely engaging.

I was immediately interested in Marie Antoinette and really enjoyed following her transformation. Yes, I knew about her from history class, but I've never read a book focusing on her and I found this time period to be just as captivating as Tudor England.  The dresses, the ornate jewelry, the hairstyles, the gossip, the food, and the gambling were all very entertaining.  Plus, readers are witnessing this all from a young teenager's eyes and that made it all the more interesting as Marie is just learning her way about court in Becoming Marie Antoinette.

Her mother, on the other hand, was a hard women to feel empathy for. She was so ambitious; it was difficult for readers to see that she even cared about her daughter's wellbeing.  She was definitely not my favorite character.  Also, Louis XVI was a peculiar sort of boy. At times I was completely frustrated with him, but then I just felt badly for him.  He's definitely a little boy in a man's body and was very wimpy.  

My only grip with this book is the lack of dialogue. I would have loved a bit more.  It felt like there were a ton of descriptions and not enough dialogue, but that is my only issue with Becoming Marie Antoinette.  

This story stops around Marie Antoinette's eighteenth birthday and I was left with so many questions.  I was very happy to hear that Becoming Marie Antoinette is part of a trilogy and the second book in this series, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, will come out this summer.  I can only imagine what antics Marie Antoinette is up to in that book!  I have a feeling things are going to get very unruly and in a good way.  I will definitely be picking up the second book as I loved being lost in Marie's enchanting world.

Watch the book trailer


  1. I would really like to read this one. I have never read a book that focuses on Marie Antoinette. Great review! I will add this one to my wish list.

  2. I'll be reading this one soon - I have to get to it before it expires.

    Marie Antoinette is one of my favourite historical characters, and one of my favourites to read about in historical fiction. I've even based trips to Vienna and Paris around visiting her abodes! :)

    Great review - glad you enjoyed this one (despite the lack of dialogue!)

  3. I had no idea that it was part of a trilogy. Really want to read the first book. It just sounds so good and I need a great historical fiction.

  4. This sounds like it would be a fascinating story despite the lack of dialogue! I can't imagine the things she must have gone through at such a young age to become queen. I think I'd really enjoy this one, thanks Christina!

  5. I just have to read this! thank you =) Sally x

  6. I intend to read this one. I would like to learn more about Marie Antoinette, than what I know of the French Revolution.

  7. I'm reading this one right now!
    I find it really well written and it's definitely an interesting read.

    Glad to hear it's the beginning of a series! I'd love to read more of the life of Marie Antoinette.

  8. I'm very excited to hear that it is part of a trilogy. This is a trilogy I will definitely be reading.


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