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)
courage, talent, intelligence
I might have truly enjoyed that. Regardless it was a wonderfully written story about the entire city of French people at the time of the revolution: what drew them in, who aroused the issues and incited the involvement, how the King and Queen were perceived and treated from a very realistic perspective and what it may have genuinely been like to experience the horrendous French Revolution. it was barbaric and the story was written from a member of the masses not the royalty, which gave a much deeper perspective of the struggle. i never enjoyed learning French History quite as much as I did when i read this novel.
I love books which are as accurate as possible while telling a fascinating story. This one was bloody, other than that it was great.
Loved the story, the way was written-gave new insight about events of French Revolution. The narration was the best-great voices, phrasing and perfect French pronunciations-really helped carry the story along. Also appreciate the author doing a little follow up on the characters lives after the revolution.
What is there not to like about anything Michelle Moran writes? As usual her title character comes alive as the reader views the French Revolution through her eyes. The narrater was wonderful.
The story was dry and not very entertaining. I did listen to the whole thing but it took me a looong time. I am glad its over!
No, I do generally enjoy historical fiction but not this particular story.
Most of it. Maybe the story would have been better if it was told from another characters prespective.
I love Michelle Moran and got this book without listening to a sample. If I had I would not have purchased. I may try to read this on my kindle b/c I love the author's other books so much. I could not get past a few chapters of this book b/c of the heavy french accent. I don't need the accent to make it feel authentic. This drives me crazy and ruins good books! If you really wanted it to be authentic then wouldn't it be spoken in french, and not english with a french accent? Oh wait, it was written in english by an American author...
Don't know how to rate this since I haven't finished it, however, I am finding it a bit disconcerting that the reader, who must be British, has the French King & Queen, as well as other French characters, speaking with a British accent, even though the reader's French pronunciation of names is very good. What was she thinking? Hope the story eventually makes me forget the accents!
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