I love France #6: #69 Review: Becoming Marie Antoinette


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Becoming Marie Antoinette


Juliet GREY

480 pages

Publication:  August 2011, by Ballantine Books

Ebook provided by NetGalleyBallantine Books


I had never heard about Juliet Grey before, and when I saw the book trailer, I thought: really, is that what it’s all about?? I won’t even give you the link to the trailer, it’s not worth your time, it only shows Marie-Antoinette getting dressed, partly symbolical I guess, but really does not convey anything about the grandeur of the book. But I was intrigued, and when I saw the amount of research the author put in that book, I knew I had to give it a try. And what a book! I’m sorry this is coming in the middle of my review slump, and that I’ve waited so long to post this.

Hey, sounds like this is a hard time for bloggers, I keep running into posts about anti-challenges, or taking breaks, or reading just what you want to read, and maybe not review anything for a while. I do want to keep at posting reviews on all books I read, but things are slow for now.

Studying history in France, I never got a great image of Marie-Antoinette, but this book made me look at her in a totally different light. This book is actually really about Becoming who she was to be in history, that is, the tough preparation she had to go through in her native country, Austria, to be accepted as the French Dauphin’s bride, and the book ends with her coronation.

Yes, the sequel is coming soon. Actually, you can find an excerpt at the end of this book!

The book is excellent at describing the royal families and all the petty details of everyday life, from the rising to the preparation for the night;  at showing what it would have taken to become the queen of France, lots of advantages maybe, but also lots of sacrifices. I’m really looking forward treading next page in Marie-Antoinette’s life.


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. [Goodreads]


Juliet Grey has extensively researched European royal history and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont. [Goodreads]


“A thoroughly enjoyable novel, brimming with delightful details. Grey writes eloquently and with charming humor, bringing ‘Toinette’ vividly to life as she is schooled and groomed—molded, quite literally—for a future as Queen of France, an innocent pawn in a deadly political game.”
—SANDRA GULLAND, bestselling author of Mistress of the Sun and the Josephine Bonaparte trilogy

“In her richly imagined novel, Juliet Grey meticulously recreates the sumptuous court of France’s most tragic queen. Beautifully written, with attention paid to even the smallest detail, Becoming Marie Antoinette will leave readers wanting more!”
—MICHELLE MORAN, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“A lively and sensitive portrait of a young princess in a hostile court, and one of the most sympathetic portrayals of the doomed queen.”
—LAUREN WILLIG, bestselling author of the Pink Carnation series

“Wonderfully delectable and lusciously rich, an elegant novel to truly savor. Juliet Grey’s Marie Antoinette is completely absorbing.”
—DIANE HAEGER, author of The Queen’s Rival

“[A] sympathetic take on the fascinating and doomed Marie Antoinette.”–Publishers Weekly

“An extremely compelling read. The author blends very intricately detailed research with a narrative that is stunning in its poignancy.”–The Elliott Review

“Readers will see Marie Antoinette in a whole new light…A sympathetic and engaging read that presents the French queen in a manner seldom found in other novels…Anyone interested in French history will savor every page of this novel.”–BookLoons

“Juliet Grey’s writing is exquisitely detailed and I enjoyed her lush descriptions of the clothing and decor of the time period. Grey possesses the rare ability to transform readers to a past only accessible by imagination. Becoming Marie Antoinette is sure to appeal to lovers of quality historical fiction as well as those who are simply fascinated by Marie Antoinette.”–The Well Read Wife

“Fans of historical fiction will eat this one up. It’s engaging, smart and authentic. Grey has done her homework.” –January Magazine

“A lusciously detailed novel of Marie Antoinette’s rise to power and the decadent, extravagant lifestyles of 18th-century Versailles.” –Shelf Awareness

“This is historical fiction at its finest.” –A Library of My Own [Amazon]


9 thoughts on “I love France #6: #69 Review: Becoming Marie Antoinette

  1. Pingback: September 2011 wrap up « Words And Peace

    • Really, horrible reviews of that one? I hope my standards are not getting very low. By the way, I find your blog very beautiful, but I have to say, the italics, though aesthetically gorgeous I think, make it difficult for me to read your posts. Hopefully, I’m the only one with this opinion.


  2. Pingback: (2012) #34 Review: Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow « Words And Peace

  3. Pingback: Confessions of Marie Antoinette: review. I love France #67 | Words And Peace

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