Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to leave her family and her country to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. Coming of age in the most public of arenas, she warmly embraces her adopted nation and its citizens. She shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he repeatedly fails to consummate their marriage and in so doing is unable to give her a child and an heir to the throne. Deeply disappointed and isolated in her own intimate circle, and apart from the social life of the court, she allows herself to remain ignorant of the country’s growing economic and political crises, even as poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge. The young queen, once beloved by the common folk, becomes a target of scorn, cruelty, and hatred as she, the court’s nobles, and the rest of the royal family are caught up in the nightmarish violence of a murderous time called “the Terror.”Sena Jeter Naslund offers a dramatic reimagining of this truly compelling woman that goes far beyond the popular myth.
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Sena Jeter Naslund is a cofounder and program director of the Spalding University (Louisville) brief-residency MFA in Writing, where she edits The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press. A winner of the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction award, she is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including Ahab's Wife, a finalist for the Orange Prize. She recently retired from her position as Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville.From AudioFile:
Contrary to the title's implications, this is a rather ordinary novel. Instead of an abundance of intrigue or passion, this audiobook remains flat and superficial. Susanna Burney's narration is adequate, but pauses between sentences are frequently long to the point of awkwardness. Her pacing, too, is slow--but the novel itself seems so, creaking along like a carriage on a rocky road. Burney enlivens some of the characters with subtle voice shifts, but overall the result is a plodding story with few peaks and valleys. Devotees of Marie Antoinette and her life may find the plot appealing but should be aware that flaws that may go unnoticed on the page seem glaring when heard aloud. L.B.F. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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