Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette

Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette - Sena Jeter Naslund

With this book I got into the head of Marie Antoinette. The author did all the research and based on the known facts delivered what she thought was going on in Marie Antoinette's head. She convinced me. At the end of the book is a list of source material, "A Brief Timeline of Events" and an interesting conversation with the author. Don't skip this; it is really good.

The historical facts are clearly presented. You follow Marie from her coming to France as a naïve fourteen year old to her death at the guillotine. Toinette, as she is affectionately called by those close to her, has been maligned by history; I appreciated hearing a more balanced view. I empathized with her. I saw how she matured. I really did suffer with her when she couldn't become pregnant, through no fault of her own. That struggle felt very real to me, and when her husband, the Dauphin, finally did become aroused the author's lines beautifully portray the conception. You understood why before she had turned to gambling and frivolity.

Quite simply, I like the sensual writing. I like the clear presentation of the historical facts. Never are they boringly presented. I believe we see here Marie Antoinette's view of what happened around her in the years leading up to her death. For me, only through empathy with historical characters does history become meaningful.

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After 20 pages:
Some authors fit some readers. I very much like how this author writes. Mmm mmm, good stuff. I like the descriptive lines. I feel that I am in young Antoinette's head. I see her world from her point of view. This author studies the known facts and does not change them. Antoinette did not say, when told that the people of eighteenth century France were starving, "If they have no bread then let them eat cake!", and consequently that is not to be found in this book. What is found are the lines she did say. I have stupidly put off reading this book b/c royalty and historical fiction so often disappoint me.