Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer
From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can’t help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and even a forbidden love affair. Meanwhile, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay for her reckless extravagance—with her life.
Note: #5 for the YA Historical Fiction Challenge, #6 for the YA Series Challenge (Young Royals)
This is a brilliant historical fiction. Not only is the story engaging, but the history is solid and you quickly become sympathetic for Marie-Antoinette, a woman who had many flaws, but whose death and subsequent character assassination were completely undeserved. She was a frivolous woman and spend thrift, yes, but she never deliberately hurt any one and was really only the product of her upbringing and general unhappiness. Meyer makes this book not only accurate, but a really good read. Marie is easy to connect to, as her charm as well as her flaws come shining through. Had she been queen to another country or married to another man she might have been happy, but she was caught in the wrong country at the wrong time and made the scapegoat for many of the political and economic issues in France.
This is an excellent book about a woman who tried to be a good queen, but couldn't make her people happy and whose unhappiness led to her frivolous ways. A woman who was beautiful and charming, but who was also insecure and lonely.