Thursday, October 18, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Tours: Days Of Splendor, Days Of Sorrow

Author: Juliet Grey
Title: Days Of Splendor, Days Of Sorrow
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date:  May 15, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: A captivating novel of rich spectacle and royal scandal, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen. Paris, 1774.

At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

 From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.

Review: I read this book in one day. I simply could not put it down. There are a plethora of books about Louis XVI's wife. She's like Henry VIII's wives. Royals you just can't get enough of.

The more I read about Marie Antoinette, the more I feel sorry for her.

She was sent from her home at age 14 to be wed and now in this book, several years after her marriage, it isn't consummated therefore there is no heir to the French throne.

What you see is a lonely girl who is a queen, who isn't a true wife and who is a bit ditzy to start with. If you read Juliet Grey's first book, Becoming Marie Antoinette, you know that she wasn't fond of reading or anything that would have really made her a good queen. She's kind of like a 1700s version of Paris Hilton. Only Marie was probably a nicer person.

This book shows all the missteps Marie made in her years as the Queen of France. Some of those missteps weren't entirely her fault. The people of France were predisposed to hate her. The country had spent 900 years disliking Austria, it goes without saying that they weren't prepared to love her no matter how beautiful she was, and Marie Antoinette was a beautiful woman.

This story also touches on the relationship Marie Antoinette shared with Count Axel Von Fersen of Sweden. How far the relationship progressed is up for speculation, but Juliet let's us imagine that they consummated their love affair. (Go to wiki and see Axel for youself). If I were Marie, I probably would have fallen for him. And considering Louis wasn't always a ready lover, it is definitely a possibility, especially in a court were love affairs abounded.

This book also shows the years when Marie finally became a mother, first to a daughter, Madame Royal and then to the dauphin. Motherhood was not easy on Marie. Only one of her children survived to adulthood.

This is a great middle book in the trilogy. I look forward to the final book in the series.

Rating:  5 flowers

About the Author Juliet Grey is the author of Becoming Marie Antoinette. She has extensively researched European royalty and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette, as well as a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont.

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