Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund
Reviewed by Ron Charles
Washington Post Book World
"We'll start with dessert: Marie Antoinette never said, 'Let them eat cake.' Historians suggest several competing sources for that damning line, but everyone agrees that she wasn't it. As rumors about the young queen go, though, that's hardly the worst. When she came to France from Austria in 1770 at age 14, already married in absentia to the Dauphin, the populace loved her and the streets were strewn with flowers. But within a few years, radical pamphlets in Paris were portraying her in acts of reckless extravagance and outrageous debauchery. By the end, republicans even accused her of conducting a ménage à trois with her son. Amid the fiery chaos of the French Revolution, the veracity of these scurrilous claims made no difference. On Oct. 16, 1793, she was beheaded, using Dr. Guillotin's 'humane' new contraption." Read the entire Washington Post Book World review.