Sunday, January 9, 2011

Meyer, Carolyn The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette

Meyer, Carolyn The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette
Harcourt Brace/Houghton Mifflin 2010 420p 18.00
978-0-15-206376-4 jr/sr Historical VG
This is the story of a young Austrian princess who leaves home at the age of fourteen to marry the dauphin of France. Her life is not easy as she tries to please her mother and the endless Rules of Etiquette at Versailles.
This is a story where the reader will gain a great deal if insight into the world of the notorious Marie Antoinette. There are many stories in history books about her escapades throughout her time at Versailles. However, readers will gain a better understanding of how a fun loving young girl had to deal with the stuffy domineering world of the French court. Readers will also be astounded how she was stripped of all of her Austrian clothes and possessions at the French border when she arrived to marry the dauphin. Pair this with the fact that the dauphin ignores her in favor of his hobbies even after their marriage. This brought about stress because their was no heir to the throne for several years. During this time it seemed that Marie could not please anyone. She had to adapt to the rigid rules of etiquette in France while constantly getting scolding letters from her Austrian mother concerning her lack of demeanor. Marie escaped those restrictions with her dress extravagances and wild parties.
Readers will get an insight in a slice of history that has always been popular. Marie was a young lady living in a world that hated her because she was an Austrian and a renegade royal who went her own way and ignored the rigid rules of etiquette at Versailles. In each of the 69 chapters the reader will get a glimpse of a rule and its reaction. This is a well written book that would be recommended for any already established middle school or high school library. McNeil, Linda

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