Flaunting, Extravagant Queen : (French Revolution) Paperback
by Jean Plaidy
Part of the French Revolution series
At the age of fifteen, Marie Antoinette, beautiful and charming bride to the impotent Dauphin, is plunged into the intrigue of Versailles.
Frivolous and reckless, she flouts the strict and demanding etiquette of the glittering court, and discovers the true nature of love, hate and jealousy.
But the clouds of revolution are overhead, and Marie Antoinette, who only wishes to enjoy life, learns too late that the price of her enjoyment is very high...'One of our best historical novelists brings to life wayward, capricious Marie Antoinette' - "News Chronicle". '"Flaunting Extravagant Queen" has the colour, liveliness, and sensitivity with which one has come to associate this author's historical novels' - "Scotsman".
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 04/10/2007
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780099493389
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Review by AdonisGuilfoyle
The excellent conclusion to Jean Plaidy's French Revolution trilogy; it is fitting that Revolution proper should begin in the final novel, as the rot had set in long before the reign of poor Louis XVI and his controversial queen.It is impossible not to admire the author, for her fair and historically accurate (based upon existing research) portrayal of Marie Antoinette, and also the subject, who was far from either a cruel and grasping queen or a martyred saint. Plaidy brings a familiar sequence of events to life - an awkward marriage, the strict etiquette and spoiled extravagance of Versailles, a frivolous and naive young woman seeking escape in pleasure, the building wrath of a nation - and makes history accessible, as well as debunking legends.Louis was well-meaning and gentle, unsuited to his role as king yet interested in the welfare of his people; perhaps the one argument for a republic he would have understood is that those in power should be chosen for their strengths and abilities, and not have authority forced upon them. Marie Antoinette, whose story this is, adapted to the boredom and frustration of her younger years by seeking to enjoy privilege to the full, although she only ever wanted to please and make people love her; by the time she understood her position and responsibility, it was too late. She is a character to love and hate, pity and sympathise with - the innocence of her years as Dauphine, before coming to the throne at nineteen ('We are too young to rule', as goes the famous quote here attributed to her), her love and devotion to her children, and her dignity at the end. Her only failing was her weakness over the eager, besotted and pretty Count Fersen; Plaidy believes that they did have an affair, but Louis is much the nobler and more admirable man in Antoinette's life. (Fersen's persistance is obnoxious.)Every detail is here, but more time is spent on Antoinette's Versailles heyday - the Revolution is summarised, from the flight to Varennes to the Queen's sordid trial and her execution, but it is merely the epilogue of her story.