ABOUT THE BOOK: (taken from the Random House website)
Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.
From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.
Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey is the second book in what will be a trilogy. You can read my review of Becoming Marie Antoinette – the first in the trilogy – HERE. I didn’t think it was possible to like book two as much as book one. That’s how much I liked it. But, as it turns out, DoSDoS was even better!
The book spans fifteen years, the early years of Louis’ and MA’s reign, and is told from the queen’s perspective. Juliet really got into her head, giving the reader a real idea of her thoughts and feelings and made it easy to connect with her. I can’t imagine how it must have been for her to be the subject of every disgusting rumour you can think of, not to mention the object of hatred for nearly everyone in France. It can only have been extremely overwhelming. Her sadness must have been all encompassing.
Juliet Grey is an absolutely master at bringing 1700’s Versailles alive. Her descriptions of the palace, people, clothes, etc., are rich with details. I enjoyed the development of each character – she gives even the minor player distinguishing features that make them important to the story. And, the major figures in the book are so multi-dimensional, it gives the reader a chance to love or hate them at their will. The massive amounts of research she did is obvious. Every major event of MA’s life is covered from the necklace to Axel. On that, I will say this: I’m still not convinced there was an affair. However, Juliet writes it in a respectful way that doesn’t make it sound at all trashy (like some books I’ve read *shudder*). The book concludes with a bibliography (what a wealth of information I found there!), a glossary (extremely helpful if you don’t know any French) and a reader’s guide which I found as fascinating as the book.
I can’t even tell you how excited I am for book three, The Last October Sky.
Many thanks to Ashley from Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.