The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
By Carolly Erickson
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312337087, 352pp.)
Publication Date: August 25, 2005
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Imagine that, on the night before she is to die under the blade of the guillotine, Marie Antoinette leaves behind in her prison cell a diary telling the story of her life—from her privileged childhood as Austrian Archduchess to her years as glamorous mistress of Versailles to the heartbreak of imprisonment and humiliation during the French Revolution.
Carolly Erickson takes the reader deep into the psyche of France’s doomed queen: her love affair with handsome Swedish diplomat Count Axel Fersen, who risked his life to save her; her fears on the terrifying night the Parisian mob broke into her palace bedroom intent on murdering her and her family; her harrowing attempted flight from France in disguise; her recapture and the grim months of harsh captivity; her agony when her beloved husband was guillotined and her young son was torn from her arms, never to be seen again.
Erickson brilliantly captures the queen’s voice, her hopes, her dreads, and her suffering. We follow, mesmerized, as she reveals every detail of her remarkable, eventful life—from her teenage years when she began keeping a diary to her final days when she awaited her own bloody appointment with the guillotine.
Carolly Erickson is a distinguished biographer and author of THE FIRST ELIZABETH, HER LITTLE MAJESTY, and ALEXANDRA, among many other prize-winning nonfiction books. She is currently at work on the forthcoming novel, THE LAST WIFE OF HENRY VIII. She lives in Hawaii.
“Writers of historical fiction must tread a fine line between loving one's protagonists while telling the truth about them. Carolly Erickson has executed this balancing act with the same scorching wit and greatheartedness that has always illuminated her biographies. The old "let them eat cake" myth has once and forever been exploded, yet the author resists the temptation to sentimentalize or simplify the maddeningly complex character of Marie Antoinette.” --*Robin Maxwell, author of THE SECRET DIARY OF ANNE BOLEYN
“Carolly Erickson turns cold fact to hot fiction in her first historical novel. THE HIDDEN DIARY OF MARIE ANTOINTETTE lets a much-maligned woman speak for herself -- in exquisitely precise prose that illuminates her growth from innocent princess to unloved wife to doomed queen. Erickson lets us see that Marie Antoinette's life tragically mirrors the plight of a France headed for bloody revolution -- and reveals the very human truth behind history's mask.” --India Edghill, author of QUEENMAKER and WISDOM'S DAUGHTER