Title: The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
Author: Carolly Erickson
Published: August 2006
Source: personal copy
Description: Imagine that, on the night before she is to die under the blade of the guillotine, Marie Antoinette leaves behind in her prison cell a diary telling the story of her life—from her privileged childhood as Austrian Archduchess to her years as glamorous mistress of Versailles to the heartbreak of imprisonment and humiliation during the French Revolution. Carolly Erickson takes the reader deep into the psyche of France’s doomed queen: her love affair with handsome Swedish diplomat Count Axel Fersen, who risked his life to save her; her fears on the terrifying night the Parisian mob broke into her palace bedroom intent on murdering her and her family; her harrowing attempted flight from France in disguise; her recapture and the grim months of harsh captivity; her agony when her beloved husband was guillotined and her young son was torn from her arms, never to be seen again. Erickson brilliantly captures the queen’s voice, her hopes, her dreads, and her suffering. We follow, mesmerized, as she reveals every detail of her remarkable, eventful life—from her teenage years when she began keeping a diary to her final days when she awaited her own bloody appointment with the guillotine.
I Give This Book 3 Stars!
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about Marie Antoinette. And, what I do know probably comes from the movies. She usually isn't portrayed very kindly there. I had built this image of a young women who liked parties, clothes, and basic extravagance. This book took an extreme opposite view. It touched on the rumors surrounding the Queen, but I never got a good feel for how the Queen felt about this. The book seems to down play all of that, when in fact that malicious gossip eventually made the people of France hate her. She had to have realized that but she seems really detached from her people and her country. I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Although, I'm sure we will never know the whole truth surrounding all the gossip.
I did really enjoy the format of the book. The diary entries made it seem like more of a possibility that this was who the Queen really was. I learned a few things I did not know. Plus, it made me want to read more historical fiction about Marie Antoinette. Some seem to complain about some characters being made up, but I able to take that in because I know it is historical fiction. I know that not everything is fact. Overall, and interesting read, but I feel it's steeped more in fiction than in fact.