Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
Ballantine, 2012 (2012)
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Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley
n this charming sequel to
Becoming Marie Antoinette
, Juliet Grey resumes the story of the doomed French queen. Louis XV is dead, and Louis XVI has ascended the throne of France with Marie Antoinette as his queen. Once an awkward girl in a strange land, Marie Antoinette comes into her own as the Queen of France. But the queen's lavish fashions, outrageous expenses, and blatant favoritism create a dangerous mood in a country on the verge of a revolution destined to destroy the French monarchy.
s France is plunged into hard economic times, the French people struggle to feed their families. But the economic woes of France initially fail to breach the royal gates of Versailles. Under the influence of her milliner, Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette creates a fashion revolution which will become all the rage among the women of the French nobility. But the queen's trendsetting fashions result in a scandal when the French nobles accuse the queen of bankrupting them in order to keep their wives up to par with the queen's costly and extravagant gowns and hairstyles.
even years after their marriage, the king and queen have also failed to consummate their union. As her hopes for a family fade, Marie Antoinette takes comfort in risky card games which further add to dissatisfaction with the monarchy when it is rumored that the king is paying the queen's debts. When she creates an uproar by showering her favorites with priceless gifts, Marie Antoinette fails to heed the warnings of a country that has become disenchanted with the royal family. Instead, the French queen allows herself to be swept up into a forbidden love affair with a Swedish Count, even as the future of the monarchy hangs in the balance.
uliet Grey creates an unforgettable tapestry of court intrigue, royal scandals, and dangerous romances all set against the spectacular background of Versailles. Grey spoils her readers with her deliciously descriptive details of eighteenth-century fashion.
Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow
spins a sympathetic tale of a queen who falls victim to the dangerous plotting operating behind the scenes in a country where the French monarchy is destined to come to a gruesome end. It's a marvelous sequel setting the stage well for Grey's final installment of this mesmerizing trilogy.
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