The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin….
Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, and when word arrives that the royals themselves are coming to see their likenesses, Marie never dreams that the king's sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. Yet when a letter with a gold seal is delivered to her home, Marie knows she cannot refuse---even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend Henri Charles.
As Marie becomes acquainted with her pupil, Princess Elisabeth, she is taken to meet both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she's ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into to a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafes across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there's whispered talk of revolution. Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? More important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
©2011 Michelle Moran (P)2011 Tantor
"Moran is a sprightly and gimlet-eyed writer, so this should be fun - and a possible breakout." (Library Journal)
Horrifyingly entrancing look at the French revolution.
1776 by David McCullough
Great read. Beautiful accent with 99% correct pronunciation of French words.
It made me anxious as there are too many parallels to what is happening now days in many countries, including ours. Joblessness, calls to riot being easily spread by "alternate" media, poverty, calls for "redistribution of wealth", massive government give-away programs, etc. People need to read more history and be aware of things we must avoid. This book manages to give a glimpse into some of the influences of the French Revolution while telling the fictionalized story of Madame Tussauld. Now I would love to go see the wax museum that I skipped when I was in London. Next time I will stop by for sure.
It is romance, history, suspense all in one and very well narrated.
Whenever I finish a good book like this, I feel bereft, as if leaving an old friend behind and now I have to go find a new one. Though I will also be relieved to be leaving such a depressing (in parts) story and will be looking for a lighter read for my next listen.
Thoroughly engaging. Entertaining and INFORMATIVE. The book so got my mind involved that I went to Wikipedia to look up events and characters.
The characters were alive and captivating.
Not much is objectively known about the personal life of Madame Tussaud. She was a show-woman and guarded the truth of her feelings and family. When she wrote about herself, she gave conflicting stories. Perhaps she had no idea how interested in her the world one day might be. She lived through traumatic times, and the book offers a great lesson in some of the major personalities of the French Revolution as it might have been seen through her eyes. Moran delivers a powerful "what-if" depiction of the great wax artist. In the process, we also learn what important intellectual, educational, and social functions were served by a wax museum in the 18th century. Anyone who has ever visited one of the successor Tussaud museums today will likely look upon the experience much differently after reading this book.
I was really intrigued by the idea of viewing the french revolution from the eyes of Madame Tussaud. I figured she would be a really interesting figure and she was! I never knew that they forced her to make death masks of the people who were killed as traitors. This book is a very gruesome look at the revolution itself. I was pretty surprised by that because most books just give you a glimpse of that, but it is a very truthful look at the horrible things that were happening. I was really glad and impressed that the author included a section to tell us what was taken from fact and what was fiction. This book was a very good read and I feel like I was enriched by reading it. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in historical novels.
I love it when I find a new author. After a string of books I couldn't finish, I found this one especially delightful.
I don't know much about the Fr. Revolution, and Moran claims she has deeply researched it for this book. However, it is historical fiction, so who knows what is real and what isn't?. (She does address that somewhat in the afterward.) The first half was lovely, but the last half was extremely morbid and morbid in great detail. I had to skip quite a few chapters and just listened to the last one to see how things turned out. Madame Tussaud had an amazing life! So, I'm conflicted about this book. The writing is excellent, the narration is beyond excellent, maybe the best I have heard. Will I read it again? No.
No, it's just too creepy.
Her accent makes it a thoroughly French story, not just a story about the French.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I came to this book by way of Ron Chernow's biography of George Washington, which piqued my interest about Lafayette. Audible had only one short offering about Lafayette, so I opted for this book, which is set against the French Revolution. I found it informative and entertaining. The author has done her research, and she inserted many details that brought the era to life. Her plot positioned her characters very well to be in the midst of the turmoil. The last few chapters lagged a bit, but everything leading up to Marie's imprisonment was wonderful.
But let's talk about this astonishing narrator. She was able to sound like a man, a woman, and a child. She nailed French, German, and English accents. She pronounced everything correctly and had an even pace. She never faltered. I wish all narrators were as amazing as Rosalyn Landor. I'll be looking for her other books.
I have already listen twice..... intresting take on the french revolution and the beginings on how the wax museums came to be..
I found the making of the death masks by madame tussaud of the beheaded was something I had never given any thought too was very intresting...
no it was a long book... but would be great for a road trip
A good historical novel set in the time of the French Revolution. The plot revolving the main character is not too complicated, but you do feel for the character as she finds herself more and more implicated in the revolution. The narration is very good.
Movie Version Needed
I would love to see they make this into a movie. While this novel is based on the true life story of her, they added some embellishments and fictional characters. As long as the reader knows this is a 100% accurate and takes this as a fictionalized biography, I think they will enjoy it.
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