By Antonia Fraser
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385489492, 544pp.)
Publication Date: November 12, 2002
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France’s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous “Let them eat cake,” was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted, privileged, but otherwise unremarkable child was thrust into an unparalleled time and place, and was commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in history. Antonia Fraser’s lavish and engaging portrait of Marie Antoinette, one of the most recognizable women in European history, excites compassion and regard for all aspects of her subject, immersing the reader not only in the coming-of-age of a graceful woman, but also in the unraveling of an era.
Antonia Fraser is the author of Mary Queen of Scots, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Faith and Treason, among others. She is also famous for her Jemima Shore series of mysteries. She and her husband, Harold Pinter, live in London.
“Fascinating . . . the court at Versailles comes alive.” –The Washington Post
“Colorful, fluently narrated. . . . A touching, psychologically believable portrait.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Absorbing as ever. Fraser’s blend of insight and research persuade us that this unfortunate queen deserves neither the vilification nor the idealization she has received.” –The New Yorker