Maria Antonia knew that as one of the many daughters of the empress of Austria, her fate was to be a political bride. After all, their Hapsburg motto was "Others wage war; you, happy Austria, marry." But little did she expect, that at the age of ten, she would engaged to Louis, grandson of the king of Paris, to be the dauphine. Maria Antonia must first though change not only her outward appearance but go through rigorous mental training to become suitable for France. Will she ever be able to measure up to everyone else's expectations, much less, determine who she wants to be?
Maria Antonia is better known as Marie Antoinette, but who she was has been mangled and altered over the centuries, leaving us with an overblown view of a vapid and selfish woman who cared only for herself, when that is far from the truth. "Becoming Marie Antoinette" by Juliet Grey is one of the best historical novels I've read, bringing a new look at one of history's most known and maligned women. This is the first of a trilogy, promising to become a must read series. I finished this novel with a new appreciation for Marie and Louis, hoping, like the author, that maybe everything would actually work out for these poor teenagers. My only regret when done with this book, is the wait for the next two.
This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.
Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.
Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.