Confessions of Marie Antionette brings to a close Juliet Grey’s trilogy on that perenially popular, if still misunderstood, monarch. We reviewed the first two novels in the trilogy, Becoming Marie Antionette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, and we recommend this volume just as strongly. For teen readers who love to get lost in a world, this almost 1400 page trilogy should provide hours of engrossing historical enjoyment.
GREY, Juliet. Confessions of Marie Antoinette. 464p. notes. Ballantine. 2013. pap. $15. ISBN 9780345523907. LC 2013004316.
Adult/High School–The Bastille has fallen, and the streets are filled with riotous peasants determined to break into the palace home of King Louis XVI and his Queen, Marie Antoinette. With their lives in peril, the king and his family are thrown into seclusion and ultimately into the bowels of imprisonment as the Revolution takes hold in France. Becoming Marie Antoinette (Ballantine, 2011) set the stage for her entrance onto the world stage as Louis XVI’s queen. As Louis and Marie begin to make their way as a couple, their pampered lifestyle becomes the target of revolutionary spirit in Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Ballantine, 2012). Readers see how the ingrained and stifling culture of the Court allows them to remain seemingly indifferent to the pain and trials of the peasants even as every action is made with the best of intentions of ruling well. They are ultimately unable to bridge the herculean gap that distances them from their subjects, and the only recourse: death by guillotine. Confessions of Marie Antoinette brings Marie to her ultimate end, still unsure of why–and how–it all happened. This is story–a very real story of one woman beyond what is known from a study of history. Give the whole set to teens who love history, love stories, revolution, and adventure. The ending is well known, but the journey to that end is full of heartache, promises made and broken, and good intentions that weren’t enough to save the king and queen.–Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA