A Novel of Marie Antoinette

Abundance — A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund was our book club pick for this month.  It is a long book (542 pages) about the life of, you guessed it, Marie Antoinette.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I felt like it did a good job describing Marie Antoinette, giving us a new perspective of her.  Instead of just the queen of abundance, you see that she did really love the people of France.  I also enjoyed the descriptions of France, Versailles as well as the other residences of the royalty of France.  While I’m not in a position to decide if the descriptions were historically accurate, I felt like they described the period well.

For the criticsm, I thought there was just too much.  I think the author got a little bogged down with describing the day to day life.  While I think some of that is important, I think I got the idea after a couple of years.  I felt like she could have focused on the more significant events and spared some of the daily grind after awhile.  It may have shortened the book up a little.

I haven’t read anything about Marie Antionette before, but I did see Vanity Fair awhile back.  As I was reading the first part of this novel, I felt like I may have already read it and just forgot.  Then, my friend reminded me that we had seen that movie and I realized the beginning of this book mirrors the movie almost exactly (or the other way around??)  I don’t know if the two projects are related, but they sure seem like it. 

Overall I would rate this book as “okay.”  I think history buffs may enjoy the details a little more than I did.  I was intrigued for about the first half of the book, but I started to feel bogged down as it progressed.

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4 responses to “A Novel of Marie Antoinette

  1. Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  2. I think it is truly talented writing when an author can weave in details of daily life throughout a narrative without getting bogged down. Sounds like this book didn’t get quite get that balance.

    The subject sounds interesting, though. I enjoy a peek at historical characters, especially when the books delve into the reasons behind their choices.

  3. I’m not really into historical fiction, but I enjoy reading such books if the author tells the story is such a way that you don’t realize you’re reading historical fiction.

  4. I’m on a bit of a historical kick right now and I do have this book on my shelves but what’s holding me back is the size. I don’t mind long books just not in the mood for a chunky book right now.

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