Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)
French Historical fiction
The Queens Lover is exhaustively researched and a great intro to the French Revolution if you don't have a lot of knowledge of this fascinating period. I enjoyed the book very much but I felt it lost a bit of steam mid way through. A great read, very interesting story.
Caroline R. (New Canaan, CT)
This was an interesting look at the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. In places it was difficult to follow and this was not helped by its "diary" format. Overall, a detailed historical account and a good read for someone with an avid interest in this area.
Donna T. (Tacoma, WA)
A lover's view
This is not a book for some one who isn't interested in history or who likes a book with only words that are familiar. In this day, when most books are written at what I consider a middle-school level, several times, I had to stop and look up the meaning of words used by the author. It was also not an "easy" read because of the use of foreign names, titles and other words. Some of this may be attributed to the fact that in many places she used original quotes from letters, diaries, etc. as part of her text. Those personal issues aside, I found it very well written and quite engaging and by the end, I had a great affection for the characters. The story telling from both the view point of Count Axel von Fersen and his sister Sophie, allowed for quite a different (and intimate) view of the French Monarchy before and during the French Revolution. The story felt well researched while the writing felt done with true affection for the historical individuals described.
Kristine L. (The Woodlands, TX)
I am always sad when I need to write a tough review as I assume the book was the love of the author's life. I felt as though the book was trying to do a bit too much and possibly attempted to capitalize on Marie Antoinette when really the author wished to the tell the story only of Fersen. It is true that this period of history is always exciting to read in a historical fiction context as well as non fiction so I've given the review an average rating. I suspect those seeking details about the Queen will be disappointed.
Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)
I enjoyed this book as I had very little knowledge of Scottish history and French history. Good historical book with plenty of intrigue.
Therese X. (Calera, AL)
Queen's Lover revealed as lackluster swain
The Palace of Versailles in 1774 is the first meeting place of the tall, elegant Swede, Count Axel von Fersen and the saucy yet childlike Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XV of France. Mutual attraction soon blossomed into a lifelong love affair, according to von Fersen's extensive memoir written toward the end of his life and published posthumously by his adoring sister, Sophie. With a phenomenal memory, the Count records his upbringing in Sweden, then his many visits to France as the adoring swain of Marie Antoinette. A temporary absence in 1778 to fight with the American Revolution separated the two lovers, and The Count records the facts in his usual linear manner. Revolution would figure ironically in his own life. America, then France and most horribly on his return to Sweden. His carefully written adventures and amorous devotion to the Queen should have made for an exciting historical novel, yet from the beginning the memoir reads like an ongoing history lesson with occasional details of intimacy interspersed. Even the imagined dialogue disappointed, often having a modern flavor with one anachronistic remark that pushes the reader right out of the time period. The one animated description was the revelation that the glorious outside splendor of Versailles was belied by the smells and vermin that permeated life on the inside. Unpleasant but vividly presented. Yet, what could have been a vibrant historical novel by this prominent and well-known writer is often a tedious retelling rather than showing, due partially perhaps to the staid memoir itself. Despite admirable research, the book itself falls short of an engaging historical romance novel.
Marti L. (Warner, NH)
The Frenzied Masses
Thank you BookBrowse for the chance to read The Queen's Lover, an arc novel.
The Queen's Lover is about Count Axel Von Fersen and his heart's desire Marie Antoinette. The book follows his life from the time he meets Marie until his death. It is told in journal entries, letters, repeated conversations and at times by his best friend, his sister Sophie. The book highlights the affair of these two very public people before and during the French Revolution. The time of the novel really follows the decades of unrest, when people were fighting for more rights for the common people. The horror of the mob and the frenzy of the masses will stay with me for sometime. Count Axel maintained a very public stance for the monarchy, which in the end may have been his undoing.
The novel is fiction, that reads like a nonfiction book. There are many sources cited and added within the story. To me, this added more realism to a story that I found at times horrific in regard to human life. I found the book a slower read than I usually like, but I was sufficiently invested in the story to complete the book.