Linda P. (Rockport, ME)
The Queen's Lover
As I read and very much enjoyed the story of Marie Antoinette’s Swedish lover, Count Axel von Fersen, I kept wanting to label the genre of the book as Creative or Narrative Non-Fiction, rather than Historical Fiction. The author has done exhaustive research to bring to life the details of the French Revolution, the tragedy of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, the role von Fersen played in their lives, and his own ironic fate in Sweden where a similar revolution took place.
The Queen’s Lover is very well written and paints a detailed picture of events that have been shoddily addressed by other authors. I came away with a much better understanding of the political climate surrounding the French Revolution. My only critique of the novel is that the author seems to do more “telling” than “showing”, but that by no means detracted from the brilliant portrayal as seen through the point of view of Axel von Fersen and his sister, Sophie. Highly recommended for lovers of late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth century European history.
Patricia S. (New Canaan, CT)
A diary of loves and revolutions
I hadn't expected to read a book so rich in history - spanning the American, French and Swedish revolutions - written in diary form by Axel von Fersen and his sister Sophie. The author has brought history to life as she weaves the story of Axel falling in love with the young Marie Antoinette, his 'Toinette, a love which propelled him throughout life as he sought to make her life easier and to save her from the guillotine. Despite other loves along the way, Axel remains true to 'Toinette and the royal family, even at the expense of his own family in Sweden. Francine Du Plessix Gray has written a book which will appeal to many types of readers and has a story that won't leave you for a while. If only she'd written this years earlier, I would have loved my European history classes more and understood the complexities of social history in those times.
Karin D. (Glendale, AZ)
I really enjoyed this book. My curiosity about Axel had been piqued when I saw the film with Tyrone Power playing Axel...it left a lot to the imagination and this book fills in the gaps. The author portrays the court with great detail and makes her characters live. I heartily recommend this to all who enjoy Historical Fiction with a love story as a bonus.
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.
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.
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.
Sally M. (Honolulu, Hawaii)
The Queen's Lover
This book would appeal to lovers of historical novels. It is clear that the author did extensive research into the life of Count Axel von Fersen and the historical period of the French Revolution. I found it hard to keep reading the book, however, as I never got inolved with the hero. I did find interesting historical tidbits, especially concerning Sweden during this period.