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Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

by

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Cover

ISBN13: 9780307588654
ISBN10: 0307588653
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire . . . but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

 

Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away

from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

 

As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

 

Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

 

Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.

Review:

"From Versailles to Boulevard du Temple, royalists to revolutionaries, art to science, Moran (Cleopatra's Daughter) returns with a new historical novel of fierce polarities. Set during the French Revolution, with an emphasis on the Reign of Terror, Moran's fourth deftly chronicles the consequences of seeking reversals in power — or liberty. Marie Grosholtz, the talented wax sculptress who would become Madame Tussaud, narrates with verve. She and her family are 'survivalists' who 'straddle both worlds until it's clear which side will be the victor...' but never come across as opportunists; they are resourceful, sympathetic individuals facing an unraveling nation and an increasingly angry mob mentality. Though readers may wince at the inevitable beheadings, the storming of the Bastille, and the actions of men like Robespierre, Moran tempers brutality with Marie's romance and passion for artistry; quiet moments in the family's atelier provide much needed respite. This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

About the Author

MICHELLE MORAN was a public high school teacher for six years and is currently a full-time writer living in California. She is the author of the national bestseller Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

KimberlyB, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by KimberlyB)
This book is very aptly titled; it really is "A Novel of the French Revolution". Although I'm a lover of historical fiction, I haven't read much HF set in France so went into this book largely ignorant of the events of the Revolution. As Moran states at the beginning of her "Historical Note" at the end of the novel, "It is hard to relate just how turbulent and bloody the years of the French Revolution really were...[they] make for what can be a challenging read, simply because so many innocent people perished in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity." I'm still in a bit of shock at just how bloody and tragic it was. Moran does a great job at imparting knowledge of the events spanning from 1789 through 1794 while keeping the reader engaged and maintaining historical accuracy by taking very few fictional liberties. This is not a feel-good story, but it isn't meant to be. The witch hunt for those who are "traitors to the patrie" is reminiscent of our own HUAAC mixed with the Inquisition. And, as one part of the book says, "people's imagination has proven stronger than reality" in the conviction and execution of supposed traitors. They really were sad and tragic times.

As for Madame Tussaud herself, her character is incredible. I will admit when I first heard of this book I immediately thought of the slightly cheesy wax museums of our day and age. As Moran has pointed though, people in the late 1700s didn't have the means or ability to travel and see people and places as we do now, nor did they have the media we do today where we know what everything and everyone looks like. Tussaud truly was an artist creating 3D portraits of people and places that the general populous would rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to see.
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KimberlyB, July 18, 2011 (view all comments by KimberlyB)
This book is very aptly titled; it really is "A Novel of the French Revolution". Moran does a great job at imparting knowledge of the events spanning from 1789 through 1794 while keeping the reader engaged and maintaining historical accuracy by taking very few fictional liberties. As for Madame Tussaud herself, her character is incredible. I will admit when I first heard of this book I immediately thought of the slightly cheesy wax museums of our day and age. As Moran has pointed out, people in the late 1700s didn't have the means or ability to travel and see people and places as we do now, nor did they have the media we do today where we know what everything and everyone looks like. Tussaud truly was an artist creating 3D portraits of people and places that the general populous would rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to see. Excellent read!
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MissHollie, December 24, 2010 (view all comments by MissHollie)
I am very anxiously awaiting the arrival of this novel! Moran is sublime!!
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307588654
Author:
Moran, Michelle
Publisher:
Crown
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Series Volume:
A Novel of the Frenc
Publication Date:
20110215
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9.55 x 6.53 x 1.58 in 1.7 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Crown Publishing Group (NY) - English 9780307588654 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "From Versailles to Boulevard du Temple, royalists to revolutionaries, art to science, Moran (Cleopatra's Daughter) returns with a new historical novel of fierce polarities. Set during the French Revolution, with an emphasis on the Reign of Terror, Moran's fourth deftly chronicles the consequences of seeking reversals in power — or liberty. Marie Grosholtz, the talented wax sculptress who would become Madame Tussaud, narrates with verve. She and her family are 'survivalists' who 'straddle both worlds until it's clear which side will be the victor...' but never come across as opportunists; they are resourceful, sympathetic individuals facing an unraveling nation and an increasingly angry mob mentality. Though readers may wince at the inevitable beheadings, the storming of the Bastille, and the actions of men like Robespierre, Moran tempers brutality with Marie's romance and passion for artistry; quiet moments in the family's atelier provide much needed respite. This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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