Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson
Synopsis: Infamous French Queen Marie Antoinette keeps a secret diary from her teenage years, through to her marriage and ending during the French Revolution.
Score: 3 out of 5
First off, I should say that this book was exactly what I was looking for. It was light, easy to read and very enjoyable. It completely took me away to another world and part of that was due to the writing skills of the author. I was also impressed with the way that Marie Antoinette's diary entries matured throughout the book - she felt very young at the beginning and then wiser towards the end.
That's not to say that the book was without its faults. I personally do not expect historical fiction to stick to the facts, but this book played fast and loose with history. A whole host of secondary characters were introduced that simply did not exist, and furthermore they drove some of the plot. I don't mind some made up background, but made up key characters is slightly annoying.
The basic premise was also a little hard to believe at time. Erickson kept reminding us through Antoinette's entries that keeping a diary was dangerous but I simply didn't believe that it was possible, especially when she was in prison. And even though it was a secret, her maid 'conveniently' managed to add a passage about her execution.
All that said, I did enjoy this book. It was fun, hard to put down and pure escapsim - sometimes that is exactly what is needed!