Synopses & Reviews
A “spellbinding” and “deeply intelligent” historical novel about Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution (The Washington Post
Through the untold love story between Marie Antoinette and Swedish aristocrat Axel von Fersen, acclaimed author Francine du Plessix Gray weaves history with romance in a captivating novel that also offers a fresh vision of the French Revolution.
Paris, 1774. The dashing nobleman meets nineteen-year-old Marie Antoinette at a masquerade ball. As their relationship deepens at Versailles, Fersen discovers the court’s secrets, even the startling erotic details of Marie Antoinette’s marriage. But this intimacy is disrupted when he leaves to join the American Revolution. When he returns in 1783, he finds France on the brink of disintegration. After the Revolution of 1789, the royal family is moved to the Tuileries and suffers increasingly harsh captivity. After a failed attempt to liberate them, Fersen goes home to Sweden where he soon meets his own tragic end: his fate is symbolic of the violent pace with which of the eighteenth century’s events transformed European culture.
“If you liked Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette or Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall — if you admired Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s close lens in The General in His Labyrinth — you will be richly rewarded by du Plessix Gray’s amalgam of history and drama. Read it for its insights on Versailles; read it for its eye-opening glimpses into an equally venal Stockholm. But read it, when all is said and done, for its heartbreakingly wistful romance." The Washington Post
“The voice of history rises up out of the pages of [this] persuasive new novel....[A] lively, incredibly readable, definitely R-rated version of the life and death of Marie Antoinette.” Alan Cheuse, NPR
“Ms. Gray has created fully developed, flawed and complex characters in a way that would probably not have been possible within the confines of biography....[She] conjures up a world she knows well, in riveting detail....[The Queen’s Lover is] a feat of research and imagination.” The Wall Street Journal
“Don’t remember anything about the French Revolution from high school? This is one of those books where you’ll learn — or relearn — history effortlessly, as du Plessix Gray spins the affair of Marie Antoinette and a Swedish count into riveting drama." Entertainment Weekly
“[A] triumph of scholarship and storytelling...a remarkable book.” Daily Beast
About the Author
Francine du Plessix Gray is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, including Them: A Memoir of Parents, and has been a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. She lives in Connecticut.