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.